Opinion Flash

December 31, 2001
Volume 7 — Number 238

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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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHIANTI  FULLER

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Andrew Jackson Dearing, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Chianti Fuller.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Kathy Aslinger,
Assistant Attorney General; Mike McCown, Assistant District Attorney
General; and Michael Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for
the appellee, State of Tennessee.                         

Judge: WELLES

First Paragraph:

The Defendant, Chianti Fuller was indicted for four offenses: (1)
possession with intent to sell 0.6 grams of cocaine, a schedule II
controlled substance, (2) possession with intent to deliver 0.6 grams
of cocaine, a schedule II controlled substance, (3) simple possession
of marijuana, a schedule VI controlled substance, and (4) possession
of drug paraphernalia.  The Defendant was convicted by a jury of
counts (1) and (2), and pled guilty to counts (3) and (4).  The trial
court merged count two into count one and sentenced the Defendant to
nine years and six months for possession of cocaine with intent to
sell.  The Defendant was also sentenced to nine months to be served
concurrently with his other sentence for each of the two misdemeanor
convictions.  On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence
presented at trial was insufficient to support the jury verdict of
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and (2) the sentence was excessive. 
We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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


MICHAEL DOUGLAS HUGHES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

R. Kirkland Moser, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael
Douglas Hughes.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner,
Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney
General; and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.                     

Judge: WELLES

First Paragraph:

The Defendant, Michael Douglas Hughes, entered a plea of no contest to
one count of aggravated rape, and a plea of guilty to ten counts of
aggravated rape, on November 30, 1992.  On March 4, 1993, a sentencing
hearing was held and the Defendant was sentenced for these crimes to
an aggregate term of eighty years.  The Defendant's trial counsel
failed to timely perfect the Defendant's appeal, and on June 30, 1995,
the Defendant filed a petition for post-conviction relief, seeking a
delayed appeal.  The delayed appeal was granted and this Court
affirmed the Defendant's sentence.  See State v. Michael Douglas
Hughes, No. 01C01-9701-CR-00021, 1998 WL 301730, at *1 (Tenn. Crim.
App., Nashville, June 10, 1998).  The Tennessee Supreme Court denied
the Defendant's application for permission to appeal on February 22,
1999.  The Defendant filed the present petition for post-conviction
relief on August 25, 1999, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel
at his plea, sentencing, and on appeal; that his guilty plea is
invalid because it was not made voluntarily, understandingly, and
knowingly; and that the length of his sentence constitutes cruel and
unusual punishment.  The trial court dismissed the present petition on
the grounds that it was not timely filed, that the grounds for relief
have been waived, and that it does not contain grounds sufficient to
constitute a motion to reopen the previous petition.  The Defendant
now appeals as of right.  We reverse the trial court's ruling and
remand this matter for an evidentiary hearing.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COURTNEY L. JOHNSON

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith and Roger Nell, District Public Defender, for the
Appellant, Courtney Johnson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Peter M. Coughlin,
Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney
General; and Lance Baker, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Courtney L. Johnson, appeals the revocation of her
probation by the Montgomery County Circuit Court.  On appeal, she
challenges the trial court's decision, after revocation, to order her
to serve the balance of her effective sentence of approximately ten
years in the Tennessee Department of Correction.  Because we find no
abuse of discretion, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALD PRENTICE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Craig Myrick, Nashville, Tennessee (at trial), and Bruce Poag,
Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Ronald Prentice.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner,
Assistant Attorney General; and Carrie Daughtrey and Christopher
Buford, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, the
State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Ronald Prentice, was convicted of two counts of
aggravated assault.  The trial court imposed a sentence of four years
on each count, with a concurrent one year sentence of incarceration
and consecutive sentences of three years probation.  In this appeal of
right, he argues that the trial court erred (1) by improperly joining
the offenses, (2) by excluding testimony regarding his divorce from
the victim, and (3) by prohibiting a hypothetical question to an
expert witness for the state.  The judgment of the trial court in case
number 98-D-2523 is affirmed.  The judgment of the trial court in case
number 99-A-13 is reversed and remanded for a new trial.

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

LARRY N. WILSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Mike Anderson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Larry N.
Wilson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant
Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General;
and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
Appellee, State of Tennessee.                         

Judge: WITT

First Paragraph:

The post-conviction petitioner, Larry N. Wilson, seeks to set aside
his four Davidson County Criminal Court convictions of aggravated
robbery and his effective 24-year sentence.  The convictions were
based on guilty pleas.  In his post-conviction proceeding, he posited
that the pleas were involuntarily or unknowingly made and that they
were the result of the ineffective assistance of counsel.  After an
evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. 
Concluding that the record supports that determination, we affirm.

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

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