Opinion FlashAugust 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):
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Howard H. Vogel
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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