Agreement moves ethics package forward

Conference committee action early this afternoon appears to clear the way for a final vote on ethics legislation Monday. That would allow the General Assembly to end its special session devoted exclusively to ethics and go into regular session to deal with other issues as early as Tuesday.

The conference committee report on the Comprehensive Government Ethics Reform Act, as the bill is known, bolsters lobbyist regulation, creates an independent ethics commission and boosts campaign finance disclosure. If enacted in its present form as expected, the major objectives outlined by the TBA in the effort will be met. First, lawyers who appear before administrative tribunals will no longer be classified as lobbyists and will not be subject to the lobbyist regulation. Second, clients can still choose to be represented by citizen lawmakers. Finally, association volunteers can freely engage in volunteer lobbying without being subject to lobbyist regulation. The conference committee bill can be found at

http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/legislation/2006/11294.pdf

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

ADOLPH M. GROVES, JR. v. SANDRA ROREX GROVES

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

D. Scott Parsley and Joshua G. Strickland, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Adolph M. Groves, Jr.

Sandra Rorex Groves, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Judge: CLEMENT

This appeal arises from the last of many petitions and counter-petitions by both parties to change custody of the partiesí only child, to modify child support, to acquire arrearage judgments for non-paid child support, and for contempt of court. The order from which this appeal arose awarded custody of the child to the mother and dismissed the fatherís petition for contempt. Prior to this order, custody had been awarded to the father; however, he had not provided financial support for the child, and the child had not lived with him since the entry of the order awarding him custody. The dismissal of the fatherís petition was based upon the trial courtís finding the father had failed to comply with the previous order he was seeking to enforce. Finding no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/grovesa_020306.pdf


DEWAYNE EDWARD HOLLOWAY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Irvin M. Salky of Memphis for Appellant, Dewayne Edward Holloway

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; P. Robin Dixon, Jr., Assistant Attorney General for Appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: CRAWFORD

This is a claim filed against the State by a minor-decedentís father for the wrongful death of the minor-decedent based on T.C.A. 9-8-307 (a)(1)(E) (Negligent Care, Custody and Control of Person). Claims Commissioner found that the State did not have care, custody and control of the minor child and, therefore, the Claims Commission is without jurisdiction to consider the claim. Father appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/hollowayd_020306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LARRY BALLENTINE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert H. Stovall, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry Ballentine.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Doug Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Larry Ballentine, was convicted by a jury in the Wayne County Circuit Court of possession of a Schedule III controlled substance with the intent to sell. He received a sentence of six years incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contests the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction and the trial courtís evidentiary rulings on impeachment evidence. Upon our review of the record and the partiesí briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/ballentine_020306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KERVIN MERCEL COLLINS
With Dissenting Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

F. Michie Gibson, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kervin Mercel Collins.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Kimberly Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The defendant, Kervin Collins, was involved in an altercation with his father, the victim. The defendant hit the victim several times with a shovel. After an indictment for aggravated assault, a Davidson County jury found the defendant guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced the defendant to five years as a Range I standard offender, and the defendant appealed. We reverse the judgment of the trial court with regard to the denial of the defendantís motion for mistrial and remand for a new trial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/collinsk_020306.pdf

HAYES DISSENTING
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/collinskdis_020306.pdf


LARRY DOTSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE, RICKY BELL, WARDEN
With Dissenting Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry Dotson, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

The petitioner, Larry Dotson, appeals from the lower courtís summary dismissal of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review of the partiesí briefs and applicable law, we reverse the courtís dismissal of the petition and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/dotsonl_020306.pdf

WILLIAMS DISSENTING
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/dotsonldis_020306.pdf


CHRIS ALLEN DYKES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Chris Allen Dykes, pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Chris Allen Dykes, appeals the trial courtís denial of his motion to reopen his petition for post-conviction relief. The trial court found the petition to be untimely filed. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial courtís denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We find the Stateís motion has merit. Accordingly, the motion is granted and the appeal is affirmed pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/dykesca_020306.pdf


RONNIE FINCH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James P. McNamara, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronnie Finch.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The petitioner, Ronnie Finch, was convicted by a jury of facilitation of first degree murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. As a result, the petitioner was sentenced to a total of forty-nine years in incarceration. The petitionerís convictions and sentence were affirmed by this Court on appeal. See State v. Frank E. Huey, et al, No. M200002793-CCA-R3-CD, 2002 WL 517132 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Nashville, Apr. 5, 2002), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Oct. 14, 2002). The petitioner subsequently filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging inter alia ineffective assistance of counsel. After an evidentiary hearing, the postconviction court denied the petition. On appeal, the petitioner challenges the post-conviction courtís denial of the petition. For the following reasons, the judgment on post-conviction petition is reversed; the judgment of acquittal is entered; and verdicts of guilt are vacated and dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/finchr_020306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HAROLD FRANK HENDERSON, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeffery A. DeVasher (on appeal), and Jonathan F. Wing (at trial) for the appellant, Harold Frank Henderson, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Lisa Naylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Harold Frank Henderson, Jr., pled guilty to aggravated assault in return for a fouryear sentence served in a manner to be determined by the trial court. The trial court ordered the defendant to serve his sentence in confinement, and the defendant appealed. Following our review of the record and the partiesí briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/hendersonh_020306.pdf


