Chancellor Goldin Named to Court of Appeals

Shelby County Chancery Court Judge Arnold B. Goldin has been selected by Gov. Bill Haslam to fill a vacancy on the Tennessee Court of Appeals’ Western Section. He will replace Alan E. Highers, who is retiring. Goldin, a graduate of the University of Memphis law school, was appointed chancellor in 2002 by then-governor Don Sundquist, was elected in 2004 and was re-elected to a full eight-year term in 2008. "Chancellor Goldin has done an outstanding job and will be an excellent judge on the Court of Appeals,” Haslam said. “His experience on the bench and in private practice will serve the people of West Tennessee well.” The Commercial Appeal has 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.

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00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
06 - TN Court of Appeals
11 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
01 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
00 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders









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TN Court of Appeals

IN RE ADOPTION OF ALEXANDER M. S. F. ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard Boehms, Duck River, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Gregory S. F.

Patricia W. Holder, Centerville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jackie and Lorena J.

Judge: BENNETT

The mother and stepfather of two children filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the children’s father on the ground of abandonment. The trial court terminated father’s rights on the grounds that he willfully failed to visit the children and paid only token support for the children in the four months preceding the filing of the petition. After a careful review of the record and the applicable law, we reverse the trial court, finding there is not clear and convincing proof that father’s lack of visitation was willful. We further hold that father’s payment of $697.76 in child support during the relevant time period was not mere “token support.”


IN RE ASPYN S. J.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Patrick S. Butler, for the appellant, Shonda P.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter and Jordan Scott, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Department of Children’s Services.

Judge: BENNETT

Mother challenges the decision of the trial court terminating her parental rights to her daughter, Aspyn S.J. We find clear and convincing evidence to support the trial court’s determination that Mother abandoned her child by willfully failing to provide support and that termination of Mother’s parental rights is in the best interest of the child.


FRED BARNES v. HERBERT HAMM

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Edgar Davison, Memphis, Tennessee for Plaintiff/Appellant Fred Barnes

Deborah Godwin, Memphis, Tennessee for Defendant/Appellee Herbert Hamm

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal concerns the circuit court’s dismissal of an appeal from the general sessions court. We dismiss the appeal for failure to comply with Rule 29 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.


SANDEEP GADHOK v. ZAMEER MERCHANT

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Beth Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sandeep Gadhok.

Mark J. Grai, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Zameer Merchant.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution. We affirm.


THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE & DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE v. METROPOLITAN NASHVILLE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard Lee Colbert and Courtney Lynch Wibert, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Metropolitan Nashville Education Association.

Emily Herring Lamb and Lora Barkenbus Fox, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee.

Judge: BENNETT

County board of education filed a declaratory judgment action seeking declaration that the high school principal’s decisions to re-assign certain extracurricular sponsorships were not subject to arbitration under the collective bargaining agreement between the board of education and the education association. The trial court entered judgment in the board of education’s favor and the education association appealed. We affirm.


WILMA ANN VANCE v. DONAH HOWARD ARNOLD

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

David M. Pollard, Jr., Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellants, Donah Howard Arnold.

Wilma Ann Vance, Pro se.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court dismissed Husband’s post-judgment motion based on its conclusion that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. We reverse.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

SHELVY BAKER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Charles E. Walker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shelvy Baker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret T. Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The Petitioner, Shelvy Baker, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction of second degree murder and resulting twenty-five-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALBERT LAMONT BENNETT, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ashley Preston(on appeal) and Matthew Mayo (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Albert Lamont Bennett, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Roger Moore and Hugh Ammerman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Davidson County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Albert Lamont Bennett, Jr., of attempted aggravated assault and attempted aggravated burglary. The trial court sentenced the appellant as a Range III, persistent offender to ten years for each offense, to be served consecutively, for a total effective sentence of twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his convictions and the sentences imposed by the trial court. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


WILLIAM PAUL EBLEN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Mike Whalen, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Paul Eblen.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, William Paul Eblen, appeals from the Knox County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. The Petitioner contends that the coram nobis court erred in concluding that testimony from two witnesses alleging that the victim later recanted her allegations against the Petitioner was not credible. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SAMUEL GLASS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

