Ramsey Backs Judicial Selection Amendment

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on Friday repeated his support for a November ballot measure that would change the way Supreme Court and appeals court judges in the state are selected, the Kingsport Times News reports. Ramsey encouraged judges and others attending the Tennessee Judicial Conference to get behind the measure, which would give the governor the power to appoint the judges, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. "It's the best way of doing this," Ramsey, R-Blountville, said of the constitutional amendment, which will be put to voters this fall.

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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









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 Supreme Court

SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LEONARD GILES, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Benjamin C. Signer, for the Defendant-Appellant, Leonard Giles, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Mary Katherine White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Leonard Giles, Jr., appeals the Williamson County Circuit Court’s revocation of his probation. On appeal, Giles argues (1) the special condition of his probation prohibiting him from driving or possessing a vehicle is invalid; (2) the trial court erred in failing to consider the invalidity of this special condition during his revocation hearing; (3) the admission of witness statements at the revocation hearing violated his right of confrontation; and (4) the cumulative effect of the aforementioned errors deprived him of his right to a fair trial. Upon review, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DANNY OWENS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert D. Massey and Rebecca S. Parsons, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Danny Owens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and J. Douglas Dicus and Christi L. Thompson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Danny Owens, was indicted by a Lawrence County Grand Jury for the first degree premeditated murder of his wife. At trial, Owens was convicted of second degree murder. The trial court sentenced Owens as a Range I, standard offender to a sentence of twenty years at one hundred percent release eligibility. On appeal, Owens argues: (1) the trial court erred in admitting evidence that he had threatened to kill the victim shortly before her death; (2) the trial court erred in admitting statements from the victim; (3) the trial court erred in allowing the State to exceed the scope of redirect examination in its questioning of a witness; (4) the trial court erred in admitting witnesses’ observations of the victim’s bruises; (5) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; (6) he is entitled to relief based on cumulative error; and (7) the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing him. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Constitutionality of Legislation to Abate Gang-Related Conduct

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-03-21

Opinion Number: 35


NLRB Judge to Hear VW Case Appeal

An administrative law judge from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will hold a hearing April 27 in Chattanooga on the recent vote by Volkswagen employees not to have union representation at the plant. The narrowly decided vote is being appealed by the United Auto Workers, Chattanoogan.com reports. Officials said the time and location of the hearing have not yet been set.


Appeals Court: Felons Cannot Be Bondsmen

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled that felons cannot serve as bondsmen -- despite an opinion to the contrary by the Tennessee attorney general, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. In a ruling issued last week, the appeals court affirmed a judge's decision to strip Phillip Cole Hatmaker of approval to write bonds. Hatmaker had been convicted of felony possession of more than 10 pounds of marijuana, but later had his citizenship rights and voting privileges restored.


City Opposes Expedited Appeal for Vandy Rape Documents

Metro Nashville attorneys on Friday argued against a media coalition's request for a speedy hearing of its appeal to gain access to records in a high-profile Vanderbilt University rape case. The coalition argues that the newsworthiness of the case, the fact that two defendants are scheduled to go to trial Aug. 11 and the upcoming election of a new district attorney justify an expedited appeal. Metro attorneys countered that the significance of the legal issues at stake, the importance of thoroughly briefing the court, the failure of appellants to pursue the matter for two months, and the need to preserve criminal court authority over criminal matter outweigh those concerns. Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Russell Perkins had ruled last week that some records related to the case should be made available under the Public Records Act, but put a stay on the order, pending an anticipated appeal.


UT's LawMeets Team Advances to Nationals

The University of Tennessee College of Law’s Transactional LawMeets Team has won its regional competition at the University of Georgia and will advance to the national competition set for April 3-4 in New York City. This year’s team members are Brooke Baird, Elizabeth Clippard, Michael Crowder, Michael Crum, Ryan Franklin, Todd Skelton and Alexander Williams. LawMeets offers a moot court experience for students interested in transactional practice. This year’s case focused on indemnification in acquisition agreements.


DA Candidate Brown Arrested for Contempt

Shelby County District Attorney candidate Joe Brown was led away in handcuffs Monday from Juvenile Court – charged with contempt of court – following an outburst during a child support hearing, the Commercial Appeal reports. Brown, a former Shelby County Criminal Court judge and television personality was arrested after allegedly yelling at long-time Juvenile Court Magistrate Harold “Hal” Horne. Observers said Brown was questioning the court’s authority to lock up individuals for failing to pay child support. Horne initially held Brown in contempt and sentenced him to a day in jail, but as Brown continued to protest Horne added four additional counts for a total of five days in jail.


2 Candidates Formally Announce Campaigns

Two additional judicial candidates have now formally announced their election bids. Andrew Mark Freiberg is seeking the Republican nomination for Circuit Court Judge, Part 3 in the 10th Judicial District. Freiberg, who currently is in private practice, previously served six years as a prosecutor in the district, which covers Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties. On the other side of the state, Memphis City Judge Tarik Sugarmon has made his candidacy for Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court judge official. He will face Juvenile Court Chief Magistrate Dan Michael in a nonpartisan race for the position, now held by outgoing Judge Curtis Person. Read more about the candidates in the Cleveland Banner and the Memphis Daily News.


4 Running for New Sessions Court Judgeship

Three local attorneys and a sitting judge are running for a Washington County Sessions Court judgeship created last year by the county commission, the Johnson City Press reports. Three of the candidates will face off in the May Republican primary. They are Don Arnold, who was appointed to the post by the commission after the position was created last year, and challengers Russell Kloosterman and Will Monk. The fourth candidate is Stephanie Sherwood, who is running as an independent and will face the winner of the GOP primary in the August general election. Read more about each of the candidates in this profile by the paper.


KBA Hosts 3 Upcoming Judicial Forums

The Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) is hosting three forums over the next several weeks for lawyers to meet those running for judicial office. This Thursday, candidates for Criminal Court, Division III, and General Sessions Court, Division II, will attend an informal "meet and greet" from noon to 1 p.m. in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building. On April 3, the association will host a Judicial Candidates Reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the U.T. Conference Center. And, on April 17, those running for criminal court clerk will be available from noon to 1 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building. The events are part of the association’s “Get to Know Your Judicial Candidate” initiative, which also includes an online site with information about Knoxville courts and how judges are elected in the county, as well as biographical information of candidates.


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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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