Judiciary Museum Launches New Exhibits, Website

The Tennessee Judiciary Museum has launched several new exhibits and a website to celebrate its one-year anniversary. The exhibits detail several historic cases, divided by alcoves that show examples from all levels of Tennessee courts — trial courts, appellate courts and the Tennessee Supreme Court. The museum also launched its own website to provide information to prospective visitors about the museum and offer lesson plans and other information for educators. The museum is open Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is free.

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
05 - 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

KIM BROWN v. GOSSETT KIA-HYUNDAI SOUTH D/B/A GOSSETT KIA SOUTH AND GOSSETT HYUNDAI SOUTH

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kim Brown, Memphis, Tennessee, Appellant, Pro Se.

Edward M. Bearman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Gossett Kia-Hyundai South d/b/a Gosset Kia South and Gossett Hyundai South.

Judge: PER CURIAM

Appellant filed his Notice of Appeal of an order of the trial court which failed to adjudicate all claims. We dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

JERRY HALEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Scott A. Lovelace, Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Haley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Jerry Haley, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2009 convictions for aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated criminal trespass and his effective sixty-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DARRYL THOMAS HARMON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Nathan Moore, Mount Juliet, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darryl Thomas Harmon.

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

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Davidson County jury found the Defendant, Darryl Thomas Harmon, guilty of two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of attempted aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of eleven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude there exists no error in the judgments of the trial court. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.


BRANDON JOHNSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Todd Mosley (on appeal); and Mozella Ross (at hearing), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandon Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Brandon Johnson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2007 conviction for first degree murder, for which he is serving a life sentence. The Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


ARTURO RIVERA v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael R. Working, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Arturo Rivera.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Susannah Shea, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Arturo Rivera, appeals from the trial court’s dismissal of his petition for postconviction relief following an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner attacked his conviction for aggravated robbery. Petitioner had pled guilty to the charge and received a 7.2-year sentence as a mitigated offender pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement. On appeal, Petitioner asserts that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel which directly prevented Petitioner from entering a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary guilty plea. After a review of the entire record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BARRY SMITH, JULIAN KNEELAND, AND BARRON SMITH

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Paul Guibao (on appeal) and Samuel Lee Perkins (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Barry Smith.

Andre Bernard Mathis, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Barron Smith.

Marvin Earl Ballin (at trial and on appeal) and Richard S. Townley (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Julian Kneeland.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Theresa Smith McCusker and Jose Francisco Leon, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendants, Barry Smith, Barron Smith, and Julian Kneeland, were convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of eight counts of aggravated assault, Class C felonies; one count of reckless endangerment committed with a deadly weapon, a Class E felony; eight counts of reckless endangerment, Class A misdemeanors; and one count of aggravated criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-102, 39-13-103, 39-14-406 (2010). The trial court merged the eight counts of reckless endangerment with the eight counts of aggravated assault. Defendant Barry Smith was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to five years for each aggravated assault conviction, one year for the reckless endangerment committed with a deadly weapon conviction, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for each misdemeanor conviction. The court ordered two of the aggravated assault convictions to run consecutively and the remainder of the convictions to run concurrently, for an effective ten-year sentence. Defendant Barron Smith was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to seven years for each aggravated assault conviction, three years for the reckless endangerment committed with a deadly weapon conviction, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for each misdemeanor conviction. The court ordered two of the aggravated assault convictions to run consecutively and the remainder of the convictions to run concurrently, for an effective fourteen-year sentence. Defendant Julian Kneeland was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to four years for each aggravated assault conviction, one year for the reckless endangerment committed with a deadly weapon conviction, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for each misdemeanor conviction. The court ordered two of the aggravated assault convictions to run consecutively and the remainder of the convictions to run concurrently, for an effective eight-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendants contend that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support their convictions, (2) the trial court erred by allowing the jury to hear a 9-1-1 recording, and (3) the court erred in sentencing. We affirm the Defendants’ convictions except the aggravated assault convictions in Count 21, which we reverse and dismiss. We vacate the judgments for the remaining aggravated assault and reckless endangerment convictions and remand the case for entry of a single judgment for each aggravated assault conviction, noting merger of the reckless endangerment convictions.


