Baker urges 'respect for our system' at KBA dinner

Ambassador Howard Baker told the Knoxville Bar last night that the only way we will prevail in these most dangerous of times is through the collective genius our democracy fosters. Baker was the featured speaker at the Knoxville Bar Association's Supreme Court Dinner, which drew a capacity crowd.

"We must have a healthy respect for our system, including its checks and balances, with equal value placed on the three branches of government," the former Tennessee senator and White House chief of staff said. He also highlighted the work that will be done at the new Baker Center on Public Policy at the University of Tennessee which will, in his words, "inculcate the importance in our political system of a respect for differing points of view." Baker's address followed remarks by Chief Justice Mickey Barker on the state of the Tennessee judiciary. KBA President Steve Collins also paid tribute to retiring Justices Adolpho A. Birch and E. Riley Anderson. The annual dinner takes place as the court opens its fall term in Knoxville.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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ANNESIA W. JARRETT v. ERIC D. CROSS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stephen L. Hale, Bolivar, Tennessee, for the appellant, Annesia W. Jarrett.

Angela J. Hopson, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Eric D. Cross.

Judge: DAVID R. FARMER

This is a child support modification case. The trial court determined Father was capable of earning $30,000 per year. Mother appeals, contending Father's life-style evidences a greater income. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/jarretta_090706.pdf


JUDITH R. SELLERS v. GARY T. SELLERS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Selma Cash Paty, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Judith R. Sellers.

William H. Horton, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary T. Sellers.

Judge: SHARON G. LEE

When the parties were divorced in 2000, Mrs. Sellers was not awarded any alimony, but was awarded $900 per month from Mr. Sellers's military retirement benefits as a division of marital property. Mr. Sellers made the payments directly to Mrs. Sellers and later the payments were made to her by the Department of Defense. Subsequently, Mr. Sellers's military disability benefits were increased, and his retirement benefits were decreased, which resulted in Mrs. Sellers's monthly payment from the Department of Defense being lowered from $900 to $90. Mrs. Sellers filed a contempt petition alleging that Mr. Sellers had modified his retirement benefit program in an attempt to defraud her of alimony and requesting that Mr. Sellers be ordered to pay back alimony payments. The trial court granted Mrs. Sellers a judgment for unpaid alimony, attorney's fees and directed that Mr. Sellers make future alimony payments directly to her. The trial court later vacated this order and set a hearing on Mrs. Sellers's petition for contempt. Upon rehearing, the trial court denied Mrs. Sellers's petition for contempt and declared its prior order holding Mr. Sellers in contempt to be null and void. Mrs. Sellers appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in setting aside its order granting her petition for contempt and in failing to award her alimony in an amount to compensate for the diminishment in the monthly payments she had received from Mr. Sellers's retirement benefits. We hold that the trial court did not err in setting aside its order of contempt because the order had no basis in law or fact. Because Mr. Sellers was never under an obligation to pay Mrs. Sellers alimony, he cannot be liable for an alimony arrearage or held in contempt of court for nonpayment. Further, because Mrs. Sellers was not awarded any alimony in the divorce decree, the trial court had no authority to subsequently modify the decree to award alimony. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/sellersj_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARK EDWARD ELLIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David S. Stockton, Assistant Public Defender, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mark Edward Ellis.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth Rice, District Attorney General; and Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: J.C. MCLIN

The defendant, Mark Edward Ellis, pled guilty to felony escape, a Class E felony. In exchange for his guilty plea, the defendant was sentenced to one year as a standard offender, which was to run consecutive to his prior sentences. On appeal, the defendant argues that the circuit court erred by denying his request for suspension of this sentence. Following our review of the parties' briefs and applicable law, we affirm the circuit court's judgment.

