August 3, 2000
Volume 6 -- Number 122

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.

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

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Lucian T. Pera
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

JACK LAYNE BENSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

N. Andy Myrick, Jr., Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jack
Layne Benson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter, Marvin E. Clements, Jr.,
Assistant Attorney General, and Robert G. Crigler, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.                            

Judge: WADE

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Jack Layne Benson, appeals the trial court's dismissal
of his petition for post- conviction relief.  Convicted in 1996 of
first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, and
sentenced to consecutive terms of life and 24 years, the petitioner
contended that he was entitled to post-conviction relief on the
grounds that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at
trial and on direct appeal.  In this appeal, the petitioner argues
that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately
communicate, for failing to adequately investigate, and for failing to
obtain a transcript of the preliminary hearing.  The petitioner argues
that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to present
additional issues on direct appeal.  Because the petitioner has been
unable to establish both deficiency in the performance of his counsel
and prejudice in consequence thereof, the judgment of the trial court
is affirmed.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/BensonJL.wpd


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES T. COOPER Court:TCCA Attorneys: Robert H. Stovall, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, James T. Cooper. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter, Todd R. Kelley, Assistant Attorney General, T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WILLIAMS First Paragraph: The defendant appeals the trial court's revocation of his probation, based on his failing a drug screen and his delinquency in paying court costs. We hold that the record is insufficient to support the trial court's finding of delinquent payments. However, the failing of the drug screen served as a sufficient basis for the revocation. We affirm the trial court's order. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/CooperJT.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES HENRY DAVIS Court:TCCA Attorneys: John B. Nisbett, III, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Henry Davis. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth T. Ryan, Assistant Attorney General; Bill Gibson, District Attorney General; William M. Locke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: The Defendant pleaded guilty to the offense of second degree murder. Sentencing was left to the discretion of the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial judge sentenced the Defendant to twenty-four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the length of his sentence. We modify the sentence to twenty-two years. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/davisjh.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BILLY GENE DEBOW, SR. Court:TCCA Attorneys: Walter H. Stubbs, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy Gene Debow, Sr. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: The Defendant, Billy Gene DeBow, Sr., was convicted of first degree murder after a jury trial in Sumner County, Tennessee. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. In this appeal as right, he raises the following nine issues: (1) whether the evidence was insufficient to sustain a conviction pursuant to Rule 13(e) of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure; (2) whether the trial court erred in failing to give the jury a complete instruction regarding the definition of "premeditation"; (3) whether the Tennessee statute proscribing premeditated first degree murder, Tennessee Code Annotated S 39-13-202(a)(1), is unconstitutional because it violates the Defendant's due process rights; (4) whether the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on self-defense; (5) whether the trial court erred in advising jurors that the State was not seeking the death penalty; (6) whether the trial court erred in excusing for cause two prospective jurors from service because they did not "feel comfortable" sitting on a murder trial;... http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/debowbg.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CURTIS R. SPARKS Court:TCCA Attorneys: Cynthia M. Fort (on appeal), Nashville, Tennessee, and Carthel L. Smith, Jr., (at trial), Lexington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Curtis R. Sparks. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter, Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General, and Jeffrey L. Long, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WADE First Paragraph: The defendant, Curtis R. Sparks, was convicted of sale of cocaine over .5 grams. The jury assessed a fine of $2,000. The trial court imposed a Range I sentence of nine years. In this appeal of right, the defendant contends that the sentence is excessive and that the trial court should have granted an alternate, community-based sentence. Because the defendant was clearly untruthful in much of his testimony and demonstrated little indication of rehabilitation, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/Sparks.wpd

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