General Assembly refers reform bill to committee

After a largely ceremonial day yesterday, the special session of the General Assembly, known formally as the First Extraordinary Session of 2006, today began work in earnest on legislation. The “Comprehensive Government Ethics Reform Act,” introduced by Senator Micheal Williams in the Senate (SB7001) and Rep. Kim McMillan in the House (HB 7001), is the product of six months of meetings by the joint ethics panel. The bill will be the major vehicle for adopting a reform package of campaign finance, lobbyist regulation and ethics enforcement proposals.

Much of the discussion today focused on the organization and operation of the new Ethics Commission. The House Government Operations Committee recommended that the functions of the new commission be folded into a strengthened Registry of Election Finance, establishing a new more powerful enforcement body. The bill now moves to the House State and Local Government Committee, which may take up the bill as early as tomorrow.

Bills introduced and action taken on any of the proposals in the special session can be tracked like other legislation at:

http://www.tba.org/tba_legismain.html

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Howard H. Vogel
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Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

TOWNSEND SCIENTIFIC TRUST v. FOOD TECHNOLOGY
INVESTORS, L.P., ET AL. v. TOWNSEND SCIENTIFIC TRUST
and JOHN TOWNSEND


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Mary L. Wolff, Sharon L. Petty, Memphis, TN, for Appellants, John C. Townsend and Townsend Scientific Trust.

Paul W. Ambrosius, Paul C. Ney, Jr., Nashville, TN; William Eugene Frulla, Memphis, TN, for Appellees, Food Technology Investors, L.P., Food Technology Investors, Inc., and Charles D. McVean.

Judge: HIGHERS

This case stems from a business deal gone sour. This is the third time that these parties have brought identical claims against one another. In the previous versions of this suit, the cases were dismissed without prejudice. At this trial, both the plaintiff’s claims and the defendants’ counter claims and third-party claims were dismissed with prejudice based on the doctrine of laches. Upon a motion to alter or amend judgment, the trial court modified its order to dismiss all claims without prejudice based on a failure to prosecute. In this appeal, appellants ask this Court to determine (1) whether the chancery court erred when it amended its judgment with prejudice granting the appellants’ motion to dismiss based on the doctrine of laches to a judgment without prejudice based on a failure to prosecute and (2) whether the chancery court erred when it dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint sua sponte. The appellants argue that the chancery court should not have amended its judgment dismissing the defendants’ counter and third-party claims because the facts presented at trial warranted a dismissal based on the doctrine of laches. Further, the appellants argue that the trial court should not have dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint sua sponte based on the doctrine of laches because the defendants did not demonstrate at trial any undue prejudice to them. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/townsend011106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY D. BROWN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James N. Adams, Jr., Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony D. Brown.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Anthony D. Brown, was convicted of one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and one count of carrying a knife with the intent to go armed, a Class C misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced Defendant to fifteen years for his aggravated burglary conviction and thirty days for his misdemeanor conviction. Defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the convicting evidence or the trial court’s sentencing determinations. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in not declaring a mistrial pursuant to Rule 31(d) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure when one of the jurors indicated to the trial court that she did not agree with the verdicts after the jury had been polled and discharged. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/browna011106.pdf


