Haslam Won't Take Part in Campaign Against Justices

Gov. Bill Haslam said today he will not take part in efforts by Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey to unseat the three Supreme Court justices appointed by Democrats, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Haslam told reporters at a Lipscomb University event that he has a “good working relationship with all three” targeted justices. Haslam also said he has some concerns the campaign against the judges could hurt chances of passing the constitutional change on judicial selection that he is supporting.

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
00 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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 Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Chad Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven Deshawn Crawley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


In two indictments, the Defendant, Steven Deshawn Crawley, pled guilty to one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, and three counts of aggravated rape. The trial court sentenced him to serve an effective sentence of forty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it sentenced him because it misapplied enhancement factors, failed to apply applicable mitigating factors, and failed to follow the sentencing guidelines set forth in Tennessee Code annotated sections 40-35-102, -103, and -115. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable authorities, we conclude no error exists in the judgments of the trial court. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Jason F. Hicks, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Keith Whited.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Senior Counsel; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and John W. Galloway, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Keith Whited (“the Petitioner”) was convicted by a jury of second degree murder, driving under the influence, and driving on a revoked license. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an effective sentence of twenty-three years’ incarceration. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions. See State v. Keith A. Whited, No. M2010- 00134-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 4684468, at *8 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 19, 2010), perm. app. denied (Tenn. May 25, 2011). The Petitioner subsequently filed for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied following an evidentiary hearing. The Petitioner now appeals, arguing that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the postconviction court’s decision denying relief.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leroy Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and Leland Price, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Petitioner, Leroy Williams, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus regarding his conviction for being a habitual drug offender pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-6-417(d). The trial court sentenced petitioner as a Range II offender to a forty-five-year sentence to be served in confinement. Petitioner argues that the judgment of the trial court was void due to a defective presentment. He also claims that the trial court had no jurisdiction because it erroneously classified him as a habitual drug offender and because it erroneously applied a sentencing enhancement. Following our review, we affirm the habeas corpus court’s denial of the petition.

Report: Single-Drug Dose More Reliable for Lethal Injections

State and federal officials should simplify the drugs used to execute death-row inmates, giving them a single-drug dosage like those used to euthanize animals or help people commit suicide, a new report by bipartisan, legal think tank The Constitution Project recommends. The report comes amid renewed debate about capital punishment due to the botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate last week, the Wall Street Journal Legal Blog reports.

Fungal Meningitis Victims to Share $100M National Settlement

The compounding pharmacy responsible for a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012 that sickened 153 Tennesseans and killed 16 has finalized a plan to compensate families. The compounding center is putting in $50 million, its insurance company is adding $25 million and a tax refund and sale of an affiliated company make up the rest of the $100 million settlement. Nashville attorney Ben Gastel, who represents the collective plaintiffs, says families are lucky to get much at all since the Massachusetts pharmacy declared bankruptcy after the outbreak. His firm is still working on other lawsuits that target Saint Thomas Hospital, which housed the pain clinic responsible for a majority of the infections. Nashville Public Radio has the story.

Lawyers Recognized at LAET Pro Bono Event

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade on Tuesday praised Northeast Tennessee attorneys who have given free legal services to low-income and elderly residents, and victims of domestic violence, the Times News reports. Wade hailed attorneys' pro bono work during a "Dinner with the Tennessee Supreme Court" event to benefit Legal Aid of East Tennessee's (LAET) Pro Bono Project. LAET recognized Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz; Herndon, Coleman, Brading and McKee; Fowler and Fowler; Smith, Booksh and Farrell; and Hunter, Smith and Davis with Commitment Awards. Attorneys Tony Seaton, Suzanne Queen and Mike Forrester were recognized with Access to Justice Awards. Outstanding Service Awards went to Art Fowler III, James Janaitis, Randy Kennedy, Andrew Hutchinson, Lindsey Lane, Karen Boyd and Brandee Riddle. The Above and Beyond Award went to Aleania Smith.

Election Official Censured

Maury County’s Election Commission on Monday censured commissioner Lynn C. Nelson of Columbia for voting in the local Republican primary, the Columbia Daily Herald reports. The commission is also asking state officials to consider removing Nelson from office as the vice president of the Maury County Democratic Party. Nelson also served as a Tennessee delegate to the national Democratic Party Convention in 2012. Commissioner Jerry Colley, who voted against the motion to censure, said he believes Nelson did not know a state statute limits voting in a primary to a bona fide member of the sponsoring party or a voter who declares allegiance to that political party.

General Election Races Take Shape

Candidates from across Tennessee won places on the Aug. 7 general election ballot in primary elections Tuesday. Results are now available from county election commissions and news organizations, which also provided analysis of trends. The TBA provides a listing of these sources.

Convicted Conservator Disbarred

John E. Clemmons was disbarred on May 5, retroactive to April 2, 2013, the date on which he was temporarily suspended. Clemmons consented to disbarment because he could not successfully defend charges filed against him with the Board of Professional Responsibility alleging that he misappropriated money from several wards for whom he had been appointed conservator, and pled guilty to four counts of theft in amounts over $60,000.00, aggravated perjury and TennCare fraud. View the BPR notice.

Female Senators Push for Sanctions Against Nigerian Terror Group

Every female senator signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling for international sanctions against the terrorist group that abducted more than 200 girls in Nigeria last month, Roll Call reports. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Maryland. and Susan Collins, R-Maine, led the group of women pressuring the administration to implore the U.N. Security Council to add Islamic militant group Boko Haram to its al-Qaida sanctions list. The Senate passed a resolution by voice vote yesterday afternoon condemning the kidnapping.

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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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