September 27, 1999
Volume 5 -- Number 131

What follows is the case style or name, first paragraph, author's name, and the names of attorneys for the parties of each opinion released eletronically today to TBALink from Tennessee's three appellate courts.

This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
03 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
00 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court Workers' Compensation Panel
01 New Document(s) or Proposed Rule(s) from the Tennessee Supreme Court
00 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
03 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
00 New Judicial Ethics Opinion(s)
01 New Formal Ethics Opinion(s) from the Board of Professional Responsibility

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Lucian T. Pera
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink



For Appellants:                     For Appellees:

Paul G. Summers                     Larry L. Crain
Attorney General and Reporter       AMERICAN CENTER 
                                    FOR LAW AND JUSTICE
Michael E. Moore                    Brentwood, Tennessee
Solicitor General
                                    Kevin H. Theriot
Dianne Stamey Dycus                 AMERICAN CENTER
Deputy Attorney General             FOR LAW AND JUSTICE
Nashville, Tennessee                Panama City Beach, Florida

For Amici Curiae,
Teresa Evetts Horton, et al.:

Frederick F. Greenman, Jr.          Harlan Dodson, III
New York, New York                  Julie K. Sandine
                                    DODSON, PARKER & BEHM 
Robert D. Tuke                      Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee


First Paragraph:

We granted this appeal to decide whether legislation allowing
disclosure of sealed adoption records to adopted persons over the age
of 21 impairs the vested rights of birth parents who surrendered
children under the prior law and thus constitutes retrospective
legislation in violation of article I, section 20 of the Tennessee
Constitution.  We also have considered whether the legislation
violates the right to privacy under the Tennessee Constitution.

STATE OF TENNESSEE VS. DAVID KEITH LANE Court:TSC Attorneys: For Appellant: For Appellee: KENNETH F. IRVINE, JR. JOHN KNOX WALKUP Knoxville, TN Attorney General and Reporter MICHAEL E. MOORE Solicitor General TIMOTHY F. BEHAN Assistant Attorney General Nashville, TN JERRY N. ESTES District Attorney General Athens, TN REBBLE S. JOHNSON Asst. District Attorney General Cleveland, TN Judge:BIRCH First Paragraph: We granted review in this case in order to resolve two sentencing issues. In the first, the defendant, David Keith Lane, contends that the trial court should have used the criteria set forth in State v. Wilkerson, 905 S.W.2d 933 (Tenn. 1995), (rather than the provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. S 40-35-115(b)(5)(1997)) to determine whether to impose consecutive sentences. In the second, the defendant asserts that he should have been granted alternative sentencing, contending that the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing was based, at least in part, upon a consideration of a conviction since dismissed and expunged from his record. Because we find that the trial court properly applied the laws and principles governing sentencing in both issues, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.
MICHELE P. MUHLHEIM VS. KNOX COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION and JOANNE I. HAYDEN, A Citizen and Resident of Knox County, Tennessee VS. KNOX COUNTY Court:TSC Attorneys: FOR APPELLANT MUHLHEIM: FOR APPELLANT HAYDEN: WILLIAM C. CREMINS J. ANTHONY FARMER Knoxville Knoxville FOR APPELLEE: WENDELL K. HALL Knoxville Judge:HOLDER First Paragraph: We granted this consolidated interlocutory appeal to determine whether a school board, which is initially exempted by statute from providing workers' compensation coverage, may divide its employees along professional and nonprofessional lines, providing workers' compensation benefits for nonprofessional, nonunion employees while excluding certified teachers who are represented by a union. We conclude that the Board made a valid division of its workforce pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. S 50-6-106(5) (1991) (current version found at Supp. 1998). Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's denial of the defendant's motions for summary judgment.
WILLIE LEE BENFORD VS. STATE OF TENNESSE Court:TCCA Attorneys: FOR THE APPELLANT: FOR THE APPELLEE: RICHARD HEDGEPATH, JR. PAUL G. SUMMERS 4800 Charlotte Pike Attorney General & Reporter Nashville, TN 37209 TODD R. KELLEY Asst. Attorney General Cordell Hull Bldg., 2nd Fl. 425 Fifth Ave., North Nashville, TN 37243-0493 VICTOR S. JOHNSON, III District Attorney General ROGER MOORE Asst. District Attorney General Washington Square, Suite 500 222 Second Ave., North Nashville, TN 37201-1649 Judge:PEAY First Paragraph: On January 23, 1997, the petitioner pled guilty to one count of rape of a child and entered a best interest plea to a second count of rape of a child. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the petitioner was sentenced to a term of fifteen years on each count. These sentences were to run concurrently. The petitioner's subsequent post-conviction petition was denied by the lower court after an evidentiary hearing. The petitioner now appeals and contends that his guilty plea was not voluntarily, knowingly, or understandingly entered and that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. After a review of the record and applicable law, we find no merit to the defendant's contentions and thus affirm the judgment of the lower court.
STATE OF TENNESSEE VS. CEDRON ORGAIN Court:TCCA Attorneys: FOR THE APPELLANT: FOR THE APPELLEE: MICHAEL R. JONES PAUL G. SUMMERS District Public Defender Attorney General & Reporter 110 Sixth Avenue West Springfield, TN 37172 MARK E. DAVIDSON Assistant Attorney General 425 Fifth Avenue North Nashville, TN 37243-0493 JOHN WESLEY CARNEY, JR. District Attorney General C. DANIEL BROLLIER, JR. Assistant District Attorney General 204 Franklin Street, Suite 200 Clarksville, TN 37040-3420 Judge:GLENN First Paragraph: On April 27, 1998, a Montgomery County jury convicted the defendant, Cedron Orgain, of one count of coercion of a witness. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of four years, with six months to be served in the county jail and the remainder of the sentence to be served in the Community Corrections Program. The defendant timely appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. Based upon our review of this matter, we affirm the decision of the trial court.
STATE OF TENNESSEE VS. BRUCE EDWARD ROCHEFORT Court:TCCA Attorneys: FOR THE APPELLANT: FOR THE APPELLEE: BRUCE EDWARD ROCHEFORT PAUL G. SUMMERS CCA/SCCC Attorney General & Reporter P.O. Box 279 Clifton, Tennessee 38425-0279 CLINTON J. MORGAN Counsel for the State 425 Fifth Avenue North Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0493 Judge:LAFFERTY First Paragraph: The appellant, Bruce E. Rochefort, referred herein as "the petitioner," has appealed as of right from the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief by the Dekalb County Criminal Court. The petitioner presents one issue on appeal: 1. Whether the trial court erred in dismissing his petition for post- conviction relief? After a review of the record, briefs of the parties, and appropriate law, we AFFIRM the trial court's judgment.
BOARD OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE FORMAL ETHICS OPINION 99-F- 143(a) First Paragraph: Board of Professional Responsibilitv Formal Ethics Opinion 99-F-143 (6-14-99) addresses the increasing tendency of insurance companies to audit the bills and files of attorneys retained to represent their insureds. The opinion states that prior to allowing auditors to review attorney's bills and case files, client consent must be given. The opinion also mandates that attorneys are not allowed to enter into any agreement to represent an insured whereby the insurance company has the power to direct the manner of the attorney's representation.

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