Today's Opinions: December 21, 2004
Volume 10 — Number 244
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.
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
04 New Opinion(s) from the Tennessee Court of Appeals
05 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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Here's how you can obtain full-text version. • Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This option will allow you to download the original document. • Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion. • Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKY THOMPSON
CORRECTED OPINION

Court:TSC

Attorneys:                          

Charles Corn, Athens, Tennessee, and Brock Mehler, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Thompson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore,
Solicitor General; Angele M. Gregory, Assistant Attorney General;
Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General; and William W. Reedy and
Amy Reedy, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee,
State of Tennessee.

Judge: BARKER

First Paragraph:

The defendant was convicted by a jury for the 1989 first-degree
premeditated murder of his wife, the aggravated assault of his wife's
niece, and the arson of his home.   Following a bifurcated sentencing
hearing, the jury sentenced the defendant to death.   After a hearing
on the defendant's Motion for New Trial, the trial court found that
the State had failed to prove the defendant's sanity beyond a
reasonable doubt and modified the jury's verdict to "not guilty by
reason of insanity."  On appeal by the State, the Court of Criminal
Appeals reversed, finding that under the standard of review of
Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 29,  the evidence was sufficient
to support the jury's verdicts of guilt.  The court reinstated the
jury's verdicts and remanded the case to the trial court for
consideration of the remaining issues in the defendant's Motion for
New Trial and for sentencing on the aggravated assault and arson
convictions.  The defendant filed an application for permission to
appeal pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 11, seeking
review in this Court.  We granted the application to determine (1)
whether the evidence at trial was sufficient to support the jury's
verdict, including its determination that the defendant was sane at
the time of these offenses, and (2) whether the provision of Tennessee
Code Annotated section 39-11-501(c)(effective as of July 1, 1995),
which prohibits experts from testifying on the ultimate issue of
whether a defendant is legally insane, applied in this trial for
offenses committed in 1989.  After due consideration of the relevant
authority, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the
jury's verdict of guilt and that the prohibition of expert testimony
on the ultimate issue of sanity was a substantive change to the law
that should not apply in this case.  Accordingly, the judgment of the
Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed, and the case is remanded to the
trial court for further consideration of the Motion for New Trial and
for sentencing in the aggravated assault and arson convictions.

CORRECTED OPINION
http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/thompsonricky.wpd

TEZOZOMOC "TED" ALCANTAR, ET AL. v. HAULERS INSURANCE COMPANY

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Barry E. Weathers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Tezozomoc
"Ted" Alcantar, and wife, Judy Alcantar.

Wendy Lynne Longmire and Julie Bhattacharya Peak, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellees, Haulers Insurance Company, Inc.

Judge: CLEMENT

First Paragraph:

This is an action against an insurance company that is alleged to have
breached its duties to an insured by failing to provide a defense in a
prior personal injury action, wherein a substantial default judgment
was entered against the insured.  The former plaintiffs, now judgment
creditors, and the purported insured, now judgment debtor, have joined
forces as plaintiffs in this action to recover damages, including the
amount of the default judgment, the purported insured suffered due to
the insurer's refusal to provide a defense.  The trial court dismissed
the action on a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12 motion for failure to state a
claim on which relief could be granted.  We affirm.  The judgment on
which this action is based is void, because the relief granted therein
by default judgment exceeded the relief sought.  In the alternative,
if the previous judgment on which this action is based is valid, the
purported insured is not afforded coverage; the policy excluded injury
or damage expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured and
it was held in the previous judgment that the purported insured
intended the collision and the Alcantars' injuries.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/alcantartez.wpd

IN RE: THE ESTATE OF JOAN M. HAWKINS, DECEASED JAN RECTOR & SARA
TUCKER v. FRANK DANIEL MURCHISON, JR.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

W. Chris Harrison, J. Anthony Bradley, Memphis, TN, for Appellants

Blanchard E. Tual, Kelly P. Bridgforth, Memphis, TN, for Appellee

Judge: HIGHERS

First Paragraph:

This case arises out of a petition filed by Appellants to compel the
executor of Decedent's estate to collect certain assets and a petition
for declaratory judgment filed by Appellee.  The trial court
determined that Appellants' motion in limine to exclude certain
evidence based on the parol evidence rule should be denied. 
Additionally, the trial court denied Appellants' objection to certain
testimony based on the statute of frauds.  The trial court further
denied Appellants' objections to exclude testimony based on the Dead
Man's Statute.  The trial court determined that Decedent successfully
gifted annual $10,000 sums to Appellee in the form of forgiving
interest and principal owed by Appellee to Decedent as stated in a
promissory note, finding there was clear, cogent, and convincing
evidence to rebut the presumption that such transfers were
advancements.  Further, the court determined that such promissory note
called for simple, rather than compound, interest, finding that
Appellee owed Decedent's estate the sum of $64,297.78.  Appellants
seek review by this Court and, for the following reasons, we affirm.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/hawkinsjoanm.wpd

