Sex Offenders Under Tight Rules For Halloween

State probation and parole officers will be making random visits to the homes of registered sex offenders as part of the Department of Correction’s “Operation Blackout” to ensure they are not participating in Halloween trick-or-treating, the Tennessean reports. Offenders are required to remain in their homes between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m., and they can’t open their doors to trick-or-treaters, display decorations, or dress in costumes. A federal judge upheld similar provisions in California, but struck down a ruling requiring offenders to display “No candy or treats at this residence” signs on their front doors, citing a violation of the First Amendment.

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.

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

JOHN ALBERT CORDELL, JR. ET AL. v. BURL BRUCE SNYDER ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

George T. Wright, Mountain City, Tennessee, for the appellants, Burl Bruce Snyder and wife, Joyce Snyder.

H. Randolph Fallin, Mountain City, Tennessee, for the appellees, John Albert Cordell, Jr., and wife, Susan Cordell.

Judge: SUSANO

This is an action for breach of warranty of title. The court found, after a bench trial, that the defendants breached the warranty by conveying an easement which they did not own. The defendants appeal. We affirm.


JAMES TODD HARRIS v. AMY PRICE HARRIS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Rebecca D. Slone, Dandridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Todd Harris.

Felisha B. White, Seymour, Tennessee, for the appellee, Amy Price Harris.

Judge: SWINEY

This appeal arises from a dispute over the trial court’s jurisdiction to hear an appeal from a magistrate’s order on child support. Amy Price Harris (“Mother”) filed a petition to increase child support from her former husband, James Todd Harris (“Father”), for their minor child. Two hearings were held before a magistrate, resulting in, among other things, an increase of child support. The trial judge did not confirm the magistrate’s order. This case later was transferred from the Fourth Circuit Court for Knox County to the Circuit Court for Sevier County (“the Trial Court”). Several months later, Father filed a motion to correct the magistrate’s order concerning child support. The Trial Court held that it lacked jurisdiction at that point to change the prior child support arrearage judgment or hold a rehearing on that issue. Father appeals. We vacate the judgment of the Trial Court and remand for further proceedings.


SHERRY HUTSON v. SAFE STAR TRUCKING ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Thomas D. Dossett, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sherry Hutson.

S. Curtis Rose, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.

Judge: SUSANO

In this case, Sherry Hutson filed a complaint in which she alleged her vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer (“the tractor”) that left the scene of the accident. She seeks to recover under the uninsured motorist (“UM”) provisions of a policy providing coverage to the vehicle she was driving. The jury found that no “actual physical contact ha[d] occurred between” the plaintiff’s vehicle and the vehicle that left the scene. She appeals. We affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BILLY J. BLANKENSHIP

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael G. Hatmaker and Brent Gray, Jacksboro, Tennessee for the Defendant-Appellant, Billy J. Blankenship.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; Wm. Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Michael O. Ripley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

A Campbell County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Billy J. Blankenship, of robbery, a Class C felony, and theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. He received a sentence of four years for robbery and three years for theft, to be served concurrently in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Blankenship argues that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions because the State failed to prove the particular allegations of the indictments. Upon review, we reverse and vacate the judgment for robbery, and remand for a new trial as to the robbery offense. The judgment for theft, however, is affirmed.


JERRY D. CARNEY, II v. DWIGHT BARBEE, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jerry D. Carney, II, Henning, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Jerry D. Carney, II, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which he contended that his life sentence for his first degree premeditated murder conviction was illegal and void. On appeal, the Petitioner challenges the summary dismissal of the petition. His primary claim is that his life sentence is illegal because the statute governing his release eligibility does not allow for the possibility of parole. Following our review, we affirm.


