Early Voting Sets Record for August Elections

Early voting wrapped up Saturday with more than 550,000 people casting ballots – the largest statewide turnout for an August election on record, according to state officials. Several counties in Middle Tennessee, including Davidson and Williamson counties, set early voting records. In Nashville, 30,875 people voted with 18,069 requesting Democratic ballots and 12,482 requesting Republican ballots. In Chattanooga, 21,404 people cast ballots during the early voting period with 15,473 requesting Republican ballots and 5,655 requesting Democratic ballots. Election officials said the total number greatly exceeded those in previous years.

In Shelby and Knox counties, however, turnout was lower than expected. Memphis saw more than 82,000 voters, or 15.3 percent of the voting public, cast ballots during the early voting period, but that was a 12 percent decrease from 2010. Of that group, 44,501 requested a Democratic ballot while 36,469 requested a Republican ballot. In Knox County, the turnout was lower than usual. A total of 36,486 voted early with 29,881 requesting Republican ballots and 6,299 requesting Democratic ballots. See vote totals from every county on the Secretary of State's website.

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
02 - 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 Supreme Court

DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court


TN Court of Appeals

IN RE GABRIEL V.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Luke A. Evans, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carvin Vaughn.

Janelle Simmons, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Alina Victoria Kendrick.

Judge: DINKINS

Father in this juvenile court custody dispute has filed a Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 10B petition for recusal appeal seeking an interlocutory appeal as of right from the trial court’s denial of his motion for recusal. Having reviewed the petition for recusal appeal de novo as required by Rule 10B, §2.06, we summarily affirm the trial court’s denial of the motion for recusal.


TIMOTHY W. HUDSON v. DELILAH M. GRUNLOH, et al.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Delilah M. Grunloh, Johnson City, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Timothy W. Hudson, Bristol, Tennessee, appellee, pro se.

Judge: MCCLARTY, SUSANO, FRIERSON

This appeal is from a Final Default Judgment entered against the Defendant, Northridge Package Store, LLC (“Northridge”). In the order granting judgment against Northridge, the trial court also accepted the voluntary dismissal without prejudice of all claims filed by the Plaintiff, Timothy W. Hudson (“Hudson”), against the Defendant, Delilah M. Grunloh (“Grunloh”). Because only Grunloh has appealed from the judgment and the judgment is not adverse to her, we grant Hudson’s motion to dismiss this case for lack of jurisdiction.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KWAKU ARYEL OKRAKU

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William E. Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kwaku Aryel Okraku.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Brian Holmgren, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Kwaku Aryel Okraku, was convicted of one count of aggravated child neglect where the neglect caused serious bodily injury to the child, a Class A felony, one count of aggravated child neglect where a controlled substance was used to accomplish the neglect, a Class A felony, and one count of reckless homicide, a Class D felony. He received a sentence of sixty years for each conviction of aggravated child neglect and a twelve-year sentence for reckless homicide, all to be served concurrently, for an effective sentence of sixty years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal because the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; the trial court erred in permitting the jury to hear testimony regarding a prior incident involving drugs; and the trial court erred in permitting testimony about the defendant’s statements about selling cocaine. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but remand the case for entry of a corrected judgment sheet that reflects the merger of the aggravated child neglect convictions, with aggravated child neglect through the use of a controlled substance remaining as the sole conviction for aggravated child neglect.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TONY DEMARCUS WILLIAMS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

A. Philip Lomonaco, 800 S. Gay Street, Suite 2610, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony Demarcus Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and Jennifer Welch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Tony Demarcus Williams, was indicted by the Knox County Grand Jury for possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine within a school zone with the intent to sell and possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine within a school zone with intent to deliver. A petit jury convicted Defendant as charged, and the trial court merged the two convictions. The trial court sentenced Defendant to 15 years in confinement. Defendant asserts on appeal that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the search warrant; that accomplice testimony was not sufficiently corroborated; and that the trial court erred by not allowing Defendant to make a proffer of evidence at the hearing on the motion for new trial regarding alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TRAVIS WILSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ashley Boyer, Jonesborough, Tennessee, for the appellant, Travis Wilson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and Benjamin Rowe and Emily Smith, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Sullivan County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Travis Wilson, of driving under the influence (DUI), second offense; unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of a handgun while under the influence. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the appellant to eleven months and twenty-nine days for each conviction, with release eligibility after service of seventy-five percent of the sentences. The trial court ordered that the appellant serve the DUI sentence in confinement and the remaining sentences on probation. The court further ordered that the sentences for possession of drug paraphernalia and DUI, second offense, be served concurrently with each other but consecutively to the remainder of the sentences. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by allowing two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agents to testify as experts about the effects of drugs on human performance; that the trial court erred by failing to exclude his blood test results; that the trial court erred by failing to require the State to refer to “bath salts” by their chemical name; that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; and that the trial court erred in sentencing. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Justices in Chattanooga, Knoxville as Election Day Approaches

