Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session December 19, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Anderson County No. B3C00440
Donald R. Elledge, Judge No. E2017-00885-CCA-R3-CD
Defendant, Cory Lynn White, was convicted by a jury of making
a false report or statement, and he received a three-year
spilt confinement sentence for this conviction. The Defendant
appeals, arguing (1) that there was a fatal variance between
the indictment and the proof offered at trial and (2) that
the evidence was insufficient to support his
conviction. Following our review of the record, we
affirm the judgment of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Criminal
Thomas Marshall, District Public Defender, for the appellant,
Cory Lynn White.
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Courtney N. Orr, Assistant Attorney General; David S. Clark,
District Attorney General; and Emily F. Abbott, Assistant
District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr.,
KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE
case arose from officers' attempting to serve Skyla Lamb
on November 21, 2012, with an arrest warrant for felony
theft. Based upon the Defendant's communications with law
enforcement during this encounter, the Defendant was charged
with making a false report or statement in violation of
Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-16-502(a)(2)(B). The
Defendant proceeded to a jury trial that took place on
February 10, 2016.
trial, Corporal Robert Bryson with the Anderson County
Sheriff's Department ("ACSD") testified that he
was on patrol on November 21, 2012, when he received a
be-on-the-lookout report ("BOLO") regarding Skyla
Lamb. According to Corporal Bryson, the BOLO conveyed that
Ms. Lamb had been connected to a maroon Buick and that the
vehicle was possibly at a 155 Coconut Lane, a residence
inside a mobile home park. Corporal Bryson proceeded to that
location while "it was daytime" and found the
suspect vehicle at 176, not 155, Coconut Lane. The tag number
matched the information disseminated in the BOLO, but
Corporal Bryson "confirmed it with dispatch just to make
sure." Corporal Bryson also verified the warrant on Ms.
speaking with dispatch, Corporal Bryson saw the Defendant
standing on the front porch of the mobile home, who,
according to Corporal Bryson, went quickly inside when he saw
Corporal Bryson "drive up." Corporal Bryson
testified that the Defendant was not inside the trailer long
before exiting from the side door that "had a ramp up to
it." Although Corporal Bryson could not see the door
itself, he observed the Defendant walk "down the ramp,
back around, and . . . kneel over on the side of the
ramp." "It looked like [the Defendant] was trying
to work on the bottom of the trailer[, ]" as if he
"was working on a piece of underpinning[.]"
Bryson, who was wearing his uniform with his badge displayed,
exited his patrol car and made contact with the Defendant.
The Defendant identified himself to Corporal Bryson. Corporal
Bryson testified that he "asked [the Defendant] where
Ms. Lamb was" and informed the Defendant that "she
ha[d] a warrant" for her arrest. The Defendant
"said that Ms. Lamb was not there; that she had left
with someone." When the Defendant was asked who
accompanied Ms. Lamb when she left the trailer, "[h]e
didn't know." Corporal Bryson stated that the
following then transpired:
I basically told [the Defendant] that we needed to make
contact with [Ms. Lamb] and needed to know who she left with.
So, therefore, I asked him again if she was in there and he
said: ["]No, she left with someone.["] That's
when . . . the rest of the people from the Sheriff's
Office arrived . . . [to provide b]ack up[.]
Sergeant David Davis arrived while Corporal Bryson was
interviewing the Defendant, and Sergeant Davis "was
watching the surroundings of what was going on around"
the officers. ACSD Deputy Darrell Leach went to the back of
the residence, so no one could exit through the back door
without being seen. Deputy Leach did not approach the door.
Corporal Bryson continued with his interview and asked the
Defendant for a third time "if [Ms. Lamb] was in the
house[.]" The Defendant again said, "No she
wasn't. She left with someone." Corporal Bryson also
described this third response another way-the Defendant's
expressing "that [Ms. Lamb] had left and no one was
there." When the Defendant was instructed that "if
he lied to [the officers] and kept [them] from apprehending .
. . Ms. Lamb, that he could be in trouble if he was lying
that she was in the trailer[, ]" he replied "that
he didn't know, " that "she may be in
there." The Defendant also told the officers that they
needed to obtain a search warrant to enter the residence.
Corporal Bryson confirmed that, during the entire exchange,
he never posited the precise question to the Defendant,
"[I]s she in the trailer?", and the Defendant never
specifically stated, "[Ms. Lamb] left with someone and
hasn't come back."
Bryson described the Defendant's behavior as
uncooperative, nervous, and "very erratic."
Sergeant Davis opined that the Defendant seemed "evasive
as [if he] didn't want to answer the questions" and
that it did not appear as though the Defendant was
"being truthful" with Corporal Bryson.
Leach testified that, while he was watching the back of the
home, he "heard someone walking inside the home"
and "messing with the doorlock[.]" Deputy Leach
then radioed to the other officers and relayed what he had
heard. So for safety concerns, the officers decided to detain
the Defendant because they "believed that [Ms. Lamb] was
in the trailer from [the Defendant's] statements and the
way he was acting[, ]" and they wanted to get Ms. Lamb
"out as easily as" possible. After the Defendant
was handcuffed, and as Officer Jeremy Baker "was walking
him" to a patrol car, Ms. Lamb "came running
out" of the trailer from the door "where the ramp
was" "asking what [they were] doing with [the
Defendant] and where [they were] taking him." Corporal
Bryson was still standing on the trailer's porch when Ms.
Lamb exited. Ms. Lamb was ultimately served with the warrant,
which alleged theft of property valued between $1000 to $9,
999, and she was arrested.
Bryson was asked what if the Defendant had said "from
the beginning" that the officers had to get a search
warrant, then, according to Corporal Bryson, the Defendant
would not have been arrested. Corporal Bryson explained that
he "would have taken into account that [Ms. Lamb's]
probably in there and tried to get her out basically."
When asked how this would have been accomplished, Corporal
Bryson stated, "We would have attempted to get her out
without, you know, by knocking on the door or either we have
the option of going and getting the search warrant in going
into the prospective residence." Corporal Bryson
confirmed that, in the performance of his official duties, he
would have still tried to the serve the warrant on Ms. Lamb
regardless of the Defendant's responses. Sergeant Davis
described that they would have either tried to talk Ms. Lamb
out of the trailer or "wait[ed] [her] out[.]"
to Corporal Bryson, the Defendant did "hinder"
their efforts to arrest Ms. Lamb "[b]y lying that she
was not there[, ]" and the Defendant was arrested once
they knew he had lied about Ms. Lamb's whereabouts.
Corporal Bryson maintained that he did not arrest the
Defendant because the Defendant was uncooperative or because
the Defendant demanded that they get a search warrant, but
because the Defendant "out and out lied." According
to Corporal Bryson, the Defendant admitted "on the way
to the jail and when [they] got there, that his ...