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


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. VINCENT CONNER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John P. Cauley, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vincent Conner.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; and Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: DAVID H. WELLES

This is a direct appeal from convictions on a jury verdict of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell and misdemeanor evading arrest. The Defendant, Vincent Conner, was sentenced to twelve years as a Range II, multiple offender for these convictions, with service consecutive to a prior five-year sentence, resulting in an aggregate sentence of seventeen years under the supervision of the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Defendant raises two issues on appeal: (1) this Court should, in the interest of justice, waive the requirement of a timely filed notice of appeal, and (2) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. We reverse and dismiss the Defendant's evading arrest conviction but otherwise affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/connerv_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. FERNANDEZ DEON DAVENPORT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

B. Campbell Smoot, District Public Defender, and Margaret C. Lamb, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Fernandez Deon Davenport.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Senior Counsel; Charles Michael Layne, District Attorney General; and Felicia B. Walkup, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JOSEPH M. TIPTON

The defendant, Fernandez Deon Davenport, appeals from his conviction for second degree murder, a Class A felony. He received his conviction in a jury trial in the Coffee County Circuit Court, and he was sentenced to sixty years as a Range III offender. He claims in this appeal that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, that the trial court erred in denying a mistrial when a witness made a reference to the defendant having been "locked up," and that the sentence was improper. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/davenportf_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HENRY ZILLON FELTS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

B. F. “Jack” Lowery, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Henry Zillon Felts.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and C. Ronald Blanton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS

Henry Zillon Felts, the defendant, was convicted of attempted first degree murder (Class A felony) and aggravated burglary (Class C felony). The defendant was sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty-one years at 100% in the Department of Correction. He now appeals as of right his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of conviction.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/feltsh_090706.pdf


SANDRA KAY FLIPPO-BYROM V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Andrew Jackson Dearing, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sandra Kay Flippo-Byron.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; David Edward Coenen, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JERRY L. SMITH

This matter is before the Court upon the State's motion to affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The petitioner has appealed the habeas corpus court's order dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the habeas corpus court was correct in dismissing the habeas corpus petition and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/flippo-byroms_090706.pdf


TIMOTHY HICKMAN v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN, and the STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Timothy Hickman, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; and Joe C. Crumley, Jr., District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: NORMA MCGEE OGLE

The petitioner, Timothy Hickman, appeals from the trial court’s order dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The petition fails to establish a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/hickmant_090706.pdf


JASPER D. LEWIS v. CHERRY LINDAMOOD, WARDEN, AND STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jasper D. Lewis, Clifton, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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

Judge: JOSEPH M. TIPTON

The petitioner, Jasper D. Lewis, appeals from the Wayne County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. He claims that the life sentence he is serving for a first degree murder conviction is void because it designates him a Range I offender with thirty percent release eligibility. We hold that the lower court erred in dismissing the petition, and we reverse and remand the case with instructions for the Wayne County Circuit Court to grant the petition and transfer the case to the Davidson County Criminal Court for correction of the judgment to reflect the proper release eligibility.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/lewisj_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TERRENCE MCCRAY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones and Phyllis Aluko (on appeal) and Kindle Nance and Robert Felknor (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terrence McCray.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Tom Hoover and Michael McCusker, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: NORMA MCGEE OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellant of second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to fifteen years in confinement. In this appeal, the appellant claims (1) that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction; (2) that the trial court erred by refusing to declare a mistrial after a State witness's "theatrics" (3) that the trial court committed plain error by not giving a curative instruction or declaring a mistrial after a courtroom spectator's outburst; (4) that the trial court erred by refusing to allow the defense to present evidence of the victim's prior arrest for domestic violence; (5) that the trial court erred by allowing the State to impeach the appellant with his prior arrests and letters written from jail; (6) that the trial court erred by allowing the State to cross-examine him about his statement to a police officer; (7) that the trial court committed plain error by allowing the prosecutor to testify during the State's closing argument; and (8) that the State committed plain error by implying during closing argument that the appellant had a duty to retreat before he could claim that he shot the victim in self-defense. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/mccrayt_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BARRY C. MELTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael D. Galligan and John P. Partin (on appeal), and Robert W. Newman (at trial), McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Barry C. Melton.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Clement Dale Potter, District Attorney General; and Larry G. Bryant, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: ALAN E. GLENN

