Judge Wimberly Receives Adoption Honor

Knox County Circuit Court Judge Harold Wimberly Jr. received the Bill Williams Service Award for outstanding achievement in adoption services last week from the Department of Child Services (DCS). The award recognized his commitment, dedication and service to assisting the department in finding adoptive families for children in full guardianship of the state, the Knoxville Focus reports. Wimberly, a Knoxville native, has served on the bench for 39 years – first as a general sessions judge and then as a circuit court judge. DCS reports that he has overseen 584 adoptions, leading to 1,000 children being placed in homes.

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
06 - 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









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TN Court of Appeals

IN RE: RICHARD SANFORD WHITE LIVING TRUST

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Edward Thomas Autry, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marjorie Claire Taylor.

Robert A. Cox, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Edward C. Hayward, III and Paul Myers.

Judge: PER CURIAM

Pursuant to the mandates of Rule 13(b) of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, we reviewed the appellate record to determine if the Court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear this matter. After this review, it appeared to the Court that it does not have jurisdiction. Specifically, Appellant Marjorie Claire Taylor filed a Notice of Appeal of the trial court’s order of January 24, 2013, which transferred the entire probate court matter to the Federal District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division. The trial court’s order did not dismiss the probate court proceedings and there is no adjudication of the probate court matter.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

ROKISHA ALDERSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Chelsea Nicholson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rokisha Alderson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Jeff Preston Burks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Rokisha Alderson, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief from her 2008 convictions for two counts of felony murder and one count of attempted first degree murder and her effective sentence of life plus fifteen years. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by finding her petition was barred by the statute of limitations and by dismissing her petition. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DANIEL ADAM BARNES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William Bradley Lockert, III, District Public Defender; and Steve Stack, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Daniel Adam Barnes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Brooke Orgain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Daniel Adam Barnes, appeals from his Cheatham County Circuit Court bench conviction of Class A misdemeanor assault. On appeal, the defendant claims that his 11- month, 29-day sentence, all but 10 days of which was suspended, was erroneously imposed because he was not given the opportunity to be heard before the sentence was imposed. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES MICHAEL FLINN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James Michael Flinn (on appeal), Wartburg, Tennessee, Pro Se; and J. Thomas Marshall, Jr. (at trial), District Public Defender, for the Defendant, James Michael Flinn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; David S. Clark, District Attorney General; and Sandra N.C. Donaghy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, James Michael Flinn, was convicted by an Anderson County Criminal Court jury of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. See T.C.A. § 39-13-202 (2010). On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence from a warrantless search of his backyard and car, (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence from his warrantless detention, (4) he was denied the right to counsel at a pretrial hearing, (5) he was denied preliminary hearings after his arrests on two dates, (6) the trial court erred in revoking his bond, (7) he was denied his right to confront witnesses against him by the trial court’s admission of the victim’s death certificate, (8) he was denied his right to testify by the trial court’s exclusion of his testimony regarding the reason he made statements to a witness, (9) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of his purchase of a shotgun, (10) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of vandalism of the victim’s house and truck, (11) the trial court erred in receiving as exhibits the no true bills returned by the grand jury regarding a prior incident in which the victim hit the Defendant, (12) the assistant district attorney committed prosecutorial misconduct by commenting on the Defendant’s silence when he was detained by the police, (13) the assistant district attorney committed prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument by misstating the evidence, (14) the trial court erroneously instructed the jury regarding admissions against interest, and (15) the trial court violated the Defendant’s right to due process by entering judgment and sentencing him on the same day. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TERRELL B. JOHNSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

A. Philip Lomonaco, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terrell B. Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; and Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Jennifer H. Welch and Sean McDermott, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Terrell B. Johnson, was found guilty by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of possession with the intent to sell one-half gram or more of cocaine in a drug-free zone and possession with the intent to deliver one-half gram or more of cocaine in a drug-free zone, Class B felonies. See T.C.A. § 39-17-417(a)(4), (c)(1) (possession with the intent to sell Schedule II narcotics) (2010). The convictions were merged, and the Defendant, a Range I, standard offender, was sentenced to twelve years, with a minimum of eight years to be served. See id. § 39-17-432 (2010) (enhanced penalties for offenses committed in drug-free zones). The sentence was imposed consecutively to the Defendant’s sentences in other cases. On appeal, he contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the indictment due to lost and destroyed evidence pursuant to State v. Ferguson, 2 S.W.3d 912 (Tenn. 1999). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