WALTER MILLER, ET AL. v. STATE FARM  INSURANCE COMPANY

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

James E. Thomas of Memphis for Appellants, Walter Miller and Tarna
Miller

Robert L. Moore and Dawn Davis Carson of Memphis for Defendant, State
Farm Insurance Company

Judge: CRAWFORD

First Paragraph:

Plaintiffs appeal an adverse judgment from the general sessions court
to the circuit court for a trial de novo pursuant to T.C.A. S 27-5-108
(Supp. 2004).  On motion of defendant, the circuit court transferred
the case to the chancery court because a previous suit filed in the
chancery court on the same cause of action was voluntarily dismissed
by plaintiff.  The chancery court granted defendant's motion to adopt
the findings of the special master filed in the previous chancery
court suit and then granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. 
Plaintiffs have appealed.  We vacate and remand to the circuit court.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/millerwal.wpd

IN RE: S. C. H.

Court:TCA

Attorneys:                          

Pamela M. Spicer, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, D. B.

Angelique P. Kane, Alan Poindexter, Stephen Van Roberts, Lebanon,
Tennessee, for the appellee, E. A. J.

Judge: COTTRELL

First Paragraph:

The mother of a three year old girl asked the court to deny the girl's
father any visitation with the child because she believed that the
father had sexually abused the child.  The trial court did not find
that the evidence conclusively proved abuse, but denied the father any
visitation or other contact with his daughter, stating, "I have to
side with the protection of the child."  Because the trial court did
not make the requisite findings to support elimination of all
visitation, we must vacate the judgment.

http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/sch.wpd

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. STANLEY EARL CATES
CORRECTED OPINION

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

J. Thomas Marshall, Jr., Office of the Public Defender, Clinton,
Tennessee, for the Appellant, Stanley Earl Cates.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore,
Solicitor General; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney
General; and Jan Hicks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

First Paragraph:

The Appellant, Stanley Earl Cates, was convicted by an Anderson County
jury of aggravated robbery  and sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
 On appeal, Cates raises the following issues for our review: (1)
whether the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress, (2)
whether the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict, (3)
whether the trial court erred by requiring him to provide a voice
exemplar before the jury, (4) whether the trial court erred in giving
sequential jury instructions, and (5) whether the trial court abused
its discretion by refusing to sentence him as an especially mitigated
offender.  After review, we find that Cates' issues are without merit.
 Accordingly, the judgment of the Anderson County Criminal Court is
affirmed.

CORRECTED OPINION
http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/catesstanleye.wpd

BYRON EDWARDS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE 

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Byron Edwards, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.   

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle Chapman
McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; Joe C. Crumley, Jr., District
Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

First Paragraph:

The petitioner, Byron Edwards, appeals the trial court's order
dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus.  The state has
filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's
denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal
Appeals. The petition fails to establish either a void judgment or an
expired sentence.  Accordingly, the state's motion is granted and the
judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GERALD PENDLETON

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Charles Waldman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gerald
Pendleton.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer,
Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney
General; and Jim Lammey and Valerie Smith, Assistant District
Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

First Paragraph:

A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant of first degree felony
murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, and perjury.
 On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the evidence is
insufficient to sustain his conviction for felony murder; and (2) he
was denied a fair trial because an expert witness for the State did
not disclose to the jury that the witness was himself the subject of a
federal criminal investigation.  Finding no reversible error, we
affirm the trial court's judgment.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES UNDERWOOD

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Mark Toohey, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles
Underwood.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth T. Ryan,
Assistant Attorney General; Greeley Wells, District Attorney General;
and Teresa Murray Smith, Assistant District Attorney General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

First Paragraph:

The Defendant appeals from an order of the trial court revoking his
probation and ordering that he serve his misdemeanor sentence of
eleven months and twenty-nine days in the county jail.  We affirm the
judgment of the trial court in accordance with Rule 20 of the Rules of
the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.

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

ALONZO C. WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court:TCCA

Attorneys:                          

Alonzo C. Williams, pro se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Renee W. Turner,
Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

First Paragraph:

The Petitioner, Alonzo C. Williams, appeals the trial court's denial
of his petition for habeas corpus relief.  The State has filed a
motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of
relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. 
Because Petitioner has failed to allege a ground for relief which
would render the judgment void, we grant the State's motion and affirm
the judgment of the lower court.

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

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