The defendant, Barry C. Melton, was convicted of facilitating the manufacture of methamphetamine, a Class D felony, and possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, Class A misdemeanors. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to two years for the felony conviction and eleven months, twenty-nine days for each of the misdemeanor convictions, for a total effective sentence of two years, with sixty days to be served in confinement and the balance on probation. On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his facilitation conviction and that he should have been granted full probation. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/meltonb_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LESLIE A. PRYOR

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John E. Appman, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leslie A. Pryor.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; William Edward Gibson, District Attorney General; and Owen G. Burnett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JOSEPH M. TIPTON

The defendant, Leslie A. Pryor, was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of theft over $10,000, one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter, one count of felony evading arrest, one count of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, three counts of reckless endangerment, and one count of criminal impersonation. The trial court merged the reckless endangerment and attempted voluntary manslaughter convictions with the greater charge of aggravated assault, and the defendant was given an effective sentence of forty-two years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions for aggravated assault. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/pryorl_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES TIMOTHY TAYLOR

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles S. Bloodworth, Assistant Public Defender, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Timothy Taylor.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jason White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: ALAN E. GLENN

The defendant, James Timothy Taylor, was convicted in a Robertson County bench trial of one count of passing a forged check, a Class E felony, and sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to two years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he contends that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction and that the trial court erred by admitting into evidence a copy of the original check. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/taylorj_090706.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LATONYA TAYLOR

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hershell Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, and Paul J. Bruno, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Latonya Taylor.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Thomas F. Jackson and J. Paul Newman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: JOHN EVERETT WILLIAMS