CARL P.E. MUNSEY v. JOHN T. HOWERTON, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Carl P.E. Munsey, Wartburg, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; and John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Carl P.E. Munsey, challenges his sentences for three 1978 convictions for armed robbery. The petitioner’s claim is primarily based on an assertion that the sentencing provisions of the statute he was sentenced under had been repealed by the legislature and his sentences are therefore illegal. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition without a hearing. We conclude that the sentences are not illegal, and we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GEORGE JOSEPH RAUDENBUSH, III

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard Hughes (on appeal), District Public Defender; and George Joseph Raudenbush, III (at trial), Pro Se, for the appellant, George Joseph Raudenbush, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and James H. Stutts, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, George Joseph Raudenbush, III, was found guilty by a Monroe County Criminal Court jury of evading arrest with risk of death, a Class D felony; evading arrest, a Class A misdmeanor; two counts of assault, Class A misdemeanors; reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor; driving on a suspended license, a Class B misdemeanor; violation of the financial responsibility law, a Class C misdemeanor; and speeding, a Class C misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-16-603 (2010) (evading arrest), 39-13-101 (2010) (assault), 39-13-103 (2010) (amended 2012, 2013) (reckless endangerment), 55-50-504 (2012) (driving on a suspended license), 55-12-139 (2012) (amended 2013) (violation of the financial responsibility law), 55-8-152 (2012) (speeding). The trial court merged the evading arrest convictions. The Defendant was sentenced to serve four years as a Range I, standard offender for evading arrest. For the misdemeanor convictions, he was sentenced to serve eleven months, twenty-nine days for the reckless endangerment and the two assault convictions, six months for the driving on a suspended license conviction, and thirty days for the speeding conviction. Pursuant to statute, he was not sentenced for violating the financial responsibility law. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences. On appeal, he contends that the trial court denied him his Sixth Amendment right to counsel by determining he waived the right and by requiring him to proceed pro se at the trial, during sentencing, and on appeal. We reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand for a new trial.


Waller Adds 22 Associates Since Summer

Waller announced today that it has hired 22 new associates since the summer for its offices in Nashville, Birmingham and Austin. Among the group are six that graduated in 2013 and now are officially licensed to practice law. Commenting on the hires, Waller Chairman John Tishler said, “We’re extremely proud of the new associates who have joined the firm” and that the most recent graduates “are among the best and brightest of the class of 2013.”


Disbarred Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

Campbell County lawyer Johnny V. Dunaway pleaded guilty Monday to hiding more than $1 million in income from the IRS from 2006 to 2009. He now faces an April 23 sentencing hearing. The charges carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison, Knoxnews reports, but observers say Dunaway likely faces far less time under sentencing guidelines because he has no criminal history and his plea agreement caps the amount of loss to the IRS to $400,000. Dunaway, who lost his law license in October, is free pending sentencing.


Federal Prosecutor Dan Newsom Retires

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Newsom retired at the end of November after serving as a federal prosecutor in Memphis since 1983. After completing seven years with the Shelby County District Attorney’s office, Newsome joined the U.S. Attorney’s office and quickly became a pioneer in the prosecution of sex-based crimes, becoming the first to bring a national pornography case based on obscenity laws. He later earned a reputation as an expert in arson, fraud and computer crimes cases. At a recent retirement party, U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton said of Newsome, “There is no other prosecutor I aspire to be more like” and U.S. District Judge John Fowlkes called Newsom “the best of the best.” The Commercial Appeal has more on his life and career.


Baumgartner Completes Home Detention

Former Knox County Criminal Judge Richard Baumgartner has officially completed his federal sentence after serving six months in prison and two weeks on home detention, reports WBIR. According to Baumgartner’s attorney Don Bosch, however, the former judge will remain under federal supervision for one year.


