Haslam Names Commission for Judicial Appointments

Governor Bill Haslam today named members to the Governor's Commission for Judicial Appointments, which will consider applications from those seeking to fill court vacancies. Attorneys among the group are S. Leo Arnold of Dyersburg; Bradford Box of Jackson; Alberto Gonzales of Nashville; Olen Haynes Sr. of Johnson City; Thomas Lawless of Nashville; Gilbert McCarter II of Murfreesboro; Jimmie Carpenter Miller of Kingsport; J. Bartlett Quinn of Chattanooga; Cheryl G. Rice of Knoxville; W. Scott Sims of Nashville; Michael Spitzer of Hohenwald; and Charles Tuggle and Amy P. Weirich of Memphis. Community members are Miles Burdine, president of the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Jesse Cannon with Western Mental Health Institute in Bolivar; David Golden with Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport; and victim advocate Verna Wyatt of Nashville. Haslam established the commission earlier this month to help guide his decisions in making judicial appointments.

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
04 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
01 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
00 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders









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TN Court of Appeals

KIMBERLY BYARS v. EARL YOUNG

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kimberly Byars, Memphis, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Earl Young, Hermitage, Tennessee, appellee, pro se.

Judge: PER CURIAM

Because the order appealed is not a final judgment, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.


ESTATE OF MARY REEVES DAVIS, DECEASED

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Christopher Robert Stanford, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Terry Davis.

R. Horton Frank, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Lani Thomas Arnold, et al.

Ames Davis, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ames Davis, Administrator C.T.A. of the Estate of Mary Reeves Davis.

Judge: COTTRELL

Decedent passed away in 1999, and Husband filed a petition for an elective share and a year’s maintenance. Days before the trial was scheduled to begin in 2012 Husband discharged his attorneys and requested a continuance to find replacement counsel. The trial court permitted Husband’s attorneys to withdraw but denied Husband’s motion to continue. The trial court denied Husband’s petition for an elective share because Husband had already received the bequest Decedent left him in her will. The trial court also denied Husband’s request for a year of maintenance because Husband had transferred to himself over $250,000 from Decedent’s accounts shortly before her death, and the amount Husband transferred to himself exceeded the amount Husband sought as maintenance. Husband appealed the trial court’s judgment, and we affirm in all respects.


IN RE: ISABELLA Z. S.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Patrice Donice Butler Kinsey, Harriman, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darlene H.

Andrew Nathan Hall, Wartburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jason O. and Rachel O.

Judge: PER CURIAM

This is an appeal by Darlene H. from an order entered on May 21, 2013, which dismissed her petition for grandparent visitation on grounds that she lacked standing to intervene in the termination of parental rights and adoption proceedings involving her biological grandchild. A final order of adoption terminating the parental rights of Darlene H.’s daughter, Whitney H., to her daughter, Isabella S., was entered on April 24, 2013. The Notice of Appeal was not filed by counsel for Darlene H. until June 21, 2013, more than thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the May 21, 2013 order. The adoptive parents, Jason O. and Rachel O., filed a motion to dismiss this appeal based upon the untimely filing of the Notice of Appeal. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal and grant the motion to dismiss.


STACY RAMSEY v. PHILLIP RAMSEY

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Sarah C. Easter, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stacy Ramsey.

Cathy Morton, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Phillip Ramsey.

Judge: FRIERSON

In this divorce action, Stacy Ramsey (“Wife”) and Phillip Ramsey (“Husband”) stipulated grounds for divorce but proceeded to trial regarding several issues, including classification and division of the parties’ assets, as well as child support, spousal support, and attorney’s fees. Following a bench trial, the trial court valued the parties’ marital assets and divided the marital estate equally. The court awarded Husband both homes owned by the parties upon his payment to Wife of one-half the combined equity. The court found no basis to modify the parties’ mediated co-parenting agreement and set child support accordingly. The court also found that Wife was not entitled to alimony and awarded Husband $450 in attorney’s fees due to Wife’s failure to appear at a previous hearing. Wife appeals. We modify the trial court’s property division to correct mathematical errors, and we reverse the trial court’s calculation of child support. The trial court’s judgment is affirmed in all other respects.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

FRANK J. BEASLEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
With Concurring Opinion

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Chase T. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Frank J. Beasley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and John Finklea, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Frank J. Beasley, stands convicted of one count of facilitation of second degree murder and three counts of facilitation of attempted second degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The post-conviction court determined that appellant was unconstitutionally prevented from appealing his convictions and sentences due to ineffective assistance of counsel and granted him relief in the form of a delayed appeal, which is now properly before this court. On appeal, appellant challenges the length of his sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand for entry of corrected judgment forms.