The defendant, Latonya Taylor, was convicted by a jury of three counts of premeditated first degree murder and three counts of felony first degree murder. The latter three counts were merged with the premeditated first degree murders. The defendant was also convicted of especially aggravated robbery (Class A felony) and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping (Class A felony). An effective sentence of life without parole plus twenty years was imposed. She appeals the convictions. From our review of the record we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the verdicts, and there being no other reversible errors, the judgments of conviction are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/taylorl_090706.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Election 2006
BPR Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Bailey's qualificiations questioned by two papers
Gov. Phil Bredesen requested minority candidates for the state Supreme Court, but the one nominated has been disciplined for promoting a Larry Flynt movie and has been recalled from the Berkeley, Calif., City Council for "wild, obscene outbursts," the City Paper and the Commercial Appeal report today. Tuesday, the Judicial Selection Commission, which nominates applicants for the governor's consideration, picked D'Army Bailey, a Shelby County Circuit Court judge, as its only minority nominee.
Read the City Paper's report
and the Commercial Appeal story
Disgraced ex-judge Austin gets 42 months
Former Roane County General Sessions Court Judge Thomas Alva Austin will spend the next 42 months in federal prison for soliciting kickbacks. "You violated the most sacred charge that is to dispense justice fairly and justly," U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips told Austin today during a sentencing hearing. Austin pleaded guilty in March to charges he solicited roughly $14,000 in kickbacks from driving schools where he sent offenders and a probation office where he also ordered offenders to report. See video of Austin arranging kickbacks and read related documents in the
Knoxville News Sentinel
March gets 56 years for murder, conspiracy, theft
Calling him a dangerous offender, Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier on Wednesday sentenced convicted murderer and former prominent Nashville attorney Perry March to 56 years in prison for a series of crimes that began with the murder of March's wife 10 years ago. But the sentence brought no emotion from March, who was scribbling notes and sharing laughs with his attorneys as Dozier read the sentence.
The City Paper has the story
UT College of Law announces administrative changes
The UT College of Law has announced a new line-up for the school's administration: John L. Sobieski Jr. is interim dean, Douglas A. Blaze is interim associate dean for academic affairs, Jerry P. Black Jr. is interim director of clinical programs, Penny J. White is interim director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution and Delores Whiters is interim assistant dean for student affairs.
Read more details on these personnel changes
No jitters as Smyrna's first black judge puts on robe
The very day she was sworn in, Judge Keta Barnes had a number of Rutherford County Jail inmates before her. But Barnes, the first black person elected to office in Smyrna, wasn't nervous as she took the bench. The judicial conference she attended last week for newly elected General Sessions judges prepared her well, and the town's court staff has been helpful, she said.
The Daily News Journal has the story
Recused judge sending pay back to city
Having learned state law prohibits the cessation of pay for elected officials - even at their request - recused City Judge Charles Smith has taken to mailing his pay back to the city. Smith recused himself from the bench Aug. 18 so he could run for city mayor without violating judicial ethics. He named Ken Goble Jr. his replacement and asked the city to stop his pay. City Attorney David Haines said state law requires that Smith, as an elected official, still be paid.
Read about the dilemma in the Leaf-Chronicle
EEOC issues guidance for attorneys with disabilities
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued guidance regarding legal obligations to make reasonable accommodation for attorneys with disabilities in all areas of practice. It was formulated at the First National Conference on the Employment of Attorneys with Disabilities held earlier this year, a joint effort of the American Bar Association and the EEOC.
The EEOC guidelines are available here
Attorneys general ask movie makers to put anti-smoking spot in DVDs
Attorney General Paul G. Summers has joined 40 other attorneys general calling on Hollywood's major motion picture studios to insert anti-smoking messages in all DVDs, videos and newer, home-viewing formats of movies in which smoking is depicted.
Read the AG's press release
Security measures tightening at courthouse
Starting next Wednesday, visitors to the Maury County Courthouse will be required to pass through a security checkpoint, a change that has some officials breathing a sigh of relief. For the past two years, county officials have been planning to increase security at the 100-year-old building. Before, visitors were allowed to come and go as they pleased without passing through a security checkpoint.
Read about the new security in The Daily Herald
Rice retires in Somerville
Elizabeth Rice, district attorney general for the 25th Judicial District, retired last week after 16 years of service. "I've just been very fortunate to have a smooth and trusting relationship with the federal prosecutors," she said. "That is not true everywhere."
See a picture in the Fayette County Review
Beckner reflects on 30 years on the bench
More than 30 years ago, James E. Becker took a pay cut. "The law practice had gotten so busy," he said. "My children were very young. I was leaving the house before they got out of bed. I was coming home after they were in bed. I was working Saturdays and Sundays and holidays...I said, 'There's got to be something I can do better.'" So he became a judge in Morristown - and as he retires this month, he sounds like he did the right thing.
Read his story in the Citizen Tribune
Election 2006
Officials put on alert about special election
A Knox County chancellor is being asked to order election commission officials to gear up now for a term limit-driven special election. Chancellor Daryl R. Fansler has set a Monday hearing on legal action filed in anticipation of a ruling by the state Supreme Court on the validity of Knox County's charter and a term-limits amendment. The state's high court heard arguments Wednesday on questions about the charter.
Read about it in the News Sentinel
BPR Actions
Franklin lawyer suspended
Franklin lawyer George H. Nason was summarily suspended by the Supreme Court Sept. 1, after pleading guilty to the serious crime of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud.
Read the BPR's release
TBA Member Services
Last chance to renew membership without interrupting benefits
The last chance to renew your TBA membership without interrupting your subscription to the Tennessee Bar Journal, access to TBALink and eligibility for all our great member benefits has come. Membership must be renewed by tomorrow, Sept. 8 to avoid losing access to the products and services you rely on. For more information about membership and benefits, contact Membership Director Sarah Stair at sstair@tnbar.org or renew today by calling 800-899-6993 or
by visiting the TBA Web site

 
 
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