Knox man's case could influence federal decisions

Knoxville drug dealer Alvin Vonner may not have set out to shape the federal sentencing landscape in four states, including Tennessee, and maybe even the nation, but he is poised to do just that. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has granted an "en banc" rehearing. Vonner's case is about the reasonableness of his 117-month prison term for dealing drugs in Knoxville, and could set the course for sentencing decisions for every federal criminal in the circuit and, perhaps, the nation.,1406,KNS_347_5091444,00.html

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


Court: TCA


Andre L. Dotson, appellant, pro se.

Fred E. Jones, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Memphis.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an appeal from the dismissal of an inmate's civil action for failure to pay costs in prior lawsuits. The plaintiff inmate, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint in the trial court against the defendant municipality alleging violations of the government tort liability act, proceeding as a pauper. The State filed a motion to dismiss the case based on Tennessee Code Annotated Section 41-21-812, because the plaintiff had failed to pay costs in previous lawsuits filed by him. Realizing that his lawsuit was subject to dismissal under the statute, the plaintiff then paid the initial filing fee and cash bond for the instant lawsuit, but did not pay the costs for the prior lawsuits. The plaintiff subsequently filed a response to the State's motion to dismiss, claiming that, although he initially was prohibited from filing the lawsuit, because he subsequently paid his filing fees for the instant lawsuit, Section 41-21-812 was not applicable. The trial court dismissed the case pursuant to the statute. The plaintiff now appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCA


David E. Caywood and Lucie K. Brackin, Memphis, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellant Hal Gerber.

Michelle L. Betserai, Memphis, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellee Robert R. Holcomb.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a garnishment action. The plaintiff lawyer filed a lawsuit against the defendant to collect on a promissory note. This lawsuit was settled by a consent decree requiring the defendant to make installment payments. The defendant became delinquent in the agreed payments. The plaintiff then issued a garnishment request to the defendant's employer, based on the consent decree. In response, the defendant filed a motion in the trial court to stay the garnishment and establish installment payments. After a hearing, the trial court entered an order as to the monthly amount to which the plaintiff was entitled in garnished wages. This amount was less than the maximum statutory amount permitted for garnishment. The plaintiff now appeals, arguing that the trial court erred by not awarding the maximum statutory amount. We affirm, finding no abuse of discretion.


Court: TCA


Mitchell D. Moskovitz, Adam N. Cohen, and Linda L. Holmes, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, C. Phillip McDow.

Matthew Ian John, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sara Ciaramitaro McDow.


This is a divorce case in which grounds were stipulated. Husband appeals the trial court's award of alimony in futuro to Wife. He asserts, in the alternative, that if this Court affirms the award of alimony the matter must be remanded for reconsideration of the division of property. We vacate the award of alimony in futuro and remand.


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