Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

 
 

Court: Miranda Not Required for In-Prison Questioning

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against a Michigan inmate who contended he should have received a Miranda warning before being interrogated in a prison conference room about sexual conduct with a 12-year-old boy. The court ruled in a 6-3 opinion against inmate Randall Lee Fields, who confessed to molestation while incarcerated on a disorderly misconduct charge.  The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that questioning an inmate about events outside of prison is always custodial for purposes of Miranda. “On the contrary,” Alito wrote, “we have repeatedly declined to adopt any categorical rule with respect to whether the questioning of a prison inmate is custodial.” ABAJournal.com tells you more.

Today's Opinions

Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
00 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders









You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer.


TN Supreme Court

SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

TONY SCOTT WALKER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Tony Scott Walker, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Clark Bryan Thornton, Assistant Attorney General for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The Petitioner, Tony Scott Walker, appeals the Circuit Court of Gibson County’s dismissal of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. MICHAEL SHANE SPRINGER
With separate concurring in part and dissenting in part opinions.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Clifford K. McGown, Jr., Waverly, Tennessee (on appeal); Tom W. Crider, District Public Defender, and Stephanie Hale, Assistant Public Defender, Trenton, Tennessee (at trial and of counsel on appeal), for the appellant, Michael Shane Springer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Garry Brown, District Attorney General; Jason C. Scott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

The Defendant pled guilty to two counts of rape of a child and reserved the following certified question: “Whether the Trial Court erred in failing to grant the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss alleging the State violated the provisions of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (T.C.A. 40-31-101 et seq, U.S. Code Title 18-App) and the anti-shuttling provisions therein pursuant to Alabama v. Bozeman, 5[3]3 U.S. 146 (2001).” For differing reasons, the majority of this panel affirms the Defendant’s convictions.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MYRON MCNEAL

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen Bush and Phyllis Aluko (on appeal) and Russell White (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Myron McNeal.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pamela Fleming, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court jury found the appellant, Myron McNeal, guilty of attempted second degree murder and employing a firearm during a felony. For the convictions, the trial court imposed a total effective sentence of thirty-eight years. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and the sentences imposed by the trial court. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRANDON NEWBY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Barry W. Kuhn and Stephen C. Bush (on appeal) and Amy Mayne and Nigel Lewis (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandon Newby.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Michael McCusker, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Brandon Newby, of carjacking and evading arrest, and the trial court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of eight years and eleven months, twenty-nine days, respectively. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES JACKSON AND WILLIS HOLLOWAY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Mark Mesler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Jackson, and Joseph S. Ozment, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willis Holloway.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Anita Spinetta and Rachel Newton, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court Jury convicted each of the appellants, Charles Jackson and Willis Holloway, of two counts of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; two counts of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony; and one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony. After a sentencing hearing, they received effective forty-four-year sentences. On appeal, the appellants contend that (1) the trial court erred by refusing to allow them to cross-examine a co-defendant about her engaging in prostitution before the crimes; (2) the trial court erred by admitting the co-defendant’s complete written statement into evidence; (3) the trial court erred by giving each juror a copy of the statement; (4) the trial court erred by failing to redact the statement; and (5) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by admitting the co-defendant’s complete statement into evidence but that the error was harmless. Therefore, the appellants’ convictions are affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LEDARREN S. HAWKINS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joseph McClusky, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, LeDarren S. Hawkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Madison County jury convicted the Defendant, LeDarren S. Hawkins, of first degree murder and tampering with evidence, and the trial court sentenced him to serve an effective life sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court refused to instruct the jury regarding the defense of a third person as an affirmative defense. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


TN Court of Appeals

FSGBANK, N.A., v. SUSHAN K. ANAND

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Gary R. Patrick and Susie Lodico, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sushan K. Anand.

Donald J. Aho, and Zachary H. Greene, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, FSG Bank, N.A.

