Justices, Ramsey Respond to Retention Vote

In a major defeat for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Tennesseans yesterday voted to keep Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade and justices Connie Clark and Sharon Lee in the retention elections. “What the numbers tell me is that the citizens of Tennessee have heard our story and have agreed with us that justice cannot be for sale in Tennessee and that partisan politics doesn’t have any place in the courtroom,” Clark said in Nashville. Lee agreed, stating, “I think this win is really not about us; it's about our system of justice in Tennessee. The people of Tennessee of have spoken loud and clear. ... They don’t want anybody coming into Tennessee and trying to buy our system of justice.” Ramsey issued a statement congratulating the three, saying the race raised awareness about the Supreme Court. "For the first time in decades, we had a real election for the Supreme Court. Our Supreme Court justices traveled the state of Tennessee this summer meeting Tennesseans and learning things about our state that you can't find in any law book," his statement said. The Commercial Appeal has more.

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

JAMES D. CLAY v. AT&T MOBILITY SERVICES, LLC

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys:

Charles E. Pierce, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, AT&T Mobility Services, LLC.

Bill Easterly and Craig P. Glenn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, James D. Clay.

Judge: HARRIS

In this case, an employee sought reconsideration of his workers’ compensation settlement after being terminated by his employer. The employer contended that the termination was for misconduct, and the employee was, therefore, not eligible for reconsideration in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6- 241(d)(1)(B)(iii)(b)(2008). The trial court found that the employee was not terminated for misconduct, was eligible for reconsideration, and awarded additional permanent partial disability benefits. The employer has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s finding of the employee’s eligibility for reconsideration. In the alternative, it argues that the award of additional benefits was excessive and that the trial court failed to make specific findings of fact to support the award, as required by section 50-6-241(d)(2)(B)(2008). The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment.


TN Court of Appeals

ERIC HOLMES v. SHELBY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Martin W. Zummach, Germantown, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Shelby County Government.

John A. Irvine, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Eric Holmes.

Judge: PARISH

The order appealed is not a final judgment and therefore, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEYONNA NICOLE WOOTEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William J. Harold, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Keyonna Nicole Wooten.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; and Ann L. Filer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Keyonna Nicole Wooten, pled guilty in the Lincoln County Circuit Court to one count of selling one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance and one count of delivering one-half gram or more of a Schedule II controlled substance. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the latter conviction into the former and sentenced the appellant as a Range I, standard offender to nine years, six months in confinement. On appeal, the appellant contends that her sentence is excessive and that the trial court erred by denying her request for alternative sentencing. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. DARRYL ALAN WALKER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jonathan Sevier Cave, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darryl Alan Walker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Cecil Mills, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Darryl Alan Walker (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and unlawfully carrying another person on a motorcycle. Following a sentencing hearing, the Defendant received a total effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, suspended to supervised probation after the service of sixty days. In this direct appeal, the Defendant asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the results of a warrantless mandatory blood alcohol test, arguing that the mandatory blood withdrawal provision of the implied consent statute is unconstitutional and that the term “injury” within that provision is unconstitutionally vague. The Defendant also asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress certain statements he made to police. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Incumbent Judges, DAs, PDs Defeated by Challengers

Thursday was a day for incumbent wins overall, but there were exceptions, with several Republicans upsetting Democrats across the state. In District 6, incumbent Chancellor Daryl Fansler was beaten by Republican Clarence Pridemore Jr., and Circuit Court Judge Harold Wimberly Jr. was bested by Republican William "Bill" Ailor. Read more in Knoxnews. In District 8, Elizabeth Asbury defeated incumbent Chancellor Andy Tillman, who was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam in April 2013.  In the same district, incumbent District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones was defeated by Jared Effler. Both are independents, but made the news in the spring when Phillips-Jones fired Effler, a 14-year prosecutor in the district. Two other district attorneys general were defeated: Mickey Layne, a Democrat, lost to Republican Craig Northcott in Coffee County, the Manchester Times reports, and Democrat Hansel J. McCadams fell to Republican Matt Stowe in Madison County. In District 10 Criminal Court, Republican Sandra N. C. Donaghy defeated Democrat incumbent Amy Armstrong Reedy, Chattanoogan.com reports. In Distrtict 26, the Jackson Sun reports that incumbent Circuit Court Judge Nathan B. Pride lost to Republican Kyle Atkins.

Two incumbent public defenders lost their jobs in this election. In District 11, Democrat Ardena Garth lost to Steven E. Smith, a Republican. Democrat David N. Brady lost to Republican Craig P. Fickling in District 13.  Also, Smyrna Town Judge Keta Barnes was defeated by challenger Lynn England Alexander. The Secretary of State’s Office has more results.


Election Results by Judicial District Now Available

The TBA's roundup of election results and news coverage on races in each judicial district is now updated. For a number of counties, the roundup also includes details about elections for juvenile court and general sessions judges. Additional results and links to news stories will continue to be added as information becomes available.


