Process announced to fill Supreme Court seats

The Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission will hold two separate meetings to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court being created by the Aug. 31 retirements of Justices E. Riley Anderson of Knoxville and Adolpho A. Birch Jr. of Nashville, commission chairman Mike Bottoms said Monday. Applicants for the first position to be filled can apply from any region of the state. Since no more than two Supreme Court justices can reside in the same grand division of the state, the appointment of the first justice by Gov. Phil Bredesen will determine the remaining two grand divisions from which applications can be taken for the second spot. Deadline to apply for the first position is March 31.

http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/news/2006/scvacancies_022106.html

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/certlist022106.pdf


HUGH PETER BONDURANT and KENNETH PATTERSON BONDURANT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Herschell Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Patterson Bondurant. Stanley Pierchoski, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Hugh Peter Bondurant.

Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Elizabeth B. Marney, Senior Counsel; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Patrick Butler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: DAVID H. WELLES

This is an appeal from the dismissal of post-conviction petitions due to a finding of unfavorable DNA analysis results. The Petitioners, Hugh Peter Bondurant and Kenneth Patterson Bondurant, challenge the trial courtís dismissal of their petitions for DNA testing and analysis filed pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001. After ordering DNA testing, the trial court found the results of the DNA analysis were not favorable to the Petitioners and dismissed both of their petitions for post-conviction relief. See Tenn. Code Ann. ß 40-30-312. The Petitioners now appeal to this Court, alleging that their DNA analysis is incomplete and therefore they are now entitled to additional serological testing. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/bonduranth022106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIE R. HARRIS, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Willie R. Harris, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; C. Michael Layne, District Attorney General; and Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: ROBERT W. WEDEMEYER

A Coffee County jury convicted the Defendant, Willie R. Harris, Jr., of driving under the influence of alcohol (ďDUIĒ). On appeal, he contends that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; and (2) the trial court erred when it admitted the results his blood alcohol content test into evidence. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/harrisw022106.pdf


JASON EARL HILL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jason Earl Hill, Pro Se, Coleman, Florida.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: DAVID G. HAYES

The Appellant, Jason Earl Hill, proceeding pro se, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Courtís summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. In 1995, Hill pled guilty to aggravated burglary and received a three-year suspended sentence. In February 2005, Hill filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief collaterally attacking the 1995 conviction. While acknowledging that the petition was filed outside the statute of limitations, Hill asserts that due process requires that the statute be tolled and that his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and an unknowing and involuntary guilty plea be addressed. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition as time-barred without addressing the merits of Hillís substantive claims. On appeal, Hill asserts that the court erred in: (1) dismissing the petition as untimely; (2) dismissing the petition without addressing the whole subject matter as to all causes of action involved; and (3) dismissing the petition because due process requires vacating the conviction due to his innocence. After review, we conclude that the facts of this case do not warrant tolling the post-conviction statute of limitations. Accordingly, we affirm the post-conviction courtís summary dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/hillj022106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JASON CURTIS JOHNSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David M. Hopkins, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Comer L. Donnell, District Public Defender; and Adam Parrish, Assistant Public Defender, Lebanon, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Jason Curtis Johnson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Howard Lee Chambers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS T. WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Jason Curtis Johnson, was convicted of one count of first degree premeditated murder and one count of second degree murder for the killing of Christy Waller and her unborn child, respectively. Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment for his first degree murder conviction and twenty-five years for his second degree murder conviction, with the sentence for second degree murder conviction to be served consecutively to his life sentence. On appeal, Defendant argues (1) that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress; (2) that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence autopsy photographs of the victimís fetus; (3) that the evidence was insufficient to support Defendantís convictions; and (4) that the trial court erred in its sentencing determinations. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/johnsonj022106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DORRIS LEE MARKUM

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michelle M. Benjamin, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dorris Lee Markum

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; and Dale Potter, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JERRY L. SMITH

The appellant, Dorris Lee Markum, was indicted on two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of arson and two counts of theft of property under five hundred dollars. After a jury trial, the appellant was convicted of all charges. As a result, he was sentenced as a Range II multiple offender to an effective sentence of twenty years. After the denial of a motion for new trial, the appellant appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support his arson convictions and that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on arson. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/markumd022106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES WESLEY MARTENS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William B. Lockert, III, 23rd District Public Defender and Haylee A. Bradley, Assistant District Public Defender, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Wesley Martens.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Lisa Donegan, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: J.C. MCLIN

The defendant, James Wesley Martens, was convicted by a Humphreys County jury of aggravated robbery and evading arrest. The defendant was sentenced to concurrent sentences of fourteen years and three years, respectively, in the Tennessee Department of Correction as a Range II multiple offender. On appeal, the defendant challenges the trial courtís denial of his request for a continuance and the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Following our review

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/martensj022106.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KAMAL MUHAMMAD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy Gourley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kamal Muhammed.