State Makes Push to Set 10 Execution Dates

State officials have requested the Supreme Court to set execution dates for 10 death row inmates, the Tennessean reports. The state has executed six death row inmates since 1960 and none since 2009. Some, like attorney David Raybin, believe the push was caused in part by public backlash after mass murderer Paul Dennis Reid Jr. died of natural causes in a hospital. He had been on death row for over 15 years. Sharon Curtis-Flair, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, said “We filed all 10 motions at the same time because they were all ready to be set for execution, and TDOC was in a position to carry them out under a new protocol.”


Knoxville Man Accused of Threatening Judge

A Knoxville man charged with sending a threatening letter and white powder to a judge in Lafayette, Ind., pleaded not guilty during a Tuesday court appearance, Knoxnews reports. U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley set a trial date for Jan. 21 for Daniel J. Porter, who could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.


Law School Censured and Fined for LSAT Violations

Rutgers School of Law at Camden has been publicly censured and fined $25,000 by the ABA for violating an accrediting standard that requires law schools to use the LSAT to evaluate an applicant’s prospects of graduating, the ABA Journal reports. Rutgers-Camden operated an admissions program without first obtaining a required variance from the section that allowed some applicants to use a standardized graduate admissions test score such as the GRE, GMAT or MCAT instead of the LSAT to be admitted. The censure has raised questions about how often other qualification tests are chosen in lieu of the exam. The ABA declined to disclose how many schools have applied for a variance or how many have been approved, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports. That information is confidential, according to Barry Currier, the ABA’s managing director of accreditation and legal education.


Former Judge Returned to Hawkins County to Serve Remainder of Sentence

Former Hawkins County Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge James Franklin “Jay” Taylor was transferred from Davidson County to the Sullivan County jail to serve out the final stretch of his sentence for felony theft. Taylor has been incarcerated since May 2012, when he pleaded guilty to theft charges in Davidson and Hawkins counties, the Kingston Times-News reports.


Putnam County DA to Seek Circuit Court Judgeship

District Attorney General Randall A. York says he will not seek re-election, but will instead seek the 13th Judicial District Circuit Court Judgeship being vacated by retiring Judge John J. Maddux Jr. York, who has served as DA for five years, announced his plans at a Tuesday press conference at the Putnam County Justice Center, the Herald-Citizen reports.


Third Judicial District Candidates Pick up Papers

A number of candidates running for judicial posts in the Third Judicial District have picked up election papers. They include recently appointed Chancellor Doug Jenkins of Rogersville, Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wright of Greeneville, recently appointed Circuit Court Judge Mike Faulk of Kingsport, Hawkins County General Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross, Juvenile Court Judge Daniel Boyd and court clerk Sarah Davis. 


Madison County Republicans, Democrats Set Primaries

The Madison County Republican and Democratic parties have called for primary elections to be held in May for many local offices, the Jackson Sun reports. The Republican Party has called a local primary election to be held on May 6 for the following offices: county mayor, county commissioner for all seats, trustee, Circuit Court clerk, Juvenile Court clerk, county clerk, register, sheriff, and constable for all seats. The Republican judicial nominating committee for the 26th Judicial District — which serves Madison, Henderson and Chester counties — also has called a primary for Circuit Court judges in Divisions 1, 2 and 3. The Madison County Democratic Party has called a local primary election to be held on May 6 for county mayor, county commissioner for all seats, trustee, Circuit Court clerk, Juvenile Court clerk, county clerk, sheriff, register, constable for all seats, and General Sessions judges for Divisions 1 and 2, district attorney general, public defender, chancellor and Circuit Court judges for Divisions 1, 2 and 3.The qualifying deadline for all candidates to run in these primaries will be Feb. 20.


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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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