Opinion Flash

July 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):
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
01 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
02 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 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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