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

Judge: JERRY L. SMITH

The appellant, Kamal Muhammed, was indicted with second offense driving under the influence. After a jury trial, the appellant was convicted of the indicted offense. As a result, he was sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days. All but seventy-five days of the sentence were suspended. The appellant challenges his conviction on appeal, arguing that the State failed to prove venue and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/muhammadk022106.pdf


BARRY SOTHERLAND v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Barry Sotherland, Pro Se, Clifton, Tennessee.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Mike McCowen, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JERRY L. SMITH

The petitioner filed a writ of habeas corpus in Marshall County, the county in which he was convicted. He is incarcerated in Wayne County. The trial court dismissed his petition for writ of habeas corpus because it was not filed in the county in which he is located and because the petition did not state sufficient grounds. We affirm the decision of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/sotherlandb022106.pdf


SIMON AVALOS VILLAGOMEZ v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ronald E. Munkeboe, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Simon Avalos Villagomez.

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

Judge: DAVID G. HAYES

The Appellant, Simon Avalos Villagomez, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Courtís denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, Villagomez argues that his guilty plea for felony possession of seventy pounds or more of marijuana for resale was not knowing and voluntary due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. After review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/villagomezs022106.pdf


RICHARD D. WIGGINS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Richard D. Dumas, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Richard D. Wiggins.

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

Judge: DAVID G. HAYES

The Appellant, Richard D. Wiggins, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief by the Davidson County Criminal Court. Wiggins pled guilty to attempted especially aggravated robbery and, as provided by the plea agreement, received an eight-year split confinement sentence requiring service of one year in the county jail followed by seven years probation. On appeal, Wiggins contends that his plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to trial counselís ineffectiveness in: (1) failing to have Wiggins evaluated for mental competency; (2) failing to fully investigate the case; (3) advising Wiggins how to answer the trial courtís questions during the plea colloquy; and (4) failing to fully explain the nature and consequences of his guilty plea. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/wigginsr022106.pdf


MARTY DALE WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ernest W. Williams and John D. Schwalb, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marty Dale Williams.

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

Judge: THOMAS T. WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Petitioner, Marty Dale Williams and his co-defendant, Daryl Lee Madden, were convicted of felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, and second degree murder. The trial court merged the second degree murder conviction with the felony murder conviction. Madden received an effective sentence of life plus 25 years; Petitioner received an effective sentence of life. On direct appeal, a panel of this court affirmed the judgments of the trial court. See State v. Madden, 99 S.W.3d 127 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2002). Petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief which the trial court subsequently denied after a hearing. Petitioner now appeals from the trial court's denial of post-conviction relief. In this appeal, Petitioner argues that the trial court erred in finding that Petitioner failed to establish that his trial counsel was per se ineffective and that trial counsel was ineffective under the totality of the circumstances. The judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/williamsm022106.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legislative News
Legal News
BPR Actions

Legislative News
Judiciary committees learn more about amendments
Both House and Senate Judiciary committees got down to work in earnest today. In addition to hearing a couple of bills, the House committee heard about the amendments to the rules of civil, criminal, appellate and juvenile procedure and rules of evidence from Don Paine, reporter for the Supreme Court Advisory Commission on Rules. Legal aid and pro bono activities were highlighted by Eric Cole on behalf of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services.

The Senate Committee met under the watchful eye of the TBA Leadership Law participants. The rules amendments represented by Senate Resolutions 95, 96, 97, 98 and 99 were explained by Professor Paine and recommended for ratification. The committee also debated an amendment to the constitution to require popular election of the attorney general.

Legal News
Assessment looks at when juveniles should be jailed
Tennessee is currently grappling with the question of when juvenile judges should lock up a delinquent youth and when should that kid be released back into the community. A new Detention Assessment Tool the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY) sent to judges for review last week is supposed to help find an answer.
The Nashville City Paper has the story.
BPR Actions
Murfreesboro lawyer suspended
Murfreesboro lawyer Kathy Ann Sittloh was temporarily suspended Feb. 14 for failure to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility concerning complaints of misconduct and that she posed a threat of irreparable harm to the public.
Read more from the BPR.

 
 
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