Opinion FlashJuly 12, 2004
Volume 10 Number 132
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 DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES v. JOHN BELDER Court:TCA Attorneys: Laura A. Keeton of Huntingdon For Appellant, John Belder Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Juan G. Villasenor Judge: CRAWFORD First Paragraph: This is a termination of parental rights case. Father appeals from the order of the Juvenile Court of Carroll County, terminating his parental rights. Specifically, Father asserts that the grounds cited for termination are not supported by clear and convincing evidence in the record, that termination is not in the best interest of the children, and that the Department of Children's Services did not provide reasonable services. Because we find clear and convincing evidence in the record to support the trial court's findings, we affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/belderjohn.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LATISHA LEE MORGAN Court:TCCA Attorneys: J. Thomas Caldwell, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Latisha Lee Morgan. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth Rice, District Attorney General; and Tracey A. Brewer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WELLES First Paragraph: The Defendant, Latisha Lee Morgan, pled guilty to assault, a Class A misdemeanor. Pursuant to the plea agreement, sentencing was left to the trial judge. After a hearing, the trial judge imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, with sixty days to be served in confinement, and the balance of the sentence to be served on supervised probation. The sole issue in this direct appeal is whether the trial court should have granted the Defendant full probation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/morganlatisial.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES RICE Court:TCCA Attorneys: Marty B. McAfee and Stephen Leffler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Rice. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Angele M. Gregory, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General, and Amy Weirich and Gerald Harris, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WEDEMEYER First Paragraph: The Defendant, Charles Rice, appeals as of right his conviction for the first degree premeditated murder and first degree felony murder of Emily Branch during the perpetration of a rape. A Shelby County jury found the Defendant guilty of first degree premeditated murder and of first degree felony murder. The trial court merged the convictions into one count of first degree murder. Following a sentencing hearing, the jury found that the proof supported three aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt: the Defendant had previously been convicted of a violent felony offense, see Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-204(i)(2); the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel, see Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-204(i)(5); and the murder was committed during the perpetration of a rape, see Tennessee Code Annotated section 39- 13-204(i)(7). The jury further determined that these aggravating circumstances outweighed any mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, and sentenced the Defendant to death. The trial court approved of the sentencing verdict. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court improperly restricted the Defendant's right to cross-examine one of the State's witnesses; (3) the trial court improperly excluded evidence tending to prove the guilt of another; (4) the trial court erred in refusing to permit the Defendant to impeach his own witness; (5) the trial court erred by refusing to permit the Defendant to sit at the same table as his attorney; (6) the trial court's failure to instruct on the lesser offense of facilitation was error; (7) the trial court's failure to instruct the jury as to the definitions of knowingly and recklessly as to the offense of felony murder was error; (8) the indictment failed to set forth a capital offense; (9) Tennessee's death penalty statutory scheme is unconstitutional; (10) the evidence is insufficient to establish the statutory aggravating circumstances found by the jury; (11) the trial court improperly instructed the jury as to the (i)(2) aggravator; and (12) the sentence of death imposed in this case is disproportionate compared to other capital cases. After reviewing the record and applicable law, we conclude that there are no errors of law requiring that the Defendant's conviction or sentence be reversed. Accordingly, we affirm the jury's verdict and imposition of the sentence of death. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/ricechar.wpd
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