Opinion Flash

December 05, 2003
Volume 9 — Number 222

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
01 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
03 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


CLESSIE JACO, Jr. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TSC

Attorneys:                          

John S. Colley, III, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Clessie
Jaco, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore,
Solicitor General; Kim R. Helper, Assistant Attorney General; T.
Michael Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Larry Nickell, Jr.,
Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of
Tennessee.

Judge: DROWOTA

First Paragraph:

We granted permission to appeal in this post-conviction case to
determine whether the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in holding that
Mr. Jaco's guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered even
though he was not informed of the psychiatric certification mandated
by Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-503(c) for sex offenders
before release on parole.  We hold that Mr. Jaco's guilty plea met the
standard of knowing and voluntary.  A defendant need not be informed
of all criteria that affect his possible release on parole in order
for his guilty plea to be constitutionally sound.  Accordingly, the
holding of the Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.

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

WILLIAM PERRIN v. GAYLORD ENTERTAINMENT CO., ET AL.

Court:TSC - Workers Comp Panel

Attorneys:                          

Ann Buntin Steiner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, William
Perrin.

Richard K. Smith and Kathleen W. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the
Appellee, Gaylord Entertainment Company.

Judge: ANDERSON

First Paragraph:

We granted review to determine whether the employee's action for
reconsideration of his workers' compensation benefits was filed too
late pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6- 241(a)(2)
(1999).  The trial court found that the employee's action to
reconsider his prior award was untimely because it was filed more than
one year after his employment with his pre-injury employer had ended
and also found that the employee's settlement with his pre-injury
employer had waived his right to reconsideration.  The Special
Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel affirmed the trial court's ruling
on the ground that the action was untimely.  After reviewing the
record and applicable authority, we agree that the employee's action
to reconsider his award of benefits was untimely because it was not
filed within one year of his loss of employment with his pre-injury
employer as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section
50-6-241(a)(2).  Accordingly, we affirm the findings of fact and
conclusions of law of the Panel.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/perrinw.wpd

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. STEVE McKENZIE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

John P. Konvalinka and David M. Elliott, Chattanooga, Tennessee; and
M. Drew Robinson, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steve
McKenzie.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley,
Assistant Attorney General; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General;
and Joseph V. Hoffer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

First Paragraph:

The defendant, Steve McKenzie, pled guilty to DUI, a Class A
misdemeanor, and violation of the open container law, a Class C
misdemeanor, and was sentenced, respectively, to concurrent sentences
of eleven months, twenty-nine days, all suspended except for seven
days, and thirty days, to be served on probation.  As a condition of
his guilty pleas, the defendant reserved two certified questions of
law: (1) whether the trial court should have dismissed the charges or
ordered another preliminary hearing because the tape recording of the
initial hearing was inaudible; and (2) whether the trial court erred
in denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained as the result of
his alleged illegal arrest.  On appeal, the defendant pursued only the
second question, which the State argues is not dispositive of the
charges, resulting in this matter not properly being before the court.
 We agree that the certified question is not dispositive and,
accordingly, dismiss the appeal.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAYE WESLEY MITTS

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks,
Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney
General; and Michael O. Ripley, Assistant District Attorney General,
for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Lee Asbury, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jaye Wesley Mitts.

Judge: WILLIAMS

First Paragraph:

The State appeals contending the trial court erred in allowing the
defendant to receive jail credit from an unrelated charge against the
150-day mandatory minimum sentence he received in his plea to sixth
offense D.U.I.  Also, the State alleges error in the trial court
modifying the defendant's payment plan for paying fines and costs to
less than the defendant agreed to pay when the trial court accepted
the defendant's plea agreement.  We conclude it was error to allow
this defendant to receive any jail credit toward his mandatory minimum
of 150 days for his sixth D.U.I. offense where the credit accumulated
on an unrelated charge.  We further conclude the trial court was
within its discretion to modify the payment plan, not the overall
fine, upon determining the defendant did not have the ability to pay. 
We reverse in part and affirm in part the judgments of the trial court
and remand for entry of a corrected judgment consistent with this
opinion.

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

STEVEN BERNARD WLODARZ v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Wayne R. Stambaugh, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven
Bernard Wlodarz.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry,
Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney
General; and John Douglas Godbee, Assistant District Attorney General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Steven Bernard Wlodarz, appeals the Hawkins County
Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief
from his guilty pleas to first degree premeditated murder, attempted
first degree premeditated murder, two counts of aggravated assault,
and one count of manufacturing a Schedule VI controlled substance and
resulting sentence of life without parole.  He claims that his guilty
pleas were not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily entered
because (1) his trial counsel coerced him into pleading guilty, (2)
his trial counsel failed to inform him of important defense evidence
before he accepted the state's plea offer, and (3) he was taking
medications that may have affected his ability to understand his
pleas.  In addition, he contends that he received the ineffective
assistance of counsel because his trial attorneys waived one of his
preliminary hearings without his consent, failed to file a motion to
suppress evidence, and failed to prepare a defense.  We affirm the
trial court's denial of the petition.

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

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