RICHARD L. HOWELL, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Adrian Chick, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard L. Howell, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Richard Howell, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief which alleged that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, Petitioner contends that trial counselís assistance was ineffective for failure to object to the admission of certain evidence at trial. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that he was prejudiced by any deficiencies in his trial counselís performance and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/howellr_020306.pdf


CHARLES DEWAYNE MOORE v. KENNETH W. LOCKE, WARDEN and STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles Dewayne Moore, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Lisa Naylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Charles Dewayne Moore, appeals from the trial courtís summary dismissal of his petition seeking habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial courtís denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Stateís motion is granted. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/moorec_020306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID JACOB RIGSBY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Jacob Rigsby.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Raymond Crouch, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The defendant was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of driving under the influence. He pled nolo contendere to one count of vehicular homicide. The defendant was on probation for prior convictions at the time of his plea and sentencing. A subsequent warrant for violation of probation was issued for his probationary sentence. The trial court sentenced the defendant to six years on his vehicular homicide plea to run consecutively to his probationary terms. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court should not have ordered the vehicular homicide sentence to be served consecutively to his probationary sentence. We conclude that the trial court did not err, and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/rigsbyd_020306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES R. SMITH

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David N. Brady, District Public Defender, and H. Marshall Judd, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, James R. Smith.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; William E. Gibson, District Attorney General; and Anthony J. Craighead, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial courtís failure to merge his sexual battery and attempted false imprisonment convictions into his rape conviction; the denial of alternative sentencing; and the sufficiency of the evidence. Upon review, we conclude that the acts perpetrated on the victim constituted three discrete offenses and that the trial court did not err in failing to merge them. We further conclude that the trial court appropriately denied alternative sentencing and that the evidence was sufficient to support the verdicts. For these reasons, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/smithjr_020306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MAURICE DARNELL TYLER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul J. Bruno, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maruice Darnell Tyler.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

This is a direct appeal as of right from convictions entered on a jury verdict of guilty of two first degree premeditated murders. The jury sentenced the Defendant to life without the possibility of parole for one conviction, and he received a life sentence for the other. On appeal, the Defendant advances five arguments: (1) the state violated his equal protection rights by striking three African Americans during jury selection; (2) the court erred by admitting into evidence a photograph of one of the victims; (3) the court erred by admitting into evidence a threatening statement made by the Defendant three years prior to the date of the crimes at issue in this case; (4) the court erred by failing to declare a mistrial when the State made a statement during closing argument which was unsupported by the evidence; and (5) the evidence was insufficient to support the juryís guilty verdicts. We affirm the judgments of the court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/tylerm_020306.pdf


JETT L. WRIGHT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jett L. Wright, pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Jett L. Wright, appeals from the trial courtís dismissal of his petition for postconviction relief. The trial court found the petition to be untimely filed. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial courtís denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We find the Stateís motion has merit. Accordingly, the motion is granted and the appeal is affirmed pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/wrightjl_020306.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legislative News
Legal News
Passages

Legislative News
Person to leave Senate; may seek judicial post
Shelby County Republican State Senator Curtis Person, the 40-year legislative veteran who wrote Tennessee's law mandating jail time for drunken drivers, says he will not seek re-election and may run for Juvenile Court judge.
Read the Commercial Appeal account
Jackson senator may switch parties
State Sen. Don McLeary is expected to announce this afternoon if he is going to leave the Democratic party and run for re-election as a Republican. Both McLeary and the Madison County Republican Party have called press conferences for 5 p.m. today.
Read the Jackson Sun's account
Governor delays State of the State speech
With lawmakers still meeting in a special session on ethics, Gov. Bredesen has delayed his State of the State speech from Monday to Tuesday night at 6 p.m. That date could also change if the General Assembly is still in session.

Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a position on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Legal News
Officials urge appointment to Knox court
The caseloads in Knox County Sessions Courts are "overwhelming and intolerable" and an interim judge should be appointed soon, three high-ranking county officials urge.
Read the News Sentinel report
What's so funny?
Find out why lawyer jokes have grown in popularity and what it means to our culture during a free lecture on the topic hosted by Vanderbilt's Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and Vanderbilt Law School. The Feb. 21 program will feature lawyer joke expert Marc Galanter, who will speak at 3 p.m. in the Moore Room of the law school.

Passages
Memorial service for Drake Holliday
A memorial service for Nashville attorney Drake Holliday will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. (visitation begins at 1:30 p.m.) at Edgehill United Methodist Church, 1502 Edgehill Ave., in Nashville. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee or the Tennessee Justice Center.


 
 
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