Apply Now for Judicial Nominating Commission

The Administrative Office of the Courts is now accepting applications for a seat on the Judicial Nominating Commission as a result of the retirement of commission member Theresa Lee. Applicants may either be an attorney or non-attorney, but must have lived in East Tennessee for one year prior to the appointment, and have been a citizen of the state of Tennessee for at least five years prior to the appointment. Applications must be received by the Administrative Office of the Courts by Jan. 3

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
11 - 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

GEORGE EDWARDS v. ALICE EDWARDS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Charles S. Kelly, Jr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellant George Edwards

Milly Worley, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellee Alice Edwards

Judge: KIRBY

This is a divorce case in which the husband challenges the award of alimony. After the divorce trial, the trial court awarded the wife transitional alimony and alimony in futuro. It also awarded the wife a monetary amount per month for her share of the husband’s military pension benefits. The husband filed a motion to alter or amend arguing inter alia that the military would not make direct payments to the wife from his military benefits because the marriage did not overlap the husband’s active-duty military service for the requisite number of years. Based on the husband’s argument, the trial court modified the alimony award by deleting the requirement that the husband divide his military pension benefits with the wife, but increasing the husband’s in futuro alimony obligation by an equal amount. The husband now appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

KYRIE T. ADAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Mike Mosier, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kyrie T. Adams.

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

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Kyrie T. Adams, appeals as of right from the Madison County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to file a motion to suppress his statement to the police prior to the Petitioner entering a guilty plea. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JASON LEE BILES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Dan T. Bryant, District Public Defender; and Trenena G. Wilcher, Assistant Public Defender, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason Lee Biles.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa A. Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Joshua T. Crain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Jason Lee Biles, appeals as of right from his jury conviction for delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance, a Class C felony, and the trial court’s subsequent sentence of ten years. The Defendant contends that the evidence submitted to the jury was insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court’s ten-year sentence was excessive and inconsistent with the Sentencing Act. After reviewing the record and relevant authorities, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the Defendant’s conviction and that the trial court’s ten-year sentence is neither excessive nor inconsistent with the Sentencing Act. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


DONALD CLARK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE, JENNIE JOBE, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Donald Clark, Pro Se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, and Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

This matter is before the Court upon the State’s motion to dismiss or in the alternative to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Petitioner, Donald Clark, has appealed the Davidson County Circuit Court order dismissing his second petition for writ of habeas corpus in which Petitioner alleged that: (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial; (2) his indictments were “faulty”; and (3) he was illegally arrested. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the trial court was correct in dismissing the motion for new trial as duplicitous and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State’s motion is granted, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JACKIE EWING

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin (on appeal) and Sheila Stevenson (at trial), Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jackie Ewing.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Madison County jury convicted the Defendant, Jackie Ewing, of theft of property valued over $1,000.00. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant asserts that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


ANTOINETTE HORTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Neil Umsted (on post-conviction); Claiborne H. Ferguson (on appeal); and Jake Erwin (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antoinette Horton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Ray Lepone and Reginald Henderson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Antoinette Horton, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to a term of eighteen years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, she contends that the court erred in denying her petition because she was denied her right to the effective assistance of counsel. Specifically, she contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) failing to present a witness who would have established that the gunshot fired by the petitioner could not have killed the victim; and (2) failing to adequately advise the petitioner with regard to the State’s plea offers. The petitioner also asserts that the post-conviction court’s denial of her request for funding for a ballistics expert violated her Due Process rights. Following review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHNNY E. MONK

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

K. Justin Hutton, Blountville, Tennessee (on appeal), and David Mullins, Bristol, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Johnny E. Monk.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; Amber Massengil, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

Following a bench trial, the trial court convicted the Defendant, Johnny E. Monk, of violation of the Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender Act, violation of the vehicle registration law, and violation of the financial responsibility law. The trial court sentenced the Defendant, as a multiple offender, to a four year sentence to be served in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred when it: (1) denied his motion to suppress the evidence from the traffic stop as an illegal search and seizure; and (2) allowed evidence of unindicted criminal behavior contrary to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b). After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIE HOWARD MULL

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Paul Edward Meyers (at hearing) and George Morton Googe (on appeal), Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willie Howard Mull.