Shelby County Attorney Takes Chamber Job

Shelby County Attorney Kelly Rayne is leaving her post to join the Greater Memphis Chamber, the Memphis Business Journal reports. Rayne will join the chamber on Jan. 13 as vice president of public policy. She previously served as legislative adviser and special counsel to Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout from 1996 to 2002, and in the same capacity to Mayor A C Wharton Jr. from 2002 to 2006. Rayne also served as interim economic development director and as public policy adviser to the mayor. She began her career in the public defender’s office in 1994. Two years later she joined the county attorney’s office. In 2010, she was named the county’s top lawyer.


ADA Calls for 2nd Criminal Court Judge

Rogersville Assistant District Attorney Alex Pearson told the Times-News that he believes the Third Judicial District needs more than one criminal court judge to address an increasing caseload. Pearson, who is a candidate for the circuit court judge seat currently held by Judge John Wilson, said one of his campaign platforms will be to utilize one of the district's circuit courts to handle both civil and criminal cases. The district, which encompasses Hawkins, Hamblen, Greene and Hancock counties, currently has four circuit judges, three of whom focus solely on civil cases and one who serves as a full-time criminal court judge.


Prosecutor Announces Bid for Public Defender

Assistant District Attorney General Steve Smith has announced his intention to run in the Republican primary for Hamilton County public defender. Smith says his experience working with the criminally accused, victims, witnesses and law enforcement has impressed on him the need for a properly functioning criminal justice system. He also says a renewed commitment to the constitutional guarantees of a speedy and fair trial and the assistance of counsel are needed. Chattanoogan.com has more on his candidacy and background.


Services Saturday for Memphis Lawyer

Memphis lawyer Charles Jeffrey “C.J.” Barnett died Nov. 21. He was 62. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Evangel Church, 262 N. Perkins Rd., Memphis 38117. Barnett earned his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1975. He operated a general civil practice focusing on insurance, tort and personal injury law, and provided alternative dispute resolution services to clients. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to New Hope Christian Academy, 3000 University St., Memphis, TN 38127. The Commercial Appeal reported the news.


MBA Annual Meeting Set for This Week

The Memphis Bar Association will hold its annual meeting Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn, 3700 Central Ave. Members will toast the achievements of outgoing President Linda Warren Seely and welcome Kirk Caraway as the 2014 president. The group also will present two awards. Jim Garts will receive the Judge Jerome Turner Lawyer’s Lawyer Award and Stacie Winkler will receive the Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award. Tickets are $40 per person. To reserve a seat, please contact Charlotte Gean at (901) 527-3574.


Meet Santa, Help CASA

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Ninth Judicial District is offering two opportunities for the public to have a photo of a child or pet with Santa Claus in Harriman while learning how to help abused children, Roane County News reports. The agency reports that Santa will be in front of the former Roane Medical Center from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 before the city’s Christmas parade and again from 10 a.m. to noon on Dec. 14 at Earl Duff Subaru. The outreach provides an opportunity to educate local families about CASA's work in the community.


Davidson Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

Davidson County lawyer Hal Wilkes Wilkins was temporarily suspended on Dec. 2 after the Tennessee Supreme Court found that he failed to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. The suspension remains in effect until dissolution or modification by the court.  Read the BPR notice


Murfreesboro Lawyer Reinstated Subject to Conditions

The state Supreme Court reinstated the law license of Murfreesboro lawyer Brandon Michael Booten on Nov. 27. Booten had been suspended Nov. 1 for failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility regarding a complaint of misconduct. After responding, Booten petitioned the court to remove the suspension. A hearing panel recommended that the suspension be set aside so long as Booten complies with Supreme Court Rule 9, Section 19; continues consultation with, and adheres to any recommendations from, the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program; and provides disciplinary counsel with a copy of any and all assessments and/or monitoring agreements. Read the BPR notice


Blount County Lawyer Takes Disability Inactive Status

The Tennessee Supreme Court transferred the law license of Blount County lawyer Keith Lane Edmiston to disability inactive status on Dec. 2, pursuant to Section 21 of Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9. Edmiston may not practice law while on inactive status. He may return to the practice of law after showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law. Read 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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