Tennessee Supreme Court upholds term limits

The state Supreme Court upheld term limits for county commissioners in a unanimous ruling issued this morning. The decision came in a case filed by Shelby County commissioners who challenged a two-term limit authorized by voters in 1994. Commissioners opposed to the limits argued that they violated the state constitution, reports the Knoxville News Sentinel. The court expedited the case, issuing a ruling just eight days after hearing arguments and just over one month before the Shelby County primary election.


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

Order of the Court

Court: TSC

On January 16, 2004, this Court ordered that Sedley Alley's death sentence be executed on June 3, 2004. Subsequently, Alley filed a motion in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee requesting relief under that court's inherent authority and under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b); Alley also filed a motion for stay of execution in the federal district court. On May 19, 2004, the federal district court entered an order staying the execution pending that court's "ruling on Petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion." On November 28, 2005, the federal district court entered an order denying Alley's motion for relief from the judgment. On November 30, 2005, the State of Tennessee filed a motion in this Court to reset the date of Alley's execution. On December 5, 2005, Alley filed a response to the State's motion. On December 9, 2005, Alley filed in the federal district court a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). This Court held the State's motion to reset Alley's execution date in abeyance pending disposition of the Rule 59(e) motion. On March 22, 2006, the State filed a Notice of Filing Document in this Court stating that the federal district court had that same day entered an order denying the motion to alter or amend judgment. A copy of the district court's order was attached to the Notice. On March 24, 2006, Alley filed a response to the State's Notice of Filing Document.

Upon due consideration of the Motion to Set Execution Date, Alley's Response, the Notice of Filing Document, and Alley's response thereto, the State's motion is GRANTED. It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED by this Court that the Warden of the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, or his designee, shall execute the sentence of death as provided by law on the 17th day of May, 2006, unless otherwise ordered by this Court or other appropriate authority. Counsel for Sedley Alley shall provide a copy of any order staying execution of this order to the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Court in Nashville. The Clerk shall expeditiously furnish a copy of any order of stay to the Warden of the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Justice Birch would deny the State's motion to reset an execution date.



Court: TSC


Allan J. Wade, Lori Hackleman Patterson, and Brandy S. Parrish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Walter Bailey, Julian Bolton and Cleo Kirk.

Leo Bearman, Jr. and Jason A. Strain, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, County of Shelby, Shelby County Election Commission, Gregory M. Duckett, Richard L. Holden, Nancye E. Hines, O. C. Pleasant Jr. and Maura Black Sullivan.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Ann Louise Vix, Senior Counsel, for the Intervenor, State of Tennessee.


In this expedited appeal, this Court is asked to decide two questions of first impression. The first question is whether a term limit provision contained in a county charter is authorized by Tennessee Code Annotated Section 5-1-210(4). Like the lower courts, we answer this question in the affirmative. The second question before this Court is whether Tennessee Code Annotated Section 5-1-210(4) violates Article VII, section 1, of Tennessee's constitution to the extent that the statute authorizes a county with a charter form of government to impose terms limits upon members of its legislative body. Unlike the Court of Appeals, we answer this question in the negative. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The judgment of the chancery court is reinstated.


Corrected Case

Court: TSC


Mark C. Travis, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mohon International, Inc./Campbell Ray.

Robert T. Keeton, III, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Misty Michelle Glisson.

Judge: BIRCH

The employer in this workers' compensation action has appealed from a judgment of the Circuit Court of Henry County finding that the employee suffered a work-related back injury. The trial court awarded the employee benefits based on 30% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. The employer contends on appeal that the medical proof, which does not include any medical testimony, is insufficient to establish a causal connection between the employee's injury and her employment. The dispositive question before this Court is whether the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee's injury arose out of her employment. We conclude that the record and applicable law support the trial court's decision to award benefits. We further hold that a local rule of the 24th Judicial District which prohibits the taking of medical depositions in workers' compensation cases absent leave of court is invalid. The trial court's judgment is affirmed.

Case corrected on page four to add the word "or" between the words "record" and "otherwise" on line 6 of the paragraph quoting the 24th Judicial District Order of April 18, 1996.


Court: TCA


Edwin C. Lenow of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, Lawrence Lee Brown.

David E. Caywood and Amy Black of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellee, Kelly Sue Brown.


This appeal involves a post-divorce dispute regarding child support and related issues. The trial court awarded Wife/Appellee all of her attorney's fees and expenses, and couched one-half of that award as additional child support pursuant to T.C.A. Section 36-5-103(c)(2005). Husband/Appellant appeals asserting that the trial court erred in categorizing the attorney's fees as child support and on the ground that the attorney's fees are excessive. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Alfred H. Knight, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Louis Gratton.

Helen Sfikas Rogers, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bernadette Juliana Gratton.


In this divorce action, Husband appeals the trial court's allocation of residential time for couple's only minor child, and Wife appeals the division of marital property and related issues. We affirm the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Javier Soto-Hurtado, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia Lee, Assistant Attorney General; and Robert Radford, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennesse.

Judge: WADE

The petitioner, Javier Soto-Hurtado, has filed a pro se appeal of the post-conviction court's refusal to reopen an earlier post-conviction petition which had been dismissed. He claims that he is entitled to relief based upon the ruling in Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). The judgment is affirmed and the appeal dismissed.



Court: TCCA


Kamilah E. Turner, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Jackson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Horne Dwyer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Joseph Jackson, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for two counts of attempted first degree murder and resulting twenty-year concurrent sentences. On appeal, the defendant claims that his convictions violate the Double Jeopardy provision of the federal constitution, that his indictments were constitutionally defective, and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Clarice Perkins, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jim Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


This is an appeal from the order of the trial court denying the Defendant's motion to withdraw guilty pleas and motion to dismiss all charges. The Defendant, Clarice Perkins, was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault pursuant to entry of guilty pleas. She received an effective eight-year sentence to be served on probation. After sentencing, but before the judgments became final, the Defendant filed pro se motions to withdraw her guilty pleas and to dismiss all charges. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied both motions. On appeal, the Defendant raises two issues: the trial court erred in denying (1) the Defendant's motion to withdraw her guilty pleas, and (2) the Defendant's motion to dismiss all charges. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



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