KERRY CALAHAN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kerry Calahan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Kerry Calahan, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which challenged his convictions of aggravated assault, aggravated criminal trespass, simple assault, theft of property valued at less than $500, and resisting arrest. In this appeal, he contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JASON LEE FISHER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; Michael J. Collins (on appeal and at trial) and William Joseph Harold (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Jason L. Fisher.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Robert J. Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Jason Lee Fisher, stands convicted of four counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, one count of theft of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1,000, and three counts of vandalism valued at $500 or less. The trial court sentenced appellant as a career offender to an effective sentence of forty-five years. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the effective length of his sentence. Following our review, we affirm appellant’s convictions and sentences but remand to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARVIN WENDELL KELLEY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William C. Barnes, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marvin Wendell Kelley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; Brent A. Cooper and Kimberly L. Fields Cooper, Assistant District Attorneys General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Marvin Wendell Kelley, appeals from his jury convictions for first-degree murder, a Class A felony; felony murder in the perpetration of a robbery, a Class A felony; and aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. In this appeal, he contends as follows: (1) that his indictment should have been dismissed due to lost evidence; (2) that the admission of his codefendant’s statements were hearsay and violated his right to confrontation; (3) that statements from a witness were improperly admitted over a hearsay objection; (4) that the trial court erred in denying his suppression motion; and (5) that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. After a thorough examination of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Duty of School Officials to Report Student’s Sending of Photographs Depicting Nudity of Minor

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-10-28

Opinion Number: 83


Senate Panel Considers Bebb’s TBI File in Closed Session

State Senate Judiciary Committee members voted to go into executive session yesterday as they began to review the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s file on 10th Judicial District Attorney Steve Bebb. The panel is considering whether there is sufficient evidence to go forward with a process to remove Bebb from office. Chair Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, directed committee members to keep the information confidential. In August, a special House investigative committee said there was sufficient evidence to move ahead with a recommendation to the full House in January. Lawmakers are looking at evidence presented in a series published by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and a subsequent investigation by the TBI and state Comptroller’s Office. Allegations against Bebb’s office include financial misconduct and civil rights violations in the handling of arrests and prosecutions.


McCroskey Addresses Complaints in Written Response

Knox County Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey made a brief appearance before county commissioners yesterday to take responsibility for one wrongful arrest and present a written response to allegations that her office conducted multiple wrongful arrests, filed court documents late and committed mistakes that led to suspended drivers’ licenses. Commission Chairman Brad Anders said the county needs to look into the operation of the office, which covers criminal, general sessions and circuit courts, Knoxnews reports. In related news, the Knox County Audit Committee was to meet today after some members said they would call for an audit of McCroskey’s office.


New Judicial Building Proposal Unveiled

Leaders in Rutherford County are considering a new justice center given the area’s explosive population growth, the Murfreesboro Post reports. The panel reviewing the plan will vote in November whether to move forward with the design phase. Officials predict the total cost of the new facility could run as much as $72 million. Under the proposal, the center would consist of a 200,000-square-foot courthouse, with 16 courtrooms and a secure underground parking garage. An additional free standing parking garage with 366 spaces would be constructed nearby. The new building would be located on Maple Street across from the Rutherford County Clerk’s Office.


Legal Aid Attorney Honored with Reception

The Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence recently honored Legal Aid attorney and domestic violence prevention advocate Jean Crowe. Crowe retired in September after 28 years of service in the Nashville office of the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Her nearly three decades with Legal Aid included 15 years as managing attorney of the Family Law Section, where she crafted a program centered on holistic advocacy and helping clients become self-sufficient. See photos from the event.


ADR Commission Hosts 180 for Workshop

More than 180 certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediators attended the 11th Annual Advanced Mediation Techniques Workshop on Oct. 18 in Nashville, the AOC reports. The participants heard presentations from 15 experts in the field of mediation on topics such as Ethical Considerations for the Mediator and Challenges in Early Mediation. There also were several breakout sessions for family law and general civil mediation. The program was sponsored by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, which approves and trains mediators in Tennessee.


Herenton Closing 2 Juvenile Court Charter Schools

Former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton is closing two charter schools for juvenile delinquents, the Commercial Appeal reports. The schools, operated by Herenton and located inside Northside High, will shut down Friday because of low enrollment. Herenton had predicted 200 students would flow into the schools from juvenile court referrals, but enrollment was less than 70. Herenton explained the low numbers as follows: “What we found, there must be strict enforcement of the court order. There were many parents and students who did not honor the court order to attend. You could not force them to.” Five other Herenton-run charter schools remain open.


Lipscomb Plans 2nd Legal Clinic

The Institute for Law, Justice and Society at Lipscomb University is planning its second free community legal clinic Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 324 of the Burton Health Sciences Building. An additional six volunteer attorneys are needed. Please email Randy Spivey, academic director of the institute, or call him at (615) 966-2503 for more information or to sign up to help.


Judge to Educate Parents about Teen Drug, Alcohol Use

Williamson County Juvenile Court Judge Sharon Guffee knows all too well how drug and alcohol use can impact young people; she sees it in her court every day. To equip parents to address abuse issues with their teens, Guffee is hosting a seminar on Sunday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Summit High School in Spring Hill, The Tennessean reports. The program is a partnership between the Juvenile Court, 21st Judicial Drug Task Force, Dr. James Wellborn and a local church. Parents can expect to hear about current trends in drug use, an overview of court related services and responses, and expert advice about parenting teens. Students who attend will gain information about the physical and legal dangers of drug and alcohol abuse as well as tips for talking to their parents.


Knoxville Attorney Announces Bid for U.S. Senate

Knoxville attorney and Navy veteran Terry Adams yesterday announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, Nooga.com reports. If successful, he will face the winner of the Republican primary, which pits incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander against state Rep. Joe Carr. Adams earned his law degree from the University of Memphis and is founder and managing attorney of Adams Law Firm and Admiral Title. He is backed by Bob Tuke – former chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party and the last Democrat to run against Alexander – who will serve as campaign treasurer.


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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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