Judge: FRANKS

In this action based on a contract, the Trial Court granted plaintiff summary judgment and ultimately certified the judgment as final, pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 54.02. Defendant had filed a counterclaim against plaintiff based on the same contracts that was the basis of plaintiff's summary judgment. Defendant has appealed, insisting the Trial Court abused its discretion in certifying the judgment as final. We hold the Trial Court abused its discretion in certifying the judgment as final and dismiss the appeal.


ALSTOM POWER, INC., v. SUE ANN HEAD, ADMINISTRATOR, TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, WORKERS' COMPENSATION DIVISION, et al.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Jeffrey L. Cleary and Michael A. Kent, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alstom Power, Inc.

John Mark Griffin, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Patrick Dickson. Attorney 3: Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, William E. Young, Solicitor General, and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiff employer confronted with a worker's compensation claim by its employee filed an action for declaratory judgment, injunction relief, and a petition for certiorari against the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the employee. Plaintiff's principal contention was that the Department of Labor prepared an order for medical benefits directing the employer to provide the employee with additional panels of physicians from which he could choose for treatment, and concluded by averring that it was threatened with a $10,000 penalty if it did not comply. The Trial Court initially issued a restraining order, but the Trial Court ultimately concluded that it did not have jurisdiction over the issues because suit had been filed before the administrative review process was exhausted. Plaintiff appealed and we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court, and remand.


Child Sex Abuse Statute Bill Deferred

The House Judiciary Committee today deferred action until Feb. 28 on a bill that would remove the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases, including rape, sexual battery, incest, statutory rape by an authority figure and sexual exploitation. The bill, HB 2278, is sponsored by Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga. If the bill is passes, the Tennessee Department of Corrections estimates a 5 percent increase in admissions for child sex offenses.


U of M Law Professor Harris Receives National Award

A national group has named University of Memphis law professor Lee Harris as one of the 100 most influential black lawyers in the country. Harris, along with the other honorees, will be recognized by "On Being a Black Lawyer" at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 29. The Daily Helsman has details.


To Save Money, County Studies Electronic Monitoring for Offenders

Sullivan County officials are looking for alternative sentencing options for non-violent offenders. Last week they learned how an electronic monitoring system could be used to track inmates ordered to serve sentences at home rather than in the county jail. Sheriff Wayne Anderson said having some inmates serve time at home would reduce how much money the county spends on daily operations, such as food and medical and dental services for inmates. The Times News reported.


Supreme Court to Look at 1st Amendment and Lying

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up a case Wednesday to decide whether the 1st Amendment protects not just the freedom of speech but a right to lie about military honors. Congress enacted the Stolen Valor Act in 2006 to make it a crime to falsely claim a military honor. WREG reports.


Mahoney is New Information Officer for Courts

Casey Mahoney is the new public information officer (PIO) for the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts. The PIO is responsible for media relations, website management, social media as well as public record accessibility. Mahoney has nearly eight years of government communication experience under four different administrations in Florida and Tennessee. Most recently, she was the Assistant Director of Public Affairs at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Learn more about her from the AOC.


Cleveland Attorney Suspended

Cleveland lawyer Sherman Ames III was suspended the Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 14 for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law based upon complaints from the Washington Attorney General’s office and an investigator for the unauthorized practice of law unit in Montana. He is not licensed to practice law in Washington or Montana, and was suspended in Tennessee at the time. His suspension is for six months, with credit for 21 days. Download the BPR release.


Estate Planning Forum is Friday; Late Fee Waived

The Tennessee Bar Association’s annual Estate Planning Forum is this Friday at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Nashville. Produced by the TBA’s Estate Planning Section, this is THE EVENT to attend to learn from Tennessee's top attorneys on estate planning techniques and probate considerations, as well as gain insight into the new legislation and case law rulings affecting these areas. Topics will include:

•Clayton Trust
•Planning for Nontraditional Couples
•Charitable Trust
•Fiduciary Duties
•Ethical Considerations of Estate Planning
•Legislative Update

Because of technical problems with the TBA’s website this week, late fees will be waived for those registering now


 
 

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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.


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