7 Apply for Court of Criminal Appeals Vacancy

The Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments will consider seven applicants when it meets June 10 at Legislative Plaza in Nashville to select nominees for the Court of Criminal Appeals vacancy. The vacancy was created by the appointment of Judge Jeffrey Bivins to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The candidates are: Leslie Anne Collum, assistant district attorney general, Rutherford County; Timothy Lee Easter, Circuit Court judge, Williamson County; Robert Lee Holloway Jr., Circuit Court judge, Maury County; Roger Eric Nell, district public defender, Montgomery County; Larry B. Stanley Jr., Circuit Court judge and chancellor, Warren County; Russell Fletcher Thomas, attorney, Davidson County; and Larry J. Wallace, Circuit Court judge, Stewart County. The meeting will include a public hearing at 8 a.m.

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
08 - 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 Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY ADINOLFI

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Wayne Culbertson, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Anthony Adinolfi.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Julie Canter, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant, Anthony Adinolfi, entered an Alford “best-interest” plea to two counts of solicitation to commit statutory rape, for which he received an effective sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve at 75%. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying his application for judicial diversion and alternative sentencing. Upon our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SUSAN M. BARNETT

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Andrea Sipes Lester and Chad M. Butler (on appeal), Gregory W. Winton and J. Daniel Rogers (at trial), Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Susan M. Barnett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; Stephanie Hale and Jerald Campbell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Gibson County jury found the Defendant, Susan M. Barnett, guilty of one count of aggravated assault, two counts of assault, and one count of unauthorized use of an automobile. The trial court ordered the Defendant to serve a six-year sentence for the aggravated assault conviction and concurrent sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days for the remaining convictions. On appeal, the Defendant claims that the evidence is insufficient to sustain her conviction for aggravated assault by seriously bodily injury because the victim did not suffer “seriously bodily injury.” After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STEPHAN LAJUAN BEASLEY, SR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Donna Robinson Miller, Nashville, Tennessee (at continued hearing and on appeal) and Daniel J. Ripper, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at initial hearing), for the appellant, Stephan LaJuan Beasley, Sr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Senior Counsel; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Lance Pope, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

The Petitioner, Stephan Lajuan Beasley, Sr., was convicted by a jury of first degree premeditated murder. On May 24, 2007, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for writ of error coram nobis arguing that new evidence exists. Following a hearing, the coram nobis court denied the petition, and the Petitioner timely appealed. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKEY ALVIS BELL, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James M. Gulley (at trial), Juni Samrat Ganguli (at trial and on appeal), and James Edward Thomas (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rickey Alvis Bell, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michelle Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr. and Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

A Lauderdale County jury convicted the defendant, Rickey Alvis Bell, Jr., of felony murder in the perpetration of a kidnapping, felony murder in the perpetration of a rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated sexual battery. Following the penalty phase, the jury sentenced the defendant to death on the two counts of felony murder. The trial court merged the two felony murder convictions and sentenced the defendant to twenty years each for the aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual battery convictions. The trial court ordered the defendant to serve the two twenty-year sentences concurrent to each other but consecutive to the death sentence, for an effective sentence of death plus twenty years. On appeal, the defendant asserts that: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to strike the State’s notice of its intent to seek the death penalty because he is intellectually disabled; (2) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; (3) the trial court erred in denying his two motions for a mistrial; (4) the trial court erred in refusing to allow the defense to question the victim’s husband regarding an extramarital affair; (5) the aggravating circumstance codified in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-204(i)(7) is unconstitutional; (6) the absence of an intent to kill renders the death penalty disproportionate; (7) proportionality review should be modified and the pool of cases considered in proportionality review should be broadened; and (8) the sentence of death is arbitrary and disproportionate. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


WILLIE HAMPTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James E. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willie Hampton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Jessica Banti, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Willie Hampton, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2010 conviction for theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000 and his Range III, fifteen-year sentence. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by denying him relief because he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEVIN HOLST

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; Harry E. Sayle, III (on appeal), and Lawrence R. White (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Kevin Holst

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree and Jose F. Leon, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennesse

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Kevin Holst, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-102 (2010). The trial courtsentenced him as Range III, persistent offender to twelve years’ confinement. On appeal, he contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and (2) the court erred by refusing to send the exhibits to the jury room during deliberations. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. 


ALGIE LAVELL McCLURE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Lloyd A. Levitt, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Algie Lavell McClure.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Brian Finlay and Boyd Patterson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Algie Lavell McClure, appeals from the Hamilton County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, wherein he challenged his jury convictions for first degree murder, reckless endangerment, and aggravated burglary. In this appeal as of right, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of trial counsel in the following ways: (1) by counsel’s “opening the door” during his cross-examination of Kenya Houston to prejudicial testimony of the Petitioner’s violent nature; (2) by counsel’s failing to obtain Latasha Hinton’s medical records showing her intoxication at the time of the shooting to impeach her identification of the Petitioner as the shooter; (3) by counsel’s failing to present all law enforcement officers and accompanying reports as evidence that Ms. Hinton initially identified two, unknown black males as the perpetrators; (4) by counsel’s failing to call an expert witness to challenge Ms. Hinton’s identification of the Petitioner and to discredit the jailhouse informants; (5) by counsel’s failing to adequately impeach several witnesses with the specifics of their prior criminal records; (6) by counsel’s failing to review the jail records to verify the location of the jailhouse informant, Kordell Butler, at the time the Petitioner allegedly confessed to him; (7) by counsel’s failing to interview the State’s witnesses; (8) by counsel’s failing to object to the State’s improper closing argument; and (9) “in the manner that was presented” at the post-conviction hearings as testified to by the various witnesses.1 Following our review, we affirm the denial of relief.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JERRY SHERRILL, II