ERNIE LYNNWOOD EATON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Barney Witherington, IV, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ernie Lynnwood Eaton.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; andGeneral, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Ernie Lynnwood Eaton, filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, as amended after the appointment of counsel, alleging that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with the negotiation and entry of Petitioner's plea of guilty to three counts of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony. Petitioner also alleged that his effective sentence of four years and six months violates the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35- 211(1) and is therefore illegal. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied Petitioner’s petition. In his appeal, Petitioner challenges only the post-conviction court’s finding that Petitioner’s sentence was authorized by law. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post- conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/eatone011106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TROY CLEVELAND LOWERY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David L. Hamblen, Union City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Troy Cleveland Lowery.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; and Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and James Cannon, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The appellant, Troy Cleveland Lowery, was indicted on five counts of felony theft. The appellant pled guilty to two counts of Class C felony theft and two counts of Class D felony theft. Following a sentencing hearing, the appellant was sentenced to three years on the Class D convictions and four years on the Class C convictions; the sentences were ordered to run concurrently. However, the trial court suspended all of the sentence with the exception of six months. The appellant was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $91,215.75. The trial court ordered that $60,000 of the restitution be paid prior to the appellant’s release from jail. The appellant filed a timely notice of appeal, seeking our review of the trial court’s denial of probation. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/loweryt011106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER PERRY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory Thomas Carman (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee; and Jake Werner (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Christopher Perry.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Charles Bell and Alexia Fulgham, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Christopher Perry, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of the first degree murder of Stanley Johnson and was sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, Perry raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict and (2) whether the trial court erred in denying a motion to suppress in violation of his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. After review, we conclude the convicting evidence supports the verdict. Moreover, we affirm the trial court’s order denying Perry’s motion to suppress his statement upon Fifth Amendment grounds. However, we vacate the trial court’s denial of Perry’s motion to suppress upon Sixth Amendment right to counsel protections because no findings were entered by the trial court upon the factual disputes presented. Accordingly, the trial court’s denial of Perry’s Motion to Suppress is vacated, as is the judgment of conviction, with remand for a suppression hearing consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/perryc011106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ODESSA POPE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Noel H. Riley, II, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Odessa Pope.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brian C. Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; and Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Dyer County Grand Jury indicted the defendant for attempting to obtain a controlled substance by misrepresentation fraud, forgery, deception or subterfuge. Following a jury trial on July 28, 2004, the defendant was found guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced the defendant to four years as a Range II multiple offender. The defendant filed a notice of appeal. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction and that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to cross-examine her regarding her prior convictions contrary to Rule 609 of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence. We find that there was sufficient evidence and the trial court did not err in allowing the entry of the prior convictions into evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/popeo011106.pdf


Tenn. Code Ann. Section 13-7-208, Protection of Nonconforming Billboard Sites

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-01-10

Opinion Number: 06-007

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2006/ag_06-7.pdf

Availability of Diversion After Entry of Judgment and Service of Sentence

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-01-10

Opinion Number: 06-008

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2006/ag_06-8.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News

Legal News
New report on Tennessee Judiciary now available
The new Annual Report of the Tennessee Judiciary is now available. The document summarizes activities of the court in 2005 and serves as a useful source of information on current judges and court officials throughout the state.
tncourts_2005.pdf
Hamilton County may see contested criminal court election
Hamilton County Assistant DA Rodney Strong reportedly has picked up papers to run for the Division I Criminal Court judge seat, planning to run as a Democrat for the post now held by retiring Judge Doug Meyer. If he runs, he will face colleague Barry Steelman, executive assistant district attorney, who the Chattanoogan.com reports plans to run as a Republican.
article_78440.asp
Challengers emerge for Signal Mountain judicial race
Signal Mountain Judge Mark Rothberger may face opposition from attorneys Bill Speek and Rob Philyaw, according to the Chattanoogan.com.
article_78440.asp
New service for crime victims who experience severe violence
The Prisoner's Aid Society of Tennessee (PAST) has formed a new nonprofit organization, Tennessee Voice For Restorative Justice (TVFRJ) to give victims of severely violent crimes a chance to meet face-to-face with their perpetrator, reports the Oak Ridger. The concept of restorative justice is based on the assumption that victims have many unanswered questions about their attacker and criminals benefit by learning of the pain they caused.
20060110017.shtml
One-man play appeals to lawyer idealism
Paul Morella brought his one-man play chronicling the life of famed attorney Clarence Darrow to Rhodes College yesterday, performing for 200 lawyers and law students in Memphis. Morella mainly performs his act for lawyer groups and says that he is motivated by wanting to help attorneys reconnect with the reasons they originally went into law. A review of the play can be found in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
4378733,00.html
Legislative News
State Senator Miller won't seek re-election
State Sen. Jeff Miller (R-Cleveland) announced Tuesday that he will resign as chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus and not seek re-election this year. After Miller’s resignation as caucus chair, Senate Republicans elected Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) as Miller’s replacement. Read more about this story in the Nashville City Paper.
id=47078

 
 
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