J. Liddell Kirk (on appeal); and William Talman (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Samuel Glass.

Judge: WITT

In this appeal as of right, the State contends that the trial court erred by setting aside the jury verdicts of attempted second degree murder and entering judgments of acquittal for those counts based upon the doctrine of transferred intent. Also in this appeal, the defendant challenges his convictions of first degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and attempted first degree murder on grounds that the evidence was insufficient to support those convictions. Because the trial court erred by setting aside the jury verdicts of attempted second degree murder, the judgments effecting those verdicts and the 12-year sentences are reinstated. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SARAH LYNN HANNON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ashley Preston, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sarah Lynn Hannon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Sarah Lynn Hannon, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to sell or deliver 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in exchange for a sentence of ten years and dismissal of all remaining charges. Per the terms of the plea agreement, the parties left determination of the manner of service of her sentence to the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that appellant serve her ten-year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. It is from this judgment that appellant now appeals. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


BRIAN WESLEY LACEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Chelsea Nicholson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brian Wesley Lacey.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Sharon Reddick, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Brian Wesley Lacey, appeals from the trial court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner asserts he received ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial and on appeal. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court dismissing the petition for post-conviction relief.


DARRYL JEROME MOORE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David G. Hirshberg, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darryl Jerome Moore.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and John Zimmerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The Petitioner, Darryl Jerome Moore, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty pleas to conspiracy to deliver 300 grams or more of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver 300 grams or more of cocaine, conspiracy to deliver 300 pounds or more of marijuana, money laundering, possession with intent to deliver ten pounds or more of marijuana, and unlawful possession of a weapon after having been convicted previously of a felony drug offense, and his resulting effective sentence of ninety-three years in confinement. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel and that he pled guilty unknowingly and involuntarily. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. FRANKLIN D. MOORE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Defendant- Appellant, Franklin D. Moore.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Anna Banks Cash, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Franklin D. Moore, was convicted by a Madison County jury of driving under the influence (DUI), fourth offense, and sentenced to two years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction. Upon our review, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


RANDY CLAYTON NORMAN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jacob J. Hubbell (on appeal), Columbia, Tennessee, and Ryan B. Feeny (at trial), Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Randy Clayton Norman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Larry Nickell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The Petitioner, Randy Clayton Norman, appeals the Maury County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction of second degree murder and resulting fifteen-year sentence. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


ANTONIO ANGEL ONATE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Melissa Anderson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio Angel Onate.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General, and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Antonio Angel Onate, appeals from the Davidson County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief after a 2011 guilty plea to facilitation to sell cocaine weighing less than .5 grams. Petitioner argues that the trial court erred by concluding that the petition was untimely and that the one-year statute of limitations was not tolled. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BILLY WAYNE VESTAL

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender, Lewisburg, Tennessee; and Michael J. Collins, Assistant District Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy Wayne Vestal.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Billy Wayne Vestal, entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault without a recommended sentence. Following the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced him to serve five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”). Appellant challenges the sentence as being excessive. Upon our review, we discern no error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Judicial Ethics Opinions

ADVISORY OPINION NO. 13-01

Court: Judicial Ethics Opinions

The Code of Judicial Conduct does not prohibit judicial candidates from publicizing and self-funding their campaigns prior to the 180-day period set out in Rule 4.4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, but, in doing so, candidates must comply with Tenn. Code Ann. §2-10-105(e)(1) regarding appointment of a political treasurer, as well as all other applicable ethics rules, election statutes, requirements, and regulations.


Ethics Panel Clarifies Timeframe for Judicial Campaign Activity

In an opinion published today in TBA Today, the Tennessee Judicial Ethics Committee clarifies that judges may begin campaign activity before the 180-day period allowed for fundraising, but must comply with financial disclosure laws, must self-fund and may take no steps to solicit or accept funds before the 180-day period. The issue arose following questions raised at TBA’s Campaign Ethics Seminar in late July.


Veterans Court Celebrates First Graduation

The Montgomery County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) held its first graduation ceremony for four former solders who successfully completed the year-old program, the Leaf Chronicle reports. VTC was started by General Sessions Judge Ken Goble. It is holistic, encompassing family therapy, drug and alcohol treatment, housing issues for homeless veterans and other services. There are currently 25 participants.


