August 8, 2000
Volume 6 -- Number 124

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
02 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

STATE OF TENNESSEE  v. MICHELLE FERGUSON

Court:TCA

Attorneys: 

Julie A. Rice, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Charles M. Corn,
District Public Defender; and Thomas Edward Kimball, Assistant Public
Defender, Cleveland, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Michelle
Ferguson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Patricia C. Kussman,
Assistant Attorney General; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General;
and Richard Newman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.                         

Judge: WOODALL

First Paragraph:

Defendant Michelle Ferguson was convicted by a jury of two counts of
aggravated child abuse and one count of first degree murder in
perpetration of aggravated child abuse.  The trial court subsequently
imposed concurrent sentences of eighteen years, eighteen years, and
life.  Defendant challenges her convictions, raising the following
issues: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support her
convictions; (2) whether the trial court erred when it failed to sever
the trials for the charges in this case; and (3) whether the trial
court erred when it failed to grant a motion for a mistrial.  The
judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded for
a new trial.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/fergusonm.wpd


In Re: ESTATE OF PRATHER BUCHANAN HARPER Court:TCA Attorneys: James R. Tomkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donnie Reed. Jordan S. Keller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Terry Wickham, Lloyd Ann Marston, Brenda Norton and Howard Ellis Norton. Judge: CANTRELL First Paragraph: A testator's will left his property to specified individuals provided they survived him. The question we must decide is whether the antilapse statute, Tenn. Code Ann. S 32-3-105, saves those contingent interests for the beneficiaries' children when all the specified individuals predeceased the testator. The Probate Court of Davidson County held that it did not. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/harperpb.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HENRY LEE BERRY Court:TCCA Attorneys: Keith E. Haas, Sevierville, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Henry Lee Berry. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael Moore, Solicitor General, Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General, Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General, and Scott Green, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: HAYES First Paragraph: Henry Lee Berry appeals his Knox County conviction for second degree murder. Berry contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court erroneously admitted into evidence two recorded 911 telephone calls and an order of protection entered against the appellant by the victim; and (3) the trial court erred by failing to grant a mistrial when evidence of a pending rape charge in Nashville was introduced before the jury. Additionally, the appellant urges adoption of DNA testing on decomposed bodies to positively establish the identity of the victim. Although we conclude that admission of the 911 telephone calls and the order of protection was error, the error was harmless. Moreover, finding no other reversible error of law, we affirm the judgment of conviction entered by the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/BerryHL.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LESTER DOUGLAS GILES Court:TCCA Attorneys: Steve McEwen, Mountain City, Tennessee; Charles M. Corn, District Public Defender; and William C. Donaldson, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal) and Thomas Kimball, Assistant Public Defender (at trial) for the appellant, Lester Douglas Giles. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; R. Stephen Jobe, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General; and Chalmers Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: GLENN First Paragraph: On June 21, 1999, the defendant pled guilty in the Monroe County Criminal Court to attempted rape and was sentenced to four years as a Range I standard offender. The sentence was suspended, and he was placed on probation. On July 6, 1999, a probation violation was issued, alleging that the defendant had violated his probation by having contact with the victim's family. Following a hearing on August 16, 1999, the trial court ruled that the defendant had violated the terms of his probation, a ruling which the defendant timely appealed. Based upon our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and reinstate the defendant's probation. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/gilesld.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN PHILIP NOLAND Court:TCCA Attorneys: Susanna Thomas, Asst. Public Defender, Newport, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Philip Noland. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael Moore, Solicitor General, Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General, Al C. Schmutzer, Jr., District Attorney General, and James B. Dunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: HAYES First Paragraph: This is an appeal by John Philip Noland of his Cocke County conviction for the second degree murder of Mark Goins. The appellant is currently serving a twenty-three year sentence for this offense. He raises as error (1) the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress; (2) the State's violation of Brady v. Maryland; (3) the insufficiency of the evidence; (4) the trial court's refusal to instruct the jury as to the defenses of self-defense and necessity; (5) the trial court's refusal to instruct the jury as to the lesser included offense of criminally negligent homicide; and (6) the length of the sentence imposed by the trial court. After review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of conviction. The sentence is modified to reflect a term of eighteen years. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/NolandJP.wpd
DONNA JEAN SEXTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Peter D. Heil, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal) and Lionel Barrett, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Donna Jean Sexton. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; R. Stephen Jobe, Assistant Attorney General; Joe C. Crumley, Jr., District Attorney General; and David E. Crockett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: TIPTON First Paragraph: The petitioner, Donna Jean Sexton, appeals the dismissal of her petition for post-conviction relief for failure to state a colorable claim. The petitioner contends that her allegations of mental incapacity rendering her guilty plea involuntary and unknowing and of the ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to make the court aware of her mental incapacity are colorable claims. The state agrees. We reverse the dismissal of the petition and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/Sextondj.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY JEROME STOKES Court:TCCA Attorneys: Anthony Jerome Stokes, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro Se. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Patricia C. Kussmann, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, District Attorney General; and C. Leland Davis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: GLENN First Paragraph: The defendant entered guilty pleas in 1995 to one count of murder in the first degree and one count of murder in the second degree, the sentences to be served consecutively. In 1997, he testified as a prosecution witness at the trial of a co-defendant in the homicide cases. In 1999, he filed a petition to enforce an alleged agreement with the State that he would be resentenced to concurrent sentences in exchange for this testimony. The trial court denied the petition and he timely appealed. Based upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/stokesaj.wpd

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