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

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Willie Howard Mull, pled guilty to aggravated assault, felony reckless endangerment, and unlawfully carrying a weapon. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of four years, to be served on probation. A warrant was issued alleging the Defendant had violated his probation. After a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court abused its discretion when it revoked his probation. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. OTIS B. OWENS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Christopher G. Clark, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant Otis B. Owens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Timothy Peters, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Otis B. Owens, pled guilty to arson and vandalism of property valued at over $60,000. As per the guilty plea the length and manner of service of sentence was to be determined by the trial court after a hearing. The trial court sentenced Appellant to an effective sentence of eight years. Appellant appeals, arguing that the trial court improperly denied an alternative sentence and that the trial court improperly applied enhancement factors in determining the length of the sentence. After a review of the record, we determine that the trial court properly sentenced Appellant to an effective eight-year sentence, and, in order to avoid depreciating the seriousness of the offense, did not abuse its discretion in denying an alternative sentence. Consequently, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GREG PATTERSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Periann Houghton (on appeal), Somerville, Tennessee, and Leslie I. Ballin (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Greg Patterson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joni R. Livingston, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Lauderdale County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Greg Patterson, of felony reckless endangerment, and the trial court sentenced him to eighteen months to be served in community corrections. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we agree that the evidence is insufficient. Therefore, the conviction is reversed, and the original charge is dismissed.


MICHAEL W. SMITH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael W. Smith, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Petitioner, Michael W. Smith, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the post-conviction 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 post-conviction court.


RONALD L. TAYLOR v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ronald L. Taylor, Coleman, Florida, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; and Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

On April 23, 2012, the petitioner, Ronald L. Taylor, filed pro se a petition for post-conviction relief challenging his 2005 conviction of aggravated assault. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition based, in part, upon the bar of the statute of limitations. The State has moved this court pursuant to this court’s rule 20 to summarily affirm the postconviction court’s order of dismissal. Because the record evinces no basis for tolling the statute of limitations and because the petition was untimely and barred by the statute, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the post-conviction court’s order.


Today's News

Pro Bono Program Honors Volunteers at NBA Banquet

The Nashville Pro Bono Program named Perry Happell as its “Volunteer of the Year” and Stites & Harbison PLLC as its “Leadership Award” winner at the Nashville Bar Association's recent annual banquet. “These awards reflect the work done and legal contributions made individually by Perry and collectively by Stites & Harbison to the Nashville Pro Bono Program,” Lucinda Smith, the program's director said. “Their efforts make a world of difference in the free legal help we are able to provide the Nashville community.” Download this press release to learn more.


Arizona Court to Allow 3Ls to Sit for the Bar

The Arizona Supreme Court has approved an experimental proposal allowing third-year law students to take the bar exam in the middle of their final year, making it the only state to allow students to take the exam before they graduate. Law school officials hope it will give students a leg up in the job market. The proposal was approved as a temporary pilot program from Jan. 2013 to Dec. 2015.  The National Law Journal has the story.


GOP Supports Gov. Haslam's Health Exchange Decision

Despite regular opposition to expanding the role of the federal government, most Tennessee Republicans support Gov. Haslam’s decision to reject a state-run health insurance exchange in favor of a federally-run program, the Chattanooga Times Free press reports. After Haslam’s announcement Monday, there were no recriminations for his deference to the federal government. However, a statewide poll conducted by Vanderbilt University found that 53 percent of the 829 respondents favored a state-run exchange versus the 33 percent who did not.


BP Rig Supervisors Request Manslaughter Trial Delay

Two BP rig supervisors charged with manslaughter in the 2010 Gulf oil spill have asked a federal judge to postpone their trials, WDEF News Channel 12 reports. Defense lawyers asked for more time to prepare and stated Justice Department prosecutors are not opposed to the delay. U. S District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. didn’t immediately rule on their request.


Jury Set for Former Unicoi County Sheriff's Retrial

The jury in former Unicoi County sheriff Kent Harris’ retrial was set Monday in Unucoi Criminal Court, the Johnson City Press reports. The jury consists of 12 members with two alternates. Harris’s first trial in August on charges of theft over $4,500 and criminal simulation was declared a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.


Williamson DUI Court Earns Praise in Review

The Williamson County DUI Court received a glowing report from a recent review by the Justice Programs Office at American University. The review team consisted of Judge John Parnham, a retired Circuit Court judge, and Dr. Richard Grimm, a DUI court evaluator, who spent two days in Franklin meeting with DUI Court Judge Denise Andre, Mayor Rogers Anderson, DUI Court team members, participants and graduates. The Williamson County General Sessions DUI Court was founded in 2010 by Judge Andre.


 
 

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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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