MICHAEL J. DENSON v. DAVID A. SEXTON, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael J. Denson, pro se, for the appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, who stood convicted following a guilty plea to numerous crimes including aggravated kidnapping, brought a petition for habeas corpus claiming that the trial court was without jurisdiction to enter a pretrial order amending one count of his indictment from a charge of especially aggravated kidnapping to a charge of aggravated kidnapping. Consequently, he urged that his conviction for aggravated kidnapping was void. The habeas corpus court granted the State’s motion to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the petitioner’s claims, if sustained, would merely render his judgment voidable, not void. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the trial court violated his due process right to fair and impartial review by failing to accurately grasp the merits of his claims and including nongermane material in its order. After review, we conclude that the habeas corpus court’s order did fairly address his claims and did not violate his due process rights. Consequently, the judgment below is affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DANNY RAY HENSLEY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael J. LaGuardia, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Danny Ray Hensley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Kevin Keeton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Danny Ray Hensley, pleaded guilty to robbery, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-401 (2010). He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to eight years’ confinement. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying an alternative sentence. Because the trial court did not consider a presentence report, we reverse its judgment and remand for resentencing.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONNIE INGRAM

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; and Harry E. Sayle III, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal); and James Hale, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Ronnie Ingram.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Abby Wallace and Chris West, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Shelby County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Ronnie Ingram, of aggravated burglary, see T.C.A. § 39-14-403; theft of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1,000, see id. § 39-14-103, 105(2); criminal exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (“HIV”), see id. § 39-13-109; evading arrest, see id. § 39-16-603; and resisting arrest, see id. § 39-16-602. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of 32 years plus 11 months and 29 days’ incarceration. On appeal, the defendant challenges only the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction of criminal exposure to HIV. Because we determine that the State failed to establish an element of the offense, we reverse the defendant’s conviction of criminal exposure to HIV and dismiss that charge. In lieu thereof, we impose a conviction of attempt to expose one to HIV and remand for sentencing on this modified conviction. Because the defendant raises no challenge to his remaining convictions, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROMILLA JONES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James E. Lanier, District Public Defender; Cristy C. Cooper, Assistant District Public Defender, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Romilla Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Karen Burns, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Romilla Jones (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver. The trial court subsequently sentenced the Defendant as a Range I offender to two years, suspended to community corrections after service of six months in the county jail. The Defendant appealed, arguing that she should not have been sentenced to any period of confinement. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we have determined that the Defendant is not entitled to relief on this issue. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment. Because the judgment order contains a clerical error, this matter is remanded for the entry of a corrected judgment order.


BARRY SINGLETON V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Rosalind E. Brown, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Barry Singleton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Doug Carriker, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Barry Singleton (“the Petitioner”) filed a petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape. In his petition, he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. After an evidentiary hearing, the postconviction court denied relief, and this appeal followed. On appeal, the Petitioner asserts that his counsel at trial failed to convey a plea offer to him that he would have accepted instead of proceeding to trial. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


ABRON SPRAGGINS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Todd Mosley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Abron Spraggins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Jennifer D. Morris, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

Much aggrieved by his convictions of aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment, the petitioner, Abron Spraggins, sought post-conviction relief in the Shelby County Criminal Court, alleging that he was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. On appeal, the petitioner contends that trial counsel performed deficiently by failing to introduce alibi evidence at trial and by failing to object to a police officer’s testimony concerning his knowledge of the petitioner and that these omissions inured to his detriment. Discerning no error, we affirm the order of the post-conviction court.


DALLAS WYLEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Dallas Wyley, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; and Lora Fowler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Dallas Wyley (“the Petitioner”) pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to commit first degree premeditated murder, one count of attempt to commit especially aggravated robbery, and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. For these offenses, the Petitioner was sentenced to an effective term of twenty-one years. The incarcerated Petitioner subsequently filed for post-conviction relief, pro se, which the postconviction court dismissed summarily as untimely. The Petitioner adduced proof that his petition was filed timely pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 28. The State concedes that the Petitioner is entitled to a hearing on the issue of whether his petition was filed timely. We hold that the post-conviction court erred in summarily dismissing the Petitioner’s claim for relief as untimely. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand this matter for a hearing to determine whether the petition for post-conviction relief was filed timely and for such other proceedings as may be necessary.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY WILLIAMS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Harry E. Sayle III (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee; Nigel Lewis and Timothy Albers, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Anthony Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; David Zak and Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

