8 of 10 Nashville Bar Members Support Justices' Retention

The Nashville Bar Association today released the results of a member poll for the Aug. 7 General Election. NBA members were asked to comment on contested candidates as well as Supreme Court justices and other appellate judges standing for retention election. The poll found that 8 of 10 lawyers recommend retaining Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justices Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee. “The goal of doing the poll is to provide the media and the public with information. The purpose is twofold: (1) to encourage the selection of qualified judges and public officials in the judicial system and (2) to have attorneys who are likely to know these candidates, both personally and professionally, provide an opinion on their qualifications,” said Gigi Woodruff, executive director of the association.

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANGELA M. GREENE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Richard Hughes, District Public Defender; and Kevin Miller, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Angela M. Greene.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Paul Rush, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Angela M. Greene, was convicted by a McMinn County Circuit Court jury of first degree felony murder in the perpetration of theft, a Class A felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; and theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-202(a)(2) (2010) (first degree murder), 39- 13-102 (Supp. 2009) (amended 2010, 2011, 2013) (aggravated assault), 39-14-103 (2010) (theft of property); 39-14-105(3) (2010) (amended 2012) (grading of theft). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to life as a violent offender for the first degree murder conviction, six years as a Range I, standard offender for aggravated assault, and four years as a Range I, standard offender for theft. The aggravated assault and theft sentences were imposed consecutively to each other but concurrently with the life sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions and (2) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the victim’s hearsay statements. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES JONES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Danielle N. Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Jessica Banti and Bryce Phillips, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, James Jones, was charged by indictment with the offense of aggravated robbery. A jury found him guilty of the lesser included offense of facilitation of aggravated robbery, a Class C felony. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court denied Defendant’s request to be placed on judicial diversion. Instead, the trial court sentenced Defendant to serve four years of incarceration. Defendant raises one issue on appeal. He argues that the trial court should have ordered judicial diversion. After a thorough review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


CHARLES MCHANEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Charles McHaney, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

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

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Charles McHaney, filed a petition in the Davidson County Criminal Court, seeking post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition as untimely. On appeal, the petitioner challenges the dismissal. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Justices Launch Television Ad Across the State

Upholding a fair and impartial court based on a solemn oath sworn by each of three Supreme Court justices is the centerpiece of a television ad that begins airing across the state today, the Chattanoogan reports. The ad, “Oath,” shows Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justices Connie Clark and Sharon Lee taking the oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee. The ad also states that the justices have protected individual rights and the right to bear arms and have upheld nearly 90 percent of the death sentences that have come before them during their time on the court. Watch it here.


Group Opens Campaign to Defeat Amendment 2

A group of citizens and lawmakers opposing retention elections for the state Supreme Court justices kicked off a campaign to defeat Amendment 2, which will appear on the November ballot, the Tennessean reports. The group, which launched the effort Tuesday at the War Memorial Plaza in Nashville, argues the amendment violates a constitutional requirement that all judges in the state be elected. According to the paper, the group is led by John Emison. Others who spoke included state Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, and Kevin Thompson, a lawyer from Franklin.


Justices Visit Morristown, Jackson to Address Critics

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary R. Wade and Justices Cornelia R. “Connie” Clark and Sharon G. Lee were in Morristown Monday and Jackson Thursday to meet with supporters and explain their concerns about efforts from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and others from outside the state to impact their retention election. Clark said some people in the state and out of the state are running a campaign against the three, “not on the basis of opinions, but on the basis of partisan politics.” Lee agreed, adding, “We don’t think partisan politics has any place in the courtroom.” The Johnson City Press reports that the justices have been speaking across the state about their jobs and the need to preserve the integrity of the judicial branch.


GOP Forum Draws Candidates in Contested House Races

Three Tennessee House Republican candidates attended a forum Tuesday night in Murfreesboro, the Daily News Journal reports. State Rep. Mike Sparks, Eddie Smotherman and Dr. Bryan Terry expressed agreement on many conservative issues including limits on abortions, gun rights, repeal of the Hall income tax and ending the Common Core education standards. Not in attendance were state Rep. Dawn White, who is competing against Smotherman in the 37th District; state Rep. Rick Womick, who faces no competition; Rick Peppers and Rutherford County Commissioner Adam Coggin, who are running against Terry in the 48th District; and Rutherford County Commissioner Robert Stevens, who is running against Sparks in the 49th District.


Knoxville Bar Encourages Citizens to Vote

In a 12-minute video released this week, Knoxville Bar Association President Wade Davies encourages citizens to vote in the Aug. 7 retention elections. To help voters make  informed decisions, the KBA created “Get to Know Your Judicial Candidates,” a section of the KBA website with non-partisan, objective information about the elections and the qualifications of the candidates.


Board Dismisses Ethics Complaint Against Justices

The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct has dismissed complaints charging three Supreme Court justices with violations of ethical rules, Knoxnews reports. Conservative activist blogger George Scoville of Nashville filed complaints against Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justices Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee last month contending they violated a provision of the Code of Judicial Conduct that prohibits judges from endorsing candidates for elective office. Scoville claimed the justices were endorsing one another inappropriately by campaigning together, raising campaign funds together and appearing jointly around the state.


Grand Jury Questions Legality of Judicial Elections

The Davidson County Grand Jury noted in its final report issued last week that it was concerned about whether the Aug. 7 appellate court retention election is valid based on findings that the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) was not properly seated. The group's term expired before members could make a full inquiry, but they recommended that the new grand jury, which was empanelled Monday, review the legality of JPEC's recommendations and the upcoming judicial elections. The Tennessean has more


Judge Strikes Down Colorado Gay Marriage Ban

Colorado Judge C. Scott Crabtree yesterday struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage citing constitutional grounds, WCYB reports. Crabtree also ruled that same-sex marriages performed outside the state should be recognized and that offering "civil unions" instead of marriage "is further evidence of discrimination against same-sex couples." Crabtree, however, prevented gay and lesbian couples from immediately marrying by staying his decision, saying it will take time for the issue to be resolved.


CASA to Host Juvenile Court Judicial Forum July 14

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Tennessee Heartland, which serves Blount County, will host a forum for juvenile court candidates Kenlyn Foster and Susan Rushing at 6 p.m. Monday at the Blount County campus of Pellissippi State Community College. Each candidate will have an opportunity to address the group and answer questions from the audience. The public is invited and no RSVP is necessary. The Daily Times has more.


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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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