Opinion Flash

August 29, 2002
Volume 8 — Number 151

Following this index are summaries of each case, including its name, first paragraph, author's name, and the names of attorneys for the parties of each opinion.

This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
01 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
04 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. CHRISTOPHER M. FLAKE

Court:TSC

Attorneys:   

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; Kim R. Helper, Assistant Attorney General; William
L. Gibbons, District Attorney General, Thomas D. Henderson and John W.
Campbell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant,
State of Tennessee.

David L. Raybin, Nashville, Tennessee; Leslie I. Ballin, Memphis,
Tennessee, and Steven E. Farese, Ashland, Mississippi, for the
appellee, Christopher M. Flake.                       

Judge: DROWOTA

First Paragraph:

The defendant was charged with attempted first degree murder for
shooting the victim, a pastoral counselor, at a church in Memphis,
Tennessee.  At trial, the facts surrounding the shooting and the
defendant's guilt were not contested.  Instead, the defense sought to
establish the affirmative defense of insanity.  See Tenn. Code Ann. S
39-11-501.  The jury found the defendant guilty of attempted voluntary
manslaughter, and by this verdict, implicitly rejected the insanity
defense.  The trial court entered a judgment in accordance with the
jury's verdict, and the defendant appealed, asserting, among other
things, that the insanity defense  was established by clear and
convincing evidence and that the jury had erred in rejecting it.  The
Court of Criminal Appeals agreed, modified the verdict to not guilty
by reason of insanity, and remanded the case to the trial court for
further proceedings in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. S 33-7-303. 
Thereafter, we granted the State's application for permission to
appeal to determine whether the burden of proof on the issue of
insanity affects the standard of appellate review of a jury's
rejection of the insanity defense.  After exhaustively reviewing the
record and the applicable authorities, we unanimously hold that an
appellate court should reverse a jury verdict rejecting the insanity
defense only if, after viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the State, the appellate court concludes that no
reasonable trier of fact could have failed to find that the
defendant's insanity at the time of committing the offense was
established by clear and convincing evidence.  Applying this standard
to the record in this case, a majority of this Court is of the opinion
that the jury did not err in rejecting the insanity defense. 
Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed
and the judgment of the trial court is reinstated.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/flakec.wpd

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER M. FLAKE

Court:TSC

ANDERSON CONCURRING AND DISSENTING

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/flakec_condis.wpd

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GROVER LEE DUNIGAN

Court:TCCA

Attorneys: 

Lee Davis (at trial) and Bryan H. Hoss (on appeal), Chattanooga,
Tennessee, for the appellant, Grover Lee Dunigan.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Peter M. Coughlan,
Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney
General; and Barry A. Steelman and Christopher D. Poole, Assistant
District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: RILEY

First Paragraph:

The defendant was indicted for first degree murder and convicted by a
Hamilton County jury of the lesser-included offense of second degree
murder.  He was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.  In this appeal,
the defendant contends (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain
his conviction; and (2) the trial court improperly limited
cross-examination of a state witness regarding bias.  After review, we
affirm.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TRACY F. LEONARD

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Carrie Kersh, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tracy F.
Leonard.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley,
Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney
General; and C. Daniel Broiller, Jr., Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Tracy Frank Leonard, was convicted of first degree
premeditated murder, felony murder, two counts of especially
aggravated kidnapping, rape, and theft over $1,000.   The trial court
merged the convictions for first degree premeditated murder and felony
murder and also merged the convictions for especially aggravated
kidnapping into a single conviction.  The defendant received a life
sentence for the first degree murder, twenty-five years for especially
aggravated kidnapping, eight years for rape, and two years for theft
over $1,000.  The trial court ordered that the sentences for
especially aggravated kidnapping and rape be served consecutively to
the life sentence and consecutively to each other.  The sentence for
the theft is to be served concurrent with the sentence for rape.  The
effective sentence is, therefore, life plus thirty-three years.  In
this appeal as of right, the defendant alleges (1) that the trial
court erred by admitting the testimony of several witnesses; (2) that
the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions for especially
aggravated kidnapping and rape; (3) that the trial court erred by
restricting his right to cross-examination of witnesses; (4) that the
trial court erred by failing to grant a new trial based on the State's
failure to disclose exculpatory evidence; (5) that the trial court
erred by failing to grant a mistrial; (6) that the trial erred in its
instructions to the jury; (7) that the trial court misapplied certain
enhancement factors to his sentences for especially aggravated
kidnapping and rape; and (8) that the cumulative effect of the trial
court's errors denied him the right to a fair trial.  We affirm the
convictions and judgments for first degree murder, especially
aggravated kidnapping where the victim suffers serious bodily injury,
rape, and theft over $1,000.  We conclude the sentences imposed were
proper.  The defendant's conviction for especially aggravated
kidnapping accomplished by the use of a deadly weapon is reversed and
remanded for a new trial because of the trial court's failure to
instruct the jury as to lesser-included offenses.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD L. PARKER

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

Julie A. Rice, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), and Terry L. Jordan,
Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Richard L.
Parker.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant
Attorney General; and Joseph Eugene Perrin, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Richard L. Parker, was indicted for aggravated assault,
Class D felony evading arrest, violation of the open container law,
speeding, driving under the influence, third offense, and driving on a
revoked or suspended license.  See Tenn. Code Ann. SS 39-13-102,
39-16-603, 55-10-416, 55- 8-152, 55-10-401, 55-50-504.  Because the
aggravated assault allegedly occurred in Washington County, that
charge was dismissed by the state.  The defendant pled guilty to the
remaining offenses.  The trial court imposed concurrent, Range I
sentences of four years for evading arrest, 30 days for violation of
the open container law, 30 days for speeding, and six months for
driving on a revoked or suspended license.  For the third-offense DUI,
the trial court imposed a Range I sentence of 11 months, 29 days to be
served consecutively.  In this appeal of right, the defendant contends
that the trial court erred by denying an alternative sentence for the
evading arrest conviction.  The judgment of the trial court is
affirmed.

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

LESLIE SMITH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:

W. Casey Reed, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leslie Smith.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney,
Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney
General; and Jon P. Seaborg, Assistant District Attorney General, for
the appellee, State of Tennessee.                    

Judge: SMITH

First Paragraph:

In this appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief the appellant
claims that his convictions for second degree murder and theft of
property valued under $10,000 are constitutionally void or voidable
because his presence in Tennessee to stand trial was secured by what
he claims was a conspiracy on the part of the prosecution to deprive
him of his rights under the Interstate Compact on Detainers, Tennessee
Code Annotated Section 40-31-101.  The appellant, who was originally
charged in Tennessee with first degree murder which carries a possible
punishment of death, was returned to Tennessee from the Alabama penal
system by means of extradition documents and an executive agreement
between the governors of Tennessee and Alabama.  The appellant also
claims that the post-conviction court should have issued subpoenas to
certain law enforcement officials in Alabama in order to help him
substantiate his claims of conspiracy in his transfer from Alabama to
Tennessee, and in order to demonstrate his trial attorney's alleged
ineffectiveness in litigating this conspiracy theory on direct appeal.

Because we find the issues raised herein to be utterly meritless we
affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

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

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