Following his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of premeditated murder, felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery, for which he received an effective sentence of life imprisonment, the defendant, Anthony Williams, appeals to this court, challenging only the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions. Discerning no paucity in the evidence, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Former MTSU Student Denied New Murder Trial

Former MTSU student Shanterrica Madden, who was convicted in May of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the killing of her college roommate, will ask a higher court for a new trial after Circuit Court Judge Don Ash denied her request Monday afternoon. Madden’s attorney Joe Brandon argued that the first trial was unfair, her 25 year sentence was too harsh, and her rights were infringed upon when the judge allowed jurors to ask witnesses questions. Brandon says they will be filing a brief with the appeals court within 30 days and plans to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary. Read more at the Tennessean.


Judge Denies Access to Evidence in West Memphis Three Case

An Arkansas judge ruled that evidence collected from the high-profile 1993 murders of three Cub Scouts cannot be released to the victims’ parents, Knox News reports. The lawsuit seeking access to evidence comes in the wake of the release of the three men convicted of the murders known as the West Memphis Three, who were released last year after years of questions about the case. Lawyers for the victims’ parents said they would not appeal right now due to another hearing on the common law rights.


Former Vol Indicted in Test-Taking Fraud

Former University of Tennessee and NFL wide receiver Cedrick Wilson has been indicted in an alleged test-taking fraud scheme, KnoxNews reports. The U.S. attorney’s office for West Memphis said Wilson had someone take two physical education exams for him. The test-taker was part of a ring of people who fraudulently took certification exams for teachers throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Wilson has been charged with wire fraud and Social Security fraud.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Returns to Bass Berry & Sims

Former Bass Berry & Sims partner Matt Curley has returned to the firm following a two-year stint in the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, the Nashville Post reports. A graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law, Curley served as an assistant U.S. attorney and chief of the local office’s civil division. At Bass, he will again be a partner in the firm’s compliance and government investigations practice group.


Judges Ruling Moves Beale Street Development Forward

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jennie Latta ruled that Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., which has managed and developed city-owned properties since the renovated Beale Street Entertainment District opened in 1983, is not in default of its sublease with the Beale Street Development Corp. With the ruling, Performa can now reassign its lease to the city of Memphis. The Memphis Daily News has the story.


New Judge Appointed to Christian Newsom Case

Retired Davidson County Judge Walter C. Kurtz, who has been serving as a senior judge, will oversee the cases of three men previously convicted in the Christian Newsom murder trial, WBIR.com reports. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Gary R. Wade appointed Kurtz after the Court of Criminal Appeals ordered Judge Blackwood removed from the case earlier this month, saying he had lost his objectivity in the case.


Jury Unable to Reach Verdict in Baumgartner Case

Judge Ronnie Greer sent federal jurors home around 4:30 p.m. today after the group deliberated throughout the day without reaching a verdict in the case against former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner. The trial, which began last week, was in the second day of deliberations. The jury will resume 9 a.m. Thursday. Knox News has the story. 


UT Hosts Pro Bono Carnival

The University of Tennessee College of Law Pro Bono program hosted its second annual Pro Bono Carnival to help fund travel for students wishing to participate in Alternative Spring Break pro bono activities, providing much needed access to justice to the underserved. The carnival included food for sale, a silent auction, and the opportunity for students, faculty and staff to bid for the chance to pie their favorite professor. View video and pictures from the event.


Shelby County Lawyer Censured

Shelby County lawyer Michael E. Latimore was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court for not communicating effectively with his client, diligently representing his client’s interest,  informing his client that his license to practice law had been suspended, or not issuing an appropriate refund. Download the BPR notice.


 
 

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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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