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James T. Powell, Union City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Sherrill, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and James T. Cannon, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

An Obion County jury found the Defendant, Jerry Sherrill, II, guilty of theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eight years as a Range II, persistent offender. The Defendant appeals, asserting that: (1) the trial court improperly ruled that his prior theft convictions could be used for impeachment purposes should he testify at trial; (2) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; (3) the trial court improperly required the jury to continue deliberations; and (4) the trial court improperly instructed the jury concerning possession of recently stolen property. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


New Location for Swearing-In Ceremony

Tomorrow, June 3, new attorneys will be sworn into the practice of law at a ceremony in Nashville. TBA President Cindy Wyrick will be in attendance to sponsor and introduce new lawyers. Because of a scheduling conflict, the ceremony will take place at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) Polk Theater and not the War Memorial Auditorium as originally planned. The address for TPAC is 505 Deaderick St., Nashville 37219. The ceremony starts at 1:30 p.m. Prior to the event, new admittees and their families are invited to the TBA’s Open House from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville 37219.


Deadline Extended for Workers' Comp Board Vacancies

The Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments has extended the deadline for applications for three vacancies on the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to 4 p.m. CDT, June 4. Candidates ultimately chosen by the governor will fill one of three terms: two, four or six years. After the initial terms, each term will be six years and judges are limited to serving two terms. Learn more from the Administrative Office of the Courts. The commission will interview all qualified Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board applicants on June 10 in Nashville. The same day, the commission will also consider applicants for the Court of Criminal Appeals vacancy.


AG: Clerk and Master Applications Cannot be Sealed

Hamilton County Commissioner Jim Fields is mum on whether he is seeking to replace Clerk and Master Lee Akers. But the state's attorney general has helped to shed some light on the subject, the Times Free Press reports. Chancellors Frank Brown and Jeffery Atherton unsealed Fields' application and 16 others Friday, after they said Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr. told them he would have a hard time defending their decision to seal public documents. The judges responded to inquiries, saying, "Although our opinion concerning the operative law and analysis differs from that of the attorney general, because the attorney general would defend us in any lawsuit, we have agreed to follow his recommendation to make the applications public."


Reeves Lauded as 'Trailblazer' at Swearing-In Ceremony

Pamela L. Reeves was officially sworn in as the first female district judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee Friday. She was joined at the ceremony by fellow federal judges, Knoxville’s first female mayor Madeline Rogero and Gov. Bill Haslam, who delivered the keynote speech. Haslam pointed out the oddity of a Republican governor lauding an appointee of Democratic president but said, “I’m here because I love her story.” Noting that Reeves also was the first female president of the Tennessee Bar Association, current TBA President Cindy Wyrick said “Pam Reeves is a trailblazer” and “will be an outstanding judge who truly believes in equal justice for all.” Knoxnews has video comments from Reeves.


Supreme Court Won't Hear Murfreesboro Mosque Case

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal claiming that Rutherford County had not provided adequate public notice before approving construction plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM). This means “the lawsuit over adequate notice is now completely over, and Rutherford County has prevailed,” an ICM board member told the Tennessean this afternoon. Chancellor Robert Corlew III had ruled two years ago that the government failed to provide adequate public notice before plans to construct the mosque were approved. The Tennessee Court of Appeals overruled Corlew, and the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Attorneys representing those opposed to the center then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.


Court Won’t Hear Case on Confidential Sources

A reporter who has been ordered to divulge the identity of the source of classified information lost his bid today to get the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify whether journalists have a right to protect their confidential sources. Without comment, the justices rejected an appeal from New York Times reporter James Risen to revisit the court's 42-year-old ruling that has raised questions about journalists' ability to shield confidential sources. Risen detailed a botched CIA effort during the Clinton Administration to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. Federal prosecutors want to force him to testify about his sources in the trial of CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of disclosing government secrets. ABC News has the story.


Justices’ Campaign Reports $600,000 Raised

Keep Tennessee Courts Fair, a group supporting the retention of three incumbent Tennessee Supreme Court justices, says it has raised $600,000 and secured critical endorsements in a response that has “surpassed expectations.” Keep Tennessee Courts Fair is the coordinated campaign of Justices Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee and Chief Justice Gary Wade. Brenda Gadd, campaign manager for the effort, says, “the outpouring of support from Republican and Democrats who recognize the importance of supporting our Tennessee Constitution is just phenomenal. They know that we must not minimize our Constitution, and that keeping politics out of our courtroom is crucial.”


Opinion: Effort Targeting Justices is ‘Contemptible’

Michael Loftin, former editorial page editor of the Chattanooga Times, writes in the Times Free Press that efforts to paint three Tennessee Supreme Court justices standing for retention election as “soft on crime” requires “cherry-picking” court votes. Because of that, he says, “It is hard to say which is more contemptible: the slurring of the justices' reputations in an attempt to get three politically obedient appointees to the court, or the sacrifice of Tennessee's highest court on the altar of political expediency.” He concludes by urging Tennesseans to retain the three justices and thus “provide vital support for Tennessee's legal system and, equally important, an independent judiciary.”


June Issue Includes Don Paine's Final Column

The late Don Paine's final column, "The Tennessee Consumer Protection Act," is published in the June Tennessee Bar Journal. Also in the issue, Russell Fowler looks at how Memphis trial courts struggled to stay in business during the Civil War and how they fared during Reconstruction. And the members of the Law Launch Project have graduated and are studying for the bar. Look in on where they are, their job prospects, and their take on how law school went.


 
 

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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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