Criminal Cases – Opinions Released in Calendar Year 2022

State of Tennessee v. Douglas E. Linville (Possession with Intent to Distribute – Drug-Free Zone Issue) DECIDED JUNE 1, 2022

Style: State of Tennessee v. Douglas E. Linville

TSC Docket Number: W2019-02180-SC-R11-CD

Date of TSC Opinion: June 1, 2022

Full Decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court :  Click here

Summary of Decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court:  

A jury convicted Douglas E. Linville of multiple drug offenses that occurred in a drug-free zone, in this case within 1,000 feet of a city park. Because the offenses occurred in a drugfree zone, the trial court imposed sentences that required full service of at least the minimum term within the appropriate sentencing range prior to release. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-432(c) (2014) (amended 2020 & 2022). On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals rejected challenges to the convictions. However, consistent with Mr. Linville’s brief, the intermediate appellate court noted that the judgment for one of the convictions erroneously referred to the controlled substance at issue—Xanax or Alprazolam—as Schedule III when it was actually Schedule IV. In so noting, the court also concluded sua sponte that the felony class reflected on the judgment for that conviction was incorrect because Tennessee law required a one-class enhancement for an offense that occurred in a drug-free zone. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-432(b)(1) (2014). We accepted Mr. Linville’s appeal. Based on our review of the relevant statutory provisions, we conclude that because the drug-free zone in this case related to a public park, the offenses were not  subject to a one-class enhancement. We, however, further conclude that the offenses were subject to the requirement to serve in full at least the minimum sentence for the appropriate range prior to release. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals in part, affirm the judgments of the trial court, and remand this matter to the trial court for correction of a clerical error in one judgment.

Court of Criminal Appeals Decision:

Court of Criminal Appeals Summary:

A jury convicted the Defendant, Douglas E. Linville, of possession of 0.5 grams or less of methamphetamine with intent to deliver in a drug-free zone, possession of Oxycodone with intent to deliver in a drug-free zone, possession of Xanax with intent to deliver in a drug free zone, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He received an effective twelve-year sentence. The Defendant appeals his conviction, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court committed plain error by allowing a witness to testify about information the trial court previously ruled inadmissible. We affirm the trial court’s judgments, and we remand to the trial court for correction of the judgment form in count three in accordance with this opinion.

Pre-argument Briefing:

Appellant:  September 7, 2021

Appellee: October 7, 2021

Appellant’s Reply: October 21, 2021

Oral Argument Date: November 3, 2021

Link to Oral Argument Video:


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