New Alimony Bench Book Available

The 12th Edition Alimony Bench Book has just been released by the TBA Family Law Section. Produced by the members of the section’s Alimony Committee, the book is available for purchase in a loose-leaf format for $40 or a three-ring binder for $50. To order the book, visit the TBA’s online bookstore or contact TBA at (615) 383-7421. Members of the Family Law Section can download the new edition at no charge by logging in to TBA.org and going to the Resources link on the Family Law Section's webpage. The goal of the publication is to assist judges in the consistent awarding of alimony across the state and help lawyers present their cases in court.

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
02 - 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

KATHRYNE B. F. v. MICHAEL B.
With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Mitzi C. Johnson, Collierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kathryne B. F.

David F. Kustoff, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael B.

Judge: STAFFORD

In this post-divorce case, Mother/Appellant appeals the trial court’s grant of Father/Appellee’s motion for involuntary dismissal of her petition to be named the primary residential parent of the parties’ child. Implicitly finding that there has not been a material change in circumstances since the entry of the last custodial order, the trial court granted Father’s Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 41.02(2) motion to dismiss Mother’s petition. The trial court also denied Father’s request for attorney’s fees under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-5-103(c). Because the trial court’s order does not comply with Rule 41.02(2) in that it neither finds the facts specially upon which the court based its determination that there has been no material change in circumstances, nor indicates the court’s reason(s) for denial of Father’s request for attorney’s fees, we are unable to conduct a meaningful review. Vacated and remanded.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

CHARLES DAMIEN DARDEN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Damien Darden.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and B. Dent Morriss, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Charles Damien Darden, appeals the Robertson County Circuit Court’s denial of his “Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Alternative Petition for Post-Conviction Relief in Alternative Petition[] for Writ of Error Coram Nobis” requesting relief from his 1996 conviction for felony murder and his resulting life sentence. The Petitioner contends that his life sentence violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution as discussed in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. —, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ZACHARY ROSS HENDRIXSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Sean G. Williams, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Zachary Ross Hendrixson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Allyson S. Abbott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Zachary Ross Hendrixson, pled guilty to theft of property valued over $10,000, and the trial court sentenced him, as a Range II offender, to serve a six-year sentence consecutive to a ten-year sentence he was required to serve in Dekalb County. The trial court suspended the Defendant’s sentence, ordering that the Defendant serve six years on probation after his release from Dekalb County. The trial court held a hearing on restitution, after which it ordered the Defendant to pay $60,000, at a rate of $833.33 per month after he was released from prison. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion when it set the amount of his restitution because the amount is not reasonable. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that no error exists. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES LOUIS RHODES, II
With dissenting opinion.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William J. Eledge, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Louis Rhodes, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophie S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Christi Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant was convicted of assault and child neglect, both Class A misdemeanors. He was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days. On appeal, the defendant argues that his sentences are excessive and that the trial court erred by denying his request for judicial diversion. After carefully reviewing the record de novo to determine if the trial court’s sentencing decisions can be upheld, we conclude that no reversible error was committed. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed.


ANTHONY WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jason Chaffin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Smith, Deputy Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Anthony Williams, of first degree premeditated murder, aggravated assault, and felony reckless endangerment. The trial court ordered a total effective sentence of life imprisonment plus six years. The Petitioner appealed, and this Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court. State v. Anthony Williams, No. M2007-01385-CCA-R3-CD, 2009 WL 564231 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Mar. 5, 2009) perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 17, 2009). The Petitioner filed a petition for postconviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred when it dismissed his petition because he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HANK WISE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; Jeffrey A. DeVasher (on appeal), Laura C. Dykes (at trial), and James P. McNamara (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Hank Wise.

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

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Hank Wise, was indicted on one count of premeditated first degree murder for the death of the victim, Benjamin Goeser. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-202. Following a bench trial, the Defendant was convicted of the lesser-included offense of second degree murder. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-210. The trial court subsequently sentenced the Defendant to twenty-three years for the offense. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred by failing to find him not guilty by reason of insanity; and (2) that the trial court erred by imposing an excessive sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Constitutionality of Electrocution If Lethal Injection Unavailable

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-03-12

Opinion Number: 29


Application of Weight Limits To Farm Trucks Traveling On State Highway System

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-03-12

Opinion Number: 30


Senate Delays Vote on AG Election Bill

A proposal that would result in a constitutional amendment for the popular election of the Attorney General was delayed again today. The sponsor of SJR123, Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, rolled it to next Thursday's Senate floor calendar. The resolution failed to gain support in the Senate last month when it fell two votes short of a majority. Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, and Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, were considering putting their support behind the measure. Currently, the AG is appointed to an eight-year term by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The TBA supports the current selection process, and urges members to express their support through TBAImpact, the TBA's legislative advocacy tool.


Court to Review Whistleblowing and Contiguous State Cases

The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to hear two cases regarding a charge of whistleblower retaliation and the contiguous state requirements for a testifying expert witness. The Raybin Perky Hot List has a summary and forecast of each case.


New Advocacy Group Tackles Women’s and Children’s Issues

Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Sara Beth Myers recently founded Advocates for Women’s and Kids’ Equality (AWAKE), which works to foster public policy to “improve the wellness, safety, opportunity and equality for women and children in Tennessee.” Since its inception in November, the group has worked to build a base in Nashville and establish itself within the state. Myers and her team have worked on mandatory sentencing laws for domestic violence offenders, but in an interview with the Nashville Scene, she said she does not want AWAKE to be pigeonholed as strictly a domestic violence organization, and plans to work on other issues such as improving state children’s services and pay equity.


Lawmakers to Consider Allowing Victims’ Photos Shown in Murder Trials

The face of missing nursing student Holly Bobo might not be shown in the courtroom during the potential murder trial of Zachary Adams due to a prior Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that said photographs of murder victims, "have the potential to undermine and place in jeopardy the outcome of the entire judicial proceedings.” The state legislature next week is set to consider a bill that would allow victim’s photos to be shown in murder trials, WMCTV reports.


General Sessions Judge to Run for Full Term

Don Arnold announced Wednesday that he will run for a full term as General Sessions Court Judge, Part III, for Washington County. Arnold has held the position since Jan. 3, 2013, when he was appointed to serve by the Washington County Commission until the next election. Arnold has been instrumental in the formation of the new Drug Court and serves as presiding Judge. WJHL News Channel 11 has more.


Union Endorsement Split in Nashville Senate Race

The Nashville Building and Construction Trades Council yesterday endorsed Jeff Yarbro for District 21 in one of the most highly anticipated state Senate races, Nashville Public Radio reports. The union represents 17 trade councils including roofers, carpenters and cement masons. Last month, Yarbro’s opponent Mary Mancini received the backing of the Service Employees International Union. Observers say progressive activist Mancini and attorney Yarbro have both been working hard to court the union vote in the district, which includes West End, Sylvan Park and 12 South.


Roane County Law Student Contributes to Supreme Court Brief

Roane County resident Lakesia Morrison was asked to contribute to Plumhoff v. Richard after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Morrison is a law clerk at the Arkansas Municipal League and a University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law student. Municipal League Attorney Michael Mosley said her help in the case has been instrumental in crafting arguments and helping him prepare for oral argument, Knoxnews reports.


Davidson County Lawyer Placed on Disability Inactive Status

The law license of Penny Jo Mills was transferred to disability inactive status on March 12. Mills may return to the practice of law after reinstatement by the Tennessee Supreme Court upon showing clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and she is fit to resume practice. Download the BPR notice.


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Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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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