Ethics Commission distributes regulatory rules

The Tennessee Ethics Commission got down to business today, taking up proposed "public necessity" rules during its second meeting. The rules, which were only made available this morning, would begin regulating lobbyists, employers of lobbyists and public officials subject to the conflict of interest disclosure and consulting services statutes on Oct. 1.

The commission did adopt a change offered by the TBA, which assures that law firms that do not wish to file as a lobbyist firm do not have to. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur told the commission that the TBA is gearing up to offer the ethics training required for lawmakers and lobbyists. The commission expects that a final version of the rules -- with other minor changes -- will be available on the ethics commission web site next week. The next commission meeting will be Aug. 17, when they expect to interview executive director candidates. A copy of the rules, as originally proposed, can be found at

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


Court: TSC


Benjamin S. Dempsey, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gary Lee Marise.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Radford, District Attorney General; and Eleanor Cahill, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


We granted permission to appeal in this case pursuant to Rule 11, Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, to determine whether lay testimony of olfactory observations alone may support a conviction for possession of anhydrous ammonia with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, a violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-433(a). We conclude that the burden of proving the nature and composition of anhydrous ammonia as it is defined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 43-11-303(a) cannot be met by adducing lay testimony of olfactory observations only. Because the evidence adduced in the case under submission did not include any evidence of the chemical composition of the substance, we conclude that it is insufficient to sustain the conviction for unlawful possession of anhydrous ammonia and reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals insofar as it affirmed this conviction. Accordingly, we dismiss the defendant's conviction for possession of anhydrous ammonia with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.


Court: TCA


Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellant, Calvin Hutton Houghland.

John J. Hollins, Sr. and James L. Weatherly, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Katherine Stratton Houghland.


The issue presented in this divorce case is whether the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the husband fraudulently induced the wife to loan him over $225,000 before and during the parties' marriage. After careful review of the evidence and the applicable law, we hold that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's decision that the husband fraudulently induced his wife to loan him money, but that the full amount of the judgment is not supported by the record. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's judgment as modified to the amount of $214,753.41.


Court: TCA


Kevin S. Key, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellant The Education Resource Institute.

Harlan Dodson, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee Rachel Moss.


This is a suit against Rachel Moss to collect on two student loans. After her father agreed to pay her college tuition, she entered Dartmouth College. In 1995 and 1996, Ms. Moss's father borrowed money for her tuition. Ms. Moss's father signed the student loan applications and notes and had someone else sign his daughter's name to them. Ms. Moss did not learn of the forgery until 2001. Ms. Moss's father defaulted on the loans and The Education Resource Institute, which was the guarantor and administrator of the student loans, sued both Ms. Moss and her father. The trial court awarded the Institute a default judgment against Ms. Moss's father and dismissed the claim against her. The Institute appealed the dismissal. After careful review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court, finding that Ms. Moss was not liable to the Institute based on its theories of ratification or unjust enrichment.


Court: TCCA


Kent L. Booher, Lenoir City, Tennessee, (on appeal) and Charles B. Hill, Kingston, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Donna Beatrice Kiser.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General; Scott McCluen, District Attorney General; and Frank Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Donna Beatrice Kiser, was convicted of driving under the influence ("DUI"), second offense. The Defendant contends that there is insufficient evidence to sustain her conviction. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Greg W. Eichelman, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Trevis O. Love.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Eric D. Christiansen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Trevis O. Love, appeals the Greene County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty pleas to sale of one-half gram or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, possession with intent to sell or deliver one-half gram or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, and simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor, and resulting effective sentence of eight years to be served as a Range I, standard offender in the Department of Correction. He contends that the trial court erred in dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief which was filed beyond the one-year statute of limitations. We affirm the trial court's summary dismissal of the petition for post-conviction relief.


Court: TCCA


James E. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terry Jamar Norris.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Jack Irvine, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Terry Jamar Norris, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition for post-conviction relief.


Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Gookin and Chris R. Whittaker, Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Jermaine Scruggs.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Rolf Hazlehurst, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Jermaine Scruggs, pled guilty to driving under the influence, first offense, a Class A misdemeanor; reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor; and driving without a license, a Class C misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. 55-10-401, -403, -205, 50-351 (2003). The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of eleven months and twenty-nine days and a $350.00 fine for driving under the influence, first offense; six months and a $100.00 fine for reckless driving; and thirty days and a $50.00 fine for driving without a license, each at a seventy-five percent service rate. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively to an earlier five-year sentence for tampering with evidence. In this appeal, the defendant asserts that the trial court erred by ordering his sentences for the three misdemeanor convictions to be served consecutively to his prior felony sentence. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Responsibilities of Sex Offender Treatment Board

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-07-26

Opinion Number: 06-117


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