New courses tackle ethics issues in judicial campaigns

Considering a judicial campaign or working with someone who is? TennBarU is ready to help with five new interactive video programs that tackle the ethics issues involved in campaign finance reports, nominating petitions, free speech issues and more.

http://www.legalspan.com/tnbar/category.asp?CatalogID=&CategoryID=20051227-325567-1355130&UGUID=

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. To search all opinions in the TBALink database, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi.

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Here's how you can obtain full-text version. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 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. Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion. Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CLINTON BURNS, III
Corrected case; originally published 7/29/2005

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and Robert C. Edwards, Assistant Public Defender, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Clinton Burns, III.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; and John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SUSANO

Clinton Burns, III, (DOB: 06/07/86), a juvenile, was adjudged delinquent by the Knox County Juvenile Court, having been found to have committed the adult offense of aggravated robbery. He appealed to the trial court, which, after a bench trial, affirmed the judgment of the juvenile court. The defendant appeals, contending that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the testimony of the victim because of the unduly suggestive nature of the procedure used to identify him. He further argues that the trial court erred in refusing to afford him a jury trial. We hold that the trial court properly denied the defendantís motion to suppress, but that it erred in denying the defendant a jury trial. Accordingly, we affirm the trial courtís order denying the motion to suppress, but reverse the judgment of the trial court affirming the judgment of the juvenile court. Case remanded for a new trial.

Corrected case; originally published 7/29/2005
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/burnsc1606.pdf


JAMES A. HODGE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Wm. Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, James A. Hodge.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and George H. Coffin, Jr., Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a motorcycle rider who was seriously injured while crossing two heavy steel plates placed over the surface of a portion of a state highway that was under construction. The rider filed a claim with the Tennessee Claims Commission asserting that the front tire of his motorcycle became lodged in a gap between the two steel plates and that this gap was the dangerous condition that caused his injuries. Following a hearing, a claims commissioner dismissed the claim after concluding (1) that the rider had failed to prove that the State, rather than the highway contractor, was responsible for maintaining the steel plates, (2) that the rider had failed to prove that the State had notice of the gap between the plates, and (3) that the riderís negligence exceeded that of the State. The motorcycle rider has appealed. We have determined that the claims commissioner erred by concluding that the State was not on notice of the dangerous condition on the highway and that the motorcycle riderís negligence exceeded the Stateís negligence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/hodgej1606.pdf


ELIZABETH S. F. MARTELLA v. DAVID R. MARTELLA

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert B. Pyle, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Elizabeth S. F. Martella.

Timothy S. Priest, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellee, David R. Martella.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a parental dispute over the payment of child support for a fifteen-year-old child. One year following the divorce, the childís father filed a petition in the Circuit Court for Franklin County seeking to modify his $2,100 per month child support obligation because his visitation with his daughter had increased and because his daughter was receiving Social Security benefits as a result of his retirement. Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that the father was willfully unemployed and declined to lower his child support obligation. However, the court determined that the father was entitled to an offset in the amount of the Social Security benefits that the child was receiving as his dependent. Both the mother and the father take issue with the judgment. The father asserts that the trial court erred by refusing to lower his child support obligation. The mother insists that the court erred by giving the father credit for the Social Security benefits the child was receiving. We affirm the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/martellae1606.pdf


ELIZABETH SOWELL NEEDHAM v. CHAD DEARMAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jim Sowell, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Elizabeth Sowell Needham.

Janet S. Kelley, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Chad Dearman.

Judge: CAIN

Plaintiff appeals from failure of the trial court to allow interest on a child support arrearage judgment pursuant to T.C.A. ß 36-5-101(A)(5). The judgment of the trial court is reversed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/needhame1606.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSHUA PARKER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Keith E. Haas, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Joshua Parker.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General; and Al Schmutzer, Jr., District Attorney General; and James B. Dunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Cocke County grand jury indicted the defendant, Joshua Parker, on one count of aggravated sexual battery. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty as charged. He was sentenced to twelve years to be served at 100% as a Range II multiple offender. The defendant appeals this conviction. He argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and that the State committed prosecutorial misconduct in its closing argument. We have determined that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction for aggravated sexual battery. Therefore, we reverse and dismiss the judgment of conviction for that offense. However, the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction for attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery and we therefore reduce the conviction to that of attempted aggravated sexual battery, and remand for entry of judgment to that effect and re-sentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/parkerj1606.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT LEE ROBERTS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Leslie W. Bailey, Jr., Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Lee Roberts.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Ricky A.W. Curtis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

A Sullivan County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Robert Lee Roberts, of driving under the influence (DUI), and the trial court sentenced him to eleven months and twenty-nine days, suspending all but six months of the sentence. On appeal, the defendant contends the evidence is insufficient. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/robertsr1606.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News

Legal News
DA seeking to oust Meigs circuit clerk
Ninth Judicial District AG Scott McCluen filed ouster proceedings against Meigs County Circuit Court Clerk Debbie Smith alleging that she knowingly or willfully engaged in misconduct while in office and neglected to perform duties. A Jan. 27 hearing is set before Chancellor Frank V. Williams III in Wartburg, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
06&ID=Ar01205
Overton County announces election deadline
Overton County will hold elections for a number of judicial positions this year, including circuit court judge, 13th judicial district criminal court judge, 13th judicial district attorney general, 13th judicial district public defender, and county general sessions judge. Petitions must be filed by Feb. 16, according to the Livingston Enterprise.
article.php?articleid=1
New fee funds courtroom security in Sullivan County
A new state law authorizing counties to charge $2 each time a court case is reset will fund new security measures at the Sullivan County courthouse, reports the Kingsport Times-News. The new state law, which went into effect Jan. 1, adds $2 to the $5 continuance fee currently assessed.
article.dna?_StoryID=3587156

 
 
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