Today at the Hamilton County Courthouse, Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justice Sharon Lee held a press conference to address “false, negative allegations made against them,” including setting the record straight that they have nothing to do with Obamacare. Tomorrow, the pair will be in Knoxville for a press conference at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Tennessee Supreme Court Building. The justices’ campaign said it would have special guests on hand who will endorse them.


Wade Skips GOP Event After Flap Within Group

Chief Justice Gary R. Wade withdrew as a speaker for today's meeting of the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club after a flap over whether the Republican club should have invited him in the first place, the Chattanoogan reports. Henry Hoss, club president, said the group decided to invite Wade several weeks ago but then heard from members that House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Hixson, had called "irate and very upset" that we were inviting a Democrat to speak to our club. Hoss said he eventually talked to McCormick, "who had calmed down some." The group then decided to invite state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Cleveland, to offer an alternative view but after learning of the change in plans, Wade decided to decline the invitation.


Campaign Against Justices 'Faces Tough Odds'

The campaign against three sitting Tennessee Supreme Court justices “has only gotten hotter as Election Day approaches,” but experts who have studied the data and politics of retention elections expect that “opponents will have a tough time unseating the three,” a story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press suggests. Research conducted by Larry Aspin of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, finds that as far back as the 1960s, judges in retention elections have a wide margin of success and opponents have to persuade 20 to 30 percent more voters to cast ballots against retention.


Special Meeting to Name Interim City Judge

The Cleveland City Council met today to consider an interim appointee and establish a process for those who are interested in applying for the post of city judge. Longtime City Judge Bill Moss died July 14. The new judge "should be selected by Aug. 25" and will be sworn in on Sept. 8, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Services Set for Knoxville Lawyer

Knoxville lawyer Robert Scoggin “Bob” Stone Jr. died July 30 at the age of 62. A 1977 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Stone’s career spanned 36 years in Knoxville. He most recently was serving as a partner with Elmore, Stone & Caffey PLLC. In addition to a passion for law, Stone enjoyed entertaining, music, UT sports, boating and golf. A Celebration of Life will be held Aug. 16 at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary of Cokesbury United Methodist Church, 9908 Kingston Pike, Knoxville 37922. The family will receive friends immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Susannah's House, c/o Cokesbury United Methodist Church, or the American Cancer Society. Read more in Knoxnews.


Shelby County Lawyer Suspended

Charlotte Prather Milton of Memphis was suspended from the practice of law on Aug. 1 for one year. The Supreme Court found that after being paid a retainer, Milton failed to perform work, failed to communicate with clients, failed to refund the fee she had been paid and failed to return documents to the clients. She also failed to respond to the complaint filed against her, failed to respond to the petition for discipline and failed to appear at the hearing. Download the BPR release.


Wilson County Lawyer Suspended

Lebanon attorney Adam Wilding Parrish was suspended from the practice of law on July 30 and placed on probation for one year by the Tennessee Supreme Court. The discipline was imposed after the court found that Parrish failed to file the appropriate documents to perfect an appeal and failed to verify an important fact before deciding not to file a divorce action. When the client inquired as to the status of the divorce, Parrish’ s staff led her to believe the suit was proceeding. In mitigation, Parrish obtained a divorce for the client after being informed the parties never reconciled. Download the BPR release.


Hamilton County Lawyer Reinstated

The Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated Bruce H. Guthrie II to the practice of law on July 30. He had been suspended on July 30, 2009, for 26 months retroactive to May 18, 2007. Guthrie filed a petition for reinstatement and a hearing panel found that he had complied with the terms and conditions of his suspension. Based on the hearing panel’s recommendation, the Supreme Court reinstated Guthrie’s license to practice law. Download the BPR release.


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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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