Michael, Kyle and Weirich Win in Memphis Races

Three races in Memphis caught the state’s attention in Thursday’s elections. Shelby County Juvenile Court Special Judge Dan Michael was elected to the court’s top job with 54 percent of the vote, besting challenger Tarik Sugarmon in the race to become Juvenile Court judge. Michael will replace outgoing Judge Curtis Person, who is retiring. Sugarmon currently serves as Memphis City Court administrative judge. Senate Democratic leader Jim Kyle claimed the open seat in Chancery Court Part II, besting three opponents to replace Chancellor Arnold B. Goldin, whose seat opened up when he was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Kyle has said that he would resign from the legislature if he won. A special election will be held this year to fill Kyle’s seat for the remaining two years of his four-year term. The Commercial Appeal has these stories. In the race for district attorney general, incumbent Amy Weirich garnered 65 percent of the vote over Joe Brown to retain the job she has held since January 2011 when Gov. Bill Haslam appointed her as the county’s first female district attorney. Weirich credited widespread support from all parts of town and from both parties. 


Lawyers Defeat Incumbents in Key Races Across the State

Attorneys fared fairly well in General Assembly races across the state yesterday, with big wins in Memphis and Nashville.

In Memphis, attorney, law professor and Memphis City Councilman Lee Harris defeated Sen. Ophelia Ford in Senate District 29.  Also in Memphis, attorney Rep. Raumesh Akbari won the Democratic primary for District 91. Akbari won a special election last fall to fill the seat vacated when 40-year political veteran state Rep. Lois DeBerry died.

 In Nashville, attorney John Ray Clemmons defeated long-time state Rep. Gary Odom in House District 55. He has no Republican general election opponent. Jeff Yarbro, an attorney with Bass, Berry & Sims, won the Democratic primary race for the seat vacated by retiring senior legislator Douglas Henry in Senate District 21. Yarbro will face Republican candidate Diana Cueller in November.

Elsewhere in west Tennessee, principal and coach David Byrd defeated attorney Rep. Vance Dennis in House District 71. Attorney Leigh Rosser WIlburn won the Republican primary in House District 94. The seat was vacated by Rep. Barrett Rich, who acted as her campaign treasurer.

In Knoxville,  Sen. Stacey Campfield lost to Knox County Commissioner Richard Briggs (not an attorney), who took 67 percent of the vote. Attorney Martin Daniel edged out incumbent Rep. Steve Hall to be the Republican nominee for House District 18. 


Alexander, Cohen, DesJarlais Lead Contested Republican Congressional Races

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander won the Republican bid over Tea Party challenger Rep. Joe Carr and five other Republicans in last night’s primary race for U.S Senate. Alexander will face Democrat Gordon Ball in the Nov. 4 general election. In the highly contested District 3 race, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann garnered 50.8 percent of the vote against venture capitalist Weston Wamp. Mary Headrick won the Democrat bid, Roll Call reports. In the 4th congressional district race between Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and Sen. Jim Tracy, the Washington Post reports DesJarlais beat Tracy by a slim 35-vote margin. Tracy spokeswoman Stephanie Jarnigan said he would not decide whether to concede the race until results are finalized, a process that could take a few weeks, according to the Tennessean. Secretary of State Tre Hargett and coordinator of elections Mark Goins said today that they are asking election commissions in the 16-county district to move up meetings to certify the results of the race — the first step toward making the results official. Candidates have five days after certification to file challenges, which would be taken up next by the Tennessee Republican Party. That could push any recount process into September. Visit GoVoteTN for more congressional district results.


Domestic Partnership Ordinance Loses in Public Vote

Chattanooga voters yesterday defeated the Domestic Partnership Ordinance. The measure, which would have provided health benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees, was approved by the Chattanooga City Council last year but was forced to a public vote. “The City of Chattanooga’s non-discrimination ordinance was repealed tonight, but I want every city employee to know one thing — your work is valued and you are important to the future of our community,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said following the vote. News Channel 9 has the story.


Judges Weigh in on Gay Marriage Cases

Judges Martha Craig Daughtrey and Deborah L. Cook made it clear fairly quickly they stood on opposite sides of the same-sex marriage debate, but their colleague, Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton gave fewer hints as to where he may come down when the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decides the fate of gay marriage bans in four states, ABC News reports from the Associated Press. The cases heard Wednesday pit states' rights and conservative values against what plaintiffs' attorneys say is a fundamental right to marry under the U.S. Constitution. If the 6th Circuit decides against gay marriage, it would create a divide among federal appeals courts and put pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue during its 2015 session. The appeals panel did not indicate when it would rule.


Workshop on Tennessee Supreme Court Records Aug. 23

Tennessee Supreme Court records make up by far the largest single collection within the vast amount of information available at the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA). During the next session of TSLA's free workshop series, State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill will provide tips on navigating through those files. The workshop will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Aug. 23 at the State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Ave., North., in Nashville.  Although the workshop is free, reservations are required because of limited seating. To make a reservation, call (615) 741-2764 or e-mail workshop.tsla@tn.gov. The Crossville Chronicle has more.


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Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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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