Shelby County Public Defender to Create Juvenile Defense Unit

The Shelby County Public Defender’s office has been allocated $2 million in state and local funds to create a juvenile defenders unit, as it was directed to do by the U.S. Department of Justice after an investigation found deficiencies in the juvenile court system. “These funds will be used to hire additional attorneys and other professional staff to create a specialized juvenile defender unit within the public defender’s office, and also to meet the county’s obligation to support the work of members of the private bar who agree to take court appointments in Juvenile Court,” Stephen Bush, Shelby County Public Defender, told the Commercial Appeal.


AG Response Sought for Charter School Constitutionality Debate

Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell is seeking the opinion of the state Attorney General Robert Cooper on questions posed by Metro Nashville Public Schools attorney John Borkowski on the constitutionality of the state’s charter school law, the Tennessean reports. In a legal memorandum drafted last week, Borkowski concluded that Tennessee’s decade-old charter law “seems to impose increased costs on local governments with no offsetting subsidy from the state,” which he said violates the Tennessee Constitution. The memo provides a potential basis for Metro and local districts of the state’s largest cities to mount a legal challenge of the law that allowed charters to open in Tennessee. Nashville’s foremost champion of charter schools, Mayor Karl Dean, simply called Borkowski’s opinion “interesting” and stated “the attorney whose opinion matters most on this is the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee.”


Traughbor Named to State Ethics Commission

Charles Traughber has been appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam to a seat on the Tennessee Ethics Commission, Knoxnews reports. Traughbor recently retired as chairman of the state Board of Paroles after 41 years.


Green Party Sues Over Voter ID Law

The Green Party of Tennessee has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to throw out Tennessee’s voter ID law, calling it unconstitutional and unfair to minority voters. “There is no justification for having the photo ID requirement, as there is no such thing as voter fraud,” said Alan Woodruff, an attorney in Gray who has represented the Green Party in previous lawsuits. “It’s overly burdensome. It affects minorities and the progressive-leaning voter more than the typical Republican conservative, and it was intended to.” The Tennessean has the story.


Court Declines to Hear Brentwood Election Case

The Tennessee Supreme Court declined to hear the city of Brentwood’s case with the Williamson County Election Commission over use of the city-controlled library as an early voting polling place. The appeal to the state’s top court was the city’s last avenue after a state appeals court found earlier this year that the state code supported the Election Commission’s contention that it had the power under state law to determine which facilities to use in the election process. The Tennessean has more.


Wills for Heroes Event Helps More Than 40 First Responders

More than 40 Clarksville area firefighters, police officers, paramedics/EMT's and their spouses received free will drafting and other basic estate planning documents on Monday as part of the TBA Young Lawyer Division’s Wills for Heroes program. A local contingent of attorneys donated their knowledge and expertise at the six-hour program, which took place at the Clarksville Police Department Headquarters. To date, more than 500 TBA lawyers have volunteered their time to serve more than 2,000 first responders. The Leaf Chronicle has the story.


Paralegal Program Partners with Law School for Information Session

Chattanooga State Community College’s paralegal program has partnered with the Olsen Law Firm and William & Mary School of Law to host a law school admissions informational session on Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. in the Omniplex on Chattanooga State’s main campus. Tennessee native Rhianna Shabsin, assistant dean of admission for William & Mary School of Law, will present information to students. For more information, contact the Olsen Law Firm at (413) 648-9390. The Chattanoogan has the story.


Pro Bono, Public Interest Law Conference Next Weekend

The TBA Access to Justice Committee's Pro Bono & Public Interest Law School Conference will be held Sept. 6-7 at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Law Students, faculty, staff and others interested in this issue are invited to attend any part of the event. The conference will feature presentations by TBA President Cindy Wyrick, Access to Justice Commission Chair Buck Lewis and representatives from law schools and legal aid programs. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in discussions on policy issues ranging from mandatory pro bono service for law school graduates to public interest career debt management strategies. Click here to register for this free conference and to view the full schedule. For more information, contact UT’s Access to Justice Coordinator Brad Morgan.


Second Candidate Emerges to Challenge DA Clark

Dan Smith, a retired Marine judge advocate and former U.S. Attorney, has confirmed that he will challenge District Attorney General Tony Clark in the 2014 election, the Johnson City Press reports. “It’s my present intention to see the office of district attorney general,” Smith said. “I’m sitting here as a concerned citizen and I think it’s time for a new direction and new leadership in the office. That’s as general as I want to be at this point.” Attorney Jerome Cochran, of Elizabethton, has also said he will challenge Clark.


 
 

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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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