Will Supreme Court reach down? Answer in 'next few days'

The state Supreme Court has confirmed receipt of motions from Houston Gordon and Buck Lewis asking the court to exercise its statutory "reach down" jurisdiction and take their appeal of a chancery court decision directly, bypassing the court of appeals. The case, Bredesen vs. Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission, will set procedures for the submission of new Supreme Court candidates to Gov. Phil Bredesen. The Supreme Court "expects to make a decision on the motions in the next few days," says Administrative Office of the Courts' spokesperson Sue Allison. Trial and appellate documents in the case are available for download at:


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


Court: TSC


With Concurring/Dissenting Opinion and Appendix

Court: TSC


Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Tom Thurman, Roger Moore, Grady Moore, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

The defendant, Paul Dennis Reid, Jr., was convicted of three counts of premeditated murder, three counts of felony murder, one count of attempted murder, and one count of especially aggravated robbery. The trial court merged each of the felony murder convictions with the corresponding premeditated murder convictions. The jury sentenced the defendant to death based upon four aggravating circumstances, see Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-13-204(i)(2), (6), (7), (12) (Supp. 1996), and further found that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt, see Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-13-204(g)(1) (Supp. 1996). We hold that (1) the trial court did not err by finding the defendant competent to stand trial; (2) the trial court did not err by admitting the testimony of the defendant's former employer; (3) the trial court did not err by denying the motion to limit proof regarding the defendant’s financial condition; (4) the trial court did not err by refusing to recuse itself from the case; (5) the trial court did not err by allowing the State to introduce evidence of the murders at the Captain D's restaurant to establish the "mass murder" aggravating circumstance; and (6) the defendant's sentences of death are not invalid under the mandatory review criteria of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-206(c)(1). As to the remaining issues, we agree with the conclusions reached by the Court of Criminal Appeals. The relevant portions of its opinion are appended. The judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is, therefore, affirmed.



APPENDIX (Excerpts from the Court of Criminal Appeals' Decision)

With Concurring Opinion

Court: TCA


J. Houston Gordon of Covington, Tennessee; Irma W. Merrill-Stratton of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellants, Marc Eskin and Karen Eskin, each individually and as parents and next friends to Brendan Eskin, a minor, and Logan Eskin, a minor.

Warren D. McWhirter of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellee, USAA Casualty Insurance Company.


Parents, individually and on behalf of their two minor children, sued various defendants for damages resulting from an automobile accident caused allegedly by the negligence of defendants. The complaint, in addition to seeking damages for the personal injuries sustained by one of the minor children, seeks damages on behalf of the mother and one minor child for negligent infliction of emotional distress. An uninsured motorist insurance carrier filed an answer in the cause and subsequently moved for summary judgment, which ostensibly involved only the claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted the summary judgment motion but failed to denote that the grant was only a partial summary judgment for that particular claim. We modify the trial court's order by granting only a partial summary judgment and further reverse and remand that grant.




Court: TCA


Dixie W. Cooper and Catherine Corless, of Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellants.

W. Scott Sims, of Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee.


The plaintiff patient visited the defendant dentist periodically between 1998 and 2003. Between 2001 and 2003, the defendant performed dental work on the plaintiff including root canals, fillings, and crown work. Over this period, the plaintiff's dental condition became significantly worse. The plaintiff developed abscesses and infection in his mouth and suffered from substantial dental pain. The plaintiff’s last visit to the defendant was in October of 2003. Over the 2003 holidays, the plaintiff unsuccessfully attempted to contact the defendant for relief from his increasingly painful condition. The plaintiff ultimately received treatment from another dentist throughout 2004. After receiving the plaintiff's dental records from the defendant in October of 2004, the treating dentist informed the plaintiff that the defendant's treatment had been negligent. The plaintiff filed a dental malpractice action against the defendant on January 12, 2005. The trial court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment based on the one-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims, finding that the plaintiff should have discovered the injury by the time of the plaintiff's last visit to the defendant in October of 2003. The plaintiff filed a timely notice of appeal. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Melanie R. Snipes, Cartersville, Georgia (on appeal and at trial); and Wade Hinton, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Edgar Bailey, Jr.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Boyd M. Patterson, Jr. and Bates W. Bryan, Jr., Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Edgar Bailey, Jr., was convicted of first degree premeditated murder and felony murder, which the trial court merged together; three counts of aggravated assault, Class C felonies; and setting fire to personal property, a Class E felony. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder conviction, five years for each aggravated assault conviction, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for the setting fire to personal property conviction, with all sentences to be served concurrently. On appeal, he argues: (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress; (2) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (3) the trial court erred in allowing expert testimony from a police officer; (4) the trial court erred in allowing a witness's tape-recorded statement after the witness testified that he could not recall the incident; (5) the trial court erred in allowing a photograph if the deceased victim into evidence; and (6) the trial court erred in not instructing the jury on the natural and probable consequences rule for first degree murder and felony murder. Following our review, we reverse the conviction for first degree premeditated murder and remand for a new trial; affirm the remaining convictions, including that for felony murder; and remand for resentencing as to the conviction for setting fire to personal property because the trial court erroneously considered the offense a Class A misdemeanor, rather than a Class E felony.


Revised Opinion

Court: TCCA


Ardena J. Garth and Donna Robinson Miller, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kacy Dewayne Cannon.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; William Cox, III, District Attorney General; Mary Sullivan Moore and Boyd Patterson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Kacy Dewayne Cannon, was convicted of aggravated rape, and the trial court sentenced him to thirty-two and one half years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it denied the Defendant's motion to suppress the identification of his DNA profile from the DNA databank; (2) the trial court erred when it admitted into evidence pantyhose because the State failed to establish a proper chain of custody; (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain the Defendant's conviction; (4) his constitutional right to confrontation was violated; (5) the trial court erred when it denied the Defendant's motion to recuse; and (6) the trial court erred when it sentenced the Defendant. Finding that there exists reversible error with regard to the sentencing of the Defendant, we affirm the conviction and remand for re-sentencing.



Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, for the Appellant, Marcellus Hurt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Marcellus Hurt, was convicted by a Madison County jury of three counts of misdemeanor theft, two counts of burglary of a vehicle, one count of felony vandalism over $500, one count of possession of burglary tools, and one count of misdemeanor evading arrest. As a result of these convictions, Hurt received an effective sentence of six years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days in confinement. On appeal, Hurt raises two issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support his convictions for burglary of a vehicle and possession of burglary tools; and (2) whether his sentence is excessive. Following review of the record, we affirm the convictions and sentences as imposed.



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