Wilder era ends; Ramsey takes top Senate job in 18-15 vote

John Wilder's three decades as lieutenant governor came to an end today, as did Democrats' 140-year leadership over the Tennessee Senate. A last-minute switch by Senator Rosalind Kurita, D-Clarksville, gave Republican Majority Leader Ron Ramsey of Blountville the edge over Wilder. Ramsey will assume the position of Senate speaker and lieutenant governor. You can view the vote on YouTube or read about it in The Tennessean:

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070109/NEWS0201/70109029

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

JOEL D. CURRY, ET AL. v. CITY OF HOHENWALD, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. Huskey, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellants, Joel D. Curry and Mary Lee (Peg) Curry.

Robert M. Burns and Hugh C. Gracey, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Hohenwald.

Judge: CAIN

Landowner filed action against city for injuries sustained when he stepped backwards onto defective water meter cover located in his front yard. Trial court dismissed the action having apportioned fault equally between parties as a result of landowner's admitted knowledge of dangerous condition. We reverse the allocation of fault and remand the matter for the determination of damages.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/curryj_010907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ERNEST BANKS

Corrected Opinion: file date corrected


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; Garland Erguden, Assistant Public Defender; and Harry Sayle, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Earnest Banks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William Gibbons, District Attorney General; Theresa McCusker, Assistant District Attorney General, and Scott Bearup, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Earnest Banks, pled guilty to burglarizing a motor vehicle. The trial court held a separate sentencing hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to three years as a Range II, multiple offender, to be served consecutively to a previous conviction. The trial court also denied Defendant's request for alternative sentencing. Defendant appeals on the grounds that the trial court erred in setting his sentence above the minimum and in denying his request for probation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/bankse_corr_010907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL LEE HOGAN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael Lee Hogan, pro se, Wartburg, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Ray Crouch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Michael Lee Hogan, appeals the Dickson County Circuit Court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Hogan pled guilty to one count of Class C felony sale of cocaine and, under the terms of the plea agreement, received a twelve-year sentence as a Range II offender. Although Hogan was sentenced as a Range II offender, his sentence of twelve years falls within the sentence range of a Range III, persistent offender. On appeal, Hogan asserts that the trial court erred by refusing to grant his motion to withdraw his guilty plea because his sentence is illegal as it exceeds the sentence range for a Range II offender. Following review of the issue, we affirm the trial court's denial of the motion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hoganm_010907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSHUA P. LOMAX

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William B. Lockert, III, District Public Defender, and Haylee A. Bradley, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Joshua P. Lomax.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Lisa C. Donegan, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Joshua P. Lomax, appeals the trial court's revocation of his community corrections sentence, arguing that the court abused its discretion by revoking his sentence based on his failure to pay court costs without first determining whether his nonpayment was willful. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/lomaxj_010907.pdf


WILLIAM W. OSEPCZUK v. RICKY J. BELL, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William W. Osepczuk, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General, and Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, William W. Osepczuk, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. After a thorough review of the parties' briefs and applicable law, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/osepczukw_010907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY RIGGS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Claudia S. Jack, District Public Defender; and R.H. Stovall, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Riggs.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General, T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Douglas A. Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Anthony Riggs, was found guilty of rape, a Class B felony, and was sentenced to twelve years' confinement. In his appeal, Defendant contends that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence and argues that the trial court sentenced him contrary to Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004). After a thorough review of the record, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/riggsa_010907.pdf


RONALD D. TOHN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ronald D. Tohn, pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

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

Judge: 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 summarily 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 summarily 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/2007/tohnr_010907.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. ERIC WILLIAMS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Eric Robert Felkner (at trial), and Garland Erguden (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Eric Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Stephen Crossnoe and Rachel Newton, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Eric Williams, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated robbery. On appeal, he alleges there was insufficient evidence for any rational jury to convict him of that crime. Finding no reversible error exists, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/williamse_010907.pdf


Use of National Guard for Emergency Purposes

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-01-08

Opinion Number: 07-03

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-03.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
BPR Actions

Legal News
Judge removed from Maddox case
A Mississippi judge, who has been presiding over a dispute involving the move of the multi-million dollar Maddox Foundation from Tennessee to Mississippi, was removed from the case by the Mississippi Supreme Court. In its order, the court said that comments the judge made about the case raised questions about his impartiality.
Read more from WMC-TV Memphis
In a related story, attorneys representing the state of Tennessee in the Maddox case were in Boston today to learn more about management of the foundation's assets, which is being handled by a Massachusetts firm.
The City Paper has more
Bush names new counsel
President George W. Bush has selected Fred Fielding to be his White House counsel, recruiting a seasoned Washington veteran who held the same job under President Ronald Reagan. Fielding -- a partner in the law firm of Wiley, Rein and Fielding -- most recently served on the panel that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The Commercial Appeal has more
BPR report available
The Board of Professional Responsibility has published its annual report for July 2005 through June 2006. The report includes statistics on the number of complaints, disbarments, suspensions, censures and private reprimands in the state. It also provides an overview of the board's Consumer Assistance Program, Ethics Opinion Service and Overdraft Notification Program.
Download the report
Juvenile court battle brews
Attorneys from both sides walked out of Chancery Court in limbo last Friday. During the hearing, the judge raised questions as to whether the juvenile court -- which had hoped to block any future attempt by the Shelby County Commission to add a second juvenile judge -- has a case. The judge gave the parties two weeks to build their arguments.
Memphis station WREG-TV reports
$3.5 million collected in healthcare fines
The state attorney general's office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations recovered more than $3.5 million on behalf of the Tennessee Medicaid Program in 2006 as a result of cracking down on health care fraud.
Learn more in a press release from the AG
Specter introduces attorney-client privilege act
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, R-Pa., reintroduced the Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act as S. 186 last week. In commenting on the legislation, ABA President Karen J. Mathis termed it "critically important to our nation's economic and legal health."
For more information, visit the ABA Web site
Tenn. attorney joins U.S. Congress
Nichole A. Francis, a former associate with the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC and most recently, district director for former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr., has been hired as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Homeland Security.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal has a profile of her careeer
Legislative News
Former state Rep. Hicks dies
Former state Rep. Bobby Hicks, who represented the state's 6th District from 1994 to 1998, died Sunday after an extended illness. Prior to serving in the state legislature, he served on the Washington County Commission for 12 years. He was 68. Funeral services were held today in Johnson City, reports the Tennessean.

BPR Actions
Memphis attorney reinstated
Gary A. Simanson was reinstated to the practice of law after complying with state requirements for continuing legal education.
View all attorneys suspended in 2006 for 2005 CLE violations
Georgia attorney reinstated
Susan S. Dennis of Atlanta was reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying her annual BPR fee.
View all attorneys suspended for 2006 fee violations

 
 
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