Court Scrutinizes South Carolina Voter ID Law

A special panel of three federal judges in Washington heard arguments today on whether South Carolina’s measure requiring residents to show federal- or state-issued photo ID at polling stations significantly burdens minority voters in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The judges, who must sign off on the measure, appeared skeptical that the state would have enough time to get the law in place for use on Nov. 6, noting that many state-imposed deadlines for implementation expired last year. Bloomberg News reports

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 Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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









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TN Supreme Court

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

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Court of Appeals

CHARLES CHAMBERS v. GAYLE RAY, COMMISSIONER, TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Charles Chambers, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Mark A. Hudson, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, Gayle Ray, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Correction.

Judge: CLEMENT

An inmate in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction, filed a petition for declaratory judgment alleging that the Department failed to credit him with 2,511 days of pretrial credits that were awarded him pursuant to a plea agreement. The sole issue in this appeal is whether the trial court properly dismissed the petition based upon a finding that the material facts show Petitioner received all pretrial jail credits awarded and due Petitioner. Finding no error, we affirm.


IN THE MATTER OF JUSTICE A. F.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Viola E. Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee for Respondent/Appellant T.L.A.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General, Lindsey O. Appiah, Assistant Attorney General, and Martha Campbell, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee for Petitioner/Appellee State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves the termination of a mother’s parental rights. The father had a history of domestic violence toward the mother, and there was a protection order requiring the father to stay away from the mother’s older children. Nevertheless, the mother went to work and left the child at issue, a toddler, and her younger sibling in the care of the father. While the mother was at work, the father murdered the infant sibling. After that, the child at issue was found to be dependent and neglected and the mother was found to have committed severe abuse based on her failure to protect the child from the father. The mother did not appeal this ruling. Thereafter, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services filed this petition to terminate the mother’s parental rights, with grounds of severe abuse already established. After a trial, the trial court terminated the mother’s parental rights. The mother now appeals only the finding as to the child’s best interest. We affirm.


DONTA S. SMITH v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Donta S. Smith, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Joseph F. Whalen, Associate Solicitor General; Lee Pope, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction.

Judge: DINKINS

Inmate filed a petition for certiorari, seeking a review of a decision of the prison disciplinary review board, affirmed by warden and the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, finding him guilty of certain prison disciplinary offenses. The trial court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction, finding it was not filed within sixty days of the entry of the order for which review was sought. Finding no error, we affirm the action of the trial court.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER BRYAN HANCOCK

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jonathan A. Marion, Sneedville, Tennessee (on appeal), and Gerald Eidson, Rogersville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Christopher Bryan Hancock.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Kim Morrison, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Hamblen County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Christopher Bryan Hancock, of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and aggravated robbery, all based upon a theory of criminal responsibility. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions, the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury as to the lesser-included offense of accessory after the fact, and the trial court’s instruction regarding criminal responsibility. Upon review, we affirm the appellant’s convictions of aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery, but we must reverse his conviction of especially aggravated kidnapping and remand for a new trial for the trial court to instruct the jury as mandated by our supreme court in State v. White, 362 S.W.2d 559, 580-81 (Tenn. 2012).


QUINCY LONDALE SCOTT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David Christopher Veazey, Chattanooga, Tennessee (on appeal); and Justin G. Woodward, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at hearing and on appeal), for the appellant, Quincy Londale Scott.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; Neal Pinkston and Lance Pope, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Quincy Londale Scott, appeals as of right from the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate the circumstances surrounding his confession to the police and failing to hire a “handwriting expert” to testify about the waiver of rights form signed by the Petitioner. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Investor Fraud Summit Next Week at Vanderbilt

On Oct. 4, about 12 United States Attorneys from around the country, along with representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securites and Exchange Commission, will host a Regional Investor Fraud Summit at Vanderbilt University Law School (Flynn Auditorium). The morning session is open to the public and anyone interested in learning more about schemes that threaten the investing public, and law enforcement’s efforts to combat fraud is welcome to attend. The public portion of the summit will be 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. To attend, RSVP to DDanielson@usa.doj.gov


GPS Tracking is Battle of Public Safety and Privacy Rights

Ever since the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August that police didn’t need a warrant to track a Knoxville suspect’s movement through his cell phone in a drug investigation, the battle has been on between public safety and privacy rights as challenges wend their way through the U.S. court system. “It’s accurate to say there are millions of requests (by police) to phone companies for tracking vehicles and people. Most of them, if not all of them, involve locating people through triangulation of signals through cellphones,” said Christopher Slobogin, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School. Nashville Public Defender Dawn Deaner said the tracking raises important questions about how far police can go without violating someone’s right to privacy. The Tennessean looks into it


Bradley Co. Won't Add Deputy, But Helps Inmates with Education

Bradley County commissioners will not fund a new deputy position, even though Sheriff Jim Ruth says the county needs one, the Times Free Press reports. In other news, Ruth has been instrumental in helping inmates at the Bradley County Justice Center get their GED's, as 20 will take the test this fall through a new Bradley County Department of Corrections program. According to testing coordinator for the county's adult high school, Charlotte Samples, a released inmate with a GED is 50 percent less likely to be imprisoned again.


Staubus Talks About His Calling as Prosecutor

Barry Staubus looks back on his first year as Sullivan County district attorney general in this profile. He says he views the job as a calling, and talks about his work to battle synthetic drugs, his increased administrative responsibilities, and moving the office toward using electronic case files. Last year, when Greeley Wells retired, Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Staubus as the county’s top prosecutor until the next election. Last month with no opposition, he was elected to fill out the remainder of Wells’ term, which ends in 2014. Read more about him from TriCities.com


Teen Gets Close Look at Judicial System

A 13-year-old Cleveland girl visited Circuit Court Judge Michael Sharp's courtroom recently and was surprised by the process. Read what she learned about the judicial system in the Cleveland Daily Banner.


Poster Campaign: Domestic Violence Awareness

The Knoxville Family Justice Center released the second in a projected line of eight posters as part of a domestic abuse public awareness campaign, Knoxnews reports. The poster claims more people died in 2010 from family violence than during the flood that ravaged the state the same year. The center will partner with more than 60 other organizations during the two-year initiative to help combat domestic violence.


Cremator's Verdict Upheld

The Tennessee Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict to award $750,000 to the parents of a deceased man whose body was not cremated by the crematory owner, the Times News reports. T. Ray Brent Marsh, the former operator of a Georgia crematory, was charged with intentional infliction of emotional distress after authorities discovered approximately 230 bodies that were buried or discarded on the premises instead of being cremated. Read the full court opinion here.


2 Federal Judges Confirmed

The Senate confirmed two non-controversial judicial nominees for federal district courts early Saturday, part of the last scheduled business until after the presidential election. The Senate confirmed Gonzalo Curiel for the Southern District of California and Robert Shelby for the District of Utah, the Blog of Legal Tmes reports The posts are considered judicial emergencies because of the workload faced in the districts. Both men had the support of both of their state's senators and were approved by a voice vote.


'10 Commandments Judge' Running Again

Roy Moore, ousted as Alabama Supreme Court chief justice in 2003 for refusing to obey a federal court order to remove his 10 Commandments monument from the State Judicial Building, is running for his old job. Moore, a Republican, is pitted against Democrat Bob Vance, son of Robert Smith Vance, a federal judge assassinated by a mail bomb at his Mountain Brook home in 1989. “It was assumed that Roy Moore would not win the Republican nomination,” says Larry Powell, an expert in political communication at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “But it appears that the Alabama voter has a short memory." The Tennessean has more


 
 

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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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