Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Appointed

Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Deputy Shelby County District Attorney General John Campbell as Division 6 Shelby County Criminal Court Judge. Campbell fills the vacancy created when John Fowlkes became a federal court judge in early August. The Memphis Daily News has the story.

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
00 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
09 - 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 Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSEPH THOMAS BLAKELY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Tom W. Crider, District Public Defender, and Linda Moore, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Joseph Thomas Blakely.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Garry Brown, District Attorney General; and Jason Scott and Larry Hardister, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Joseph Thomas Blakely, was charged with two counts of rape of a child. A jury found him guilty of the first count but was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the second count. The defendant was sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment with a release eligibility of one hundred percent. The defendant appeals, challenging only the sufficiency of the evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


LAQUENTON MONGER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James Arnold, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellant, LaQuenton Monger.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Gregory Gilbert, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, LaQuenton Monger, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for postconviction relief. The petitioner was convicted by a jury of first degree felony murder in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse and of aggravated child abuse. On direct appeal, the conviction for first degree murder was ultimately reversed and remanded for a new trial because the trial court failed to charge lesser included offenses. The petitioner pled guilty to second degree murder. The petitioner brought a pro se post-conviction petition asserting various errors, and the post-conviction court dismissed the petition based on the statute of limitations. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BENNIE OSBY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Barry W. Kuhn (on appeal), and Michael Johnson (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Bennie Osby.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pamela Fleming and Betsy Weintraub, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Bennie Osby, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping, attempted second degree murder, aggravated robbery, and employing a firearm during the commission of a felony, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JASPER PUGH

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant District Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jasper Pugh.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Jasper Pugh (“the Defendant”) was convicted after a jury trial of two counts of theft of property of $1,000 or more but less than $10,000. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a career offender to twelve years on each count. The trial court ordered each count to run consecutively, for an effective sentence of twenty-four years. The Defendant appeals, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence for both counts and the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentences. Upon our thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES ALLEN WARD

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jonathan M. Holcomb, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Allen Ward. Greg W. Eichelman, District Public Defender, and R. Russell Mattocks, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Gregory Darryl Want.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; Mr. Dan Armstrong, Assistant District Attorney General, and Ms. Kim Morrison, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Defendant Ward pled guilty to one count of initiating a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, a Class B felony, and Defendant Want pled guilty to one count of initiating a process intended to result in the manufacture of methamphetamine, a Class B felony, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor. Defendant Ward was sentenced to eight years, and Defendant Want was sentenced to eight years for the initiation conviction and to a concurrent eleven months and twenty-nine days for the possession conviction, for a total effective sentence of eight years. Both defendants reserved a certified question of law concerning the legality of a search conducted by police. On appeal, both defendants claim that the trial court erred by failing to suppress items seized pursuant to the warrantless search of Defendant Ward’s premises. After carefully reviewing the record and the arguments of the parties, we conclude that the certified question as phrased is not dispositive of the case, and we dismiss the appeals accordingly.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Constitutionality of Charter School Staff and Reporting Requirements

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-08

Opinion Number: 94


Rights of Biological Parents and Adoptive Children

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-09


Authority for Storm Water Fees/Unfunded Federal Mandates

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-09


Definition of Municipal Solid Waste

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-18


Regulation of Used Jewelry Purchasers Under Tennessee Law

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-29


Health Care Compact

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-29


Notice Required for Extension of Contracts for Director of Schools

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-30

Opinion Number: 100


Pawnbroker Compliance with Scrap Jewelry and Metal Dealers Act

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-10-31

Opinion Number: 101


Valuation of Certified Green Energy Production Facility Machinery and Equipment

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-11-01

Opinion Number: 102


AG Says Solar Tax Breaks May Be Unconstitutional

Attorney General Robert Cooper said in an opinion released today that tax breaks for the solar industry may be unconstitutional, the Tennessean reports. The 2010 law that slashed property tax bills for green energy installations was one of three tax breaks backed by former Gov. Phil Bredesen. In the opinion, Cooper said that the tax effectively gives certain business owners exemptions that are not authorized by the state Constitution.


Baumgartner Found Guilty of 5 of 6 Federal Counts

On its fourth day of deliberations, a federal jury convicted former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner on five of six counts of misprision of a felony, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The panel found him guilty of lying to an Anderson County judge, a Knox County judge, a state prosecutor, a child support referee and the director of transitional housing at the YWCA. He was acquitted of lying to nurses at the former St. Mary’s Medical Center with the purpose of covering up a drug conspiracy. Baumgartner’s attorneys say they will appeal the five guilty verdicts.


U.S. District Judge to Retire in 2013

U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Phillips confirmed Wednesday that he plans to retire and take inactive senior status on July 6, 2013, his 70th birthday, Knox News Sentinel reports. Phillips presided over the email invasion case involving then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin when she was the Republican vice presidential nominee.


Man With AK-47 Pistol in State Park Appeals Case

A man detained in a Nashville park for carrying an AK-47-style pistol across his chest filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal appeals court in August ruled that the park ranger who initially detained him did not violate his rights, WRCB reports. Leonard Embody was let go when it was determined that the gun was legally considered a handgun which is permissible in state parks under Tennessee law with a valid permit.


Judge Orders Watergate Records Unsealed

U.S District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered the release of documents sealed in the 1970s as part of a court case against seven men involved in the Watergate burglary. In a two-page order today, he said that material sought by a Texas history professor should be released. He gave the National Archives and Records Administration a month to review and release the materials. 


Memphis Law Celebrates 50th Anniversary, Announces New Pro Bono Requirement

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law celebrated its golden anniversary on Oct. 27 by honoring both the school’s history and people who have been part of that history, including former deans, professors and alumni. Additionally, interim dean William Kratzke announced the school will institute a new pro bono requirement, which makes students complete a certain amount of pro bono legal work in order to graduate. Read more in The Memphis Daily News.


TBJ: Gift-Tax Exemption Expiration Explained

On Dec. 31, the $5.2 million gift-tax exemption expires, making your job helping your clients with year-end gifts even more important. Hunter Mobley and Jeffrey Mobley help you know the details for this year in the November Tennessee Bar Journal. The issue also gives a glimpse into the history of Nashville's Supreme Court Building in preparation for its 75th anniversary celebration next month. Read these and much more -- and don't miss Jackie Dixon's president's column and Bill Haltom's humor column as they both give their takes on being thankful -- and how cornbread figures in.


Judicial Elections: Follow Results

The National Center for State Courts will provide live coverage of state supreme court races and court-related initiatives on election night next Tuesday from its website.


Barristers’ Ball and Scholarship Awards

The Ben F. Jones chapter of the National Bar Association will host its annual Barrister’s Ball and Scholarship Awards Saturday at the Racquet Club in Memphis. The Ball is an opportunity for lawyers, judges, and their families to come together for a night of great food, music, dancing, recognition of outstanding achievements, and fundraising to support scholarships to deserving minority students of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.


Nashville Bar Foundation Fellows Dinner

The Nashville Bar Foundation will host its annual Fellows Dinner on Saturday at the Hutton Hotel. Visit the NBA website for more information.


Shelby County Lawyer Censured

Shelby County lawyer Jami Keith Ferrell was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court for failing to comply with the swearing in requirements of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 6 until May 21, 2009. Prior to that time, Ferrell had already opened a law office in Tennessee and launched a website promoting his legal services. 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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