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


Court: TSC


John E. Owings, Law Director, and Mary Ann Stackhouse, Deputy Law Director, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant, Knox County, Tennessee. L. Caesar Stair, III, Thomas N. McAdams, and Herbert S. Moncier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant, John Schmid (County Commissioner).

John P. Valliant, Jr., Arthur G. Seymour, Jr., and Matthew A. Grossman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellees, John R. Mills (County Commissioner), Larry Clark (County Commissioner), Billy Tindell (County Commissioner), David Collins (County Commissioner), Diane Jordan (County Commissioner), John Griess (County Commissioner), Phil Guthe (County Commissioner) and Sam Anderson (Board of Education).

Judge: WADE

In this expedited appeal, the primary issue presented for review is whether Knox County, Tennessee, has a valid governmental charter. A secondary issue is whether a term limits amendment to the county charter should be applied and, if so, to which of the elected county officials. We hold that while Knox County failed to comply with the enabling legislation for instituting a charter form of government, since September 1, 1990, Knox County has been governed under a de facto charter with a county mayor, county commissioners, and other de facto officers. For the reasons set out in this opinion, it is our conclusion that the term limits amendment meets due process guidelines and applies to all elected Knox County Government officials except for the court clerks and the school board member, each of whom is protected by either the state constitution or statute. The judgment of the Knox County Chancery Court, which invalidated both the charter and the amendment, is therefore affirmed in part and reversed in part.


Court: TCCA


Jodie A. Bell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby Blackmon.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Dee David Gay, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Bobby Blackmon, appeals the denial of his post-conviction petition and asserts that: (1) he was denied a full and fair post-conviction hearing; and (2) he received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Upon review, we conclude that the petitioner received a full and fair hearing and effective assistance of appellate counsel. The judgment denying post-conviction relief is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Michael Dwayne Edwards, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Michael Dwayne Edwards, was convicted by a Henry County jury of burglary and received a sentence of nine years as a Range III, persistent offender. His conviction was affirmed on appeal. State v. Michael Dwayne Edwards, No. W1999-00591-CCA-R3-CD, 2000 WL 674671 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Jackson, May 16, 2000), perm. to appeal denied (Tenn. Dec. 4, 2000). On March 22, 2006, the petitioner filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging his classification as a persistent offender. The trial court dismissed his petition without the appointment of counsel or an evidentiary hearing. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for appointment of counsel and an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the petitioner received an illegal sentence as the result of an improper range classification.


Court: TCCA


Robert Clarence Payne, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Appellant, Robert Clarence Payne, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for two counts of felony murder, one count of attempted aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated assault. On January 19, 2006, the defendant, through counsel, entered a guilty plea to the attempted aggravated robbery charge, a Class C felony, and received a sentence of fifteen years as a Range III, persistent offender as provided by the plea agreement. Also included in the agreement was that the sentence was to be served consecutive to the defendantís sentences in other cases. On April 21, 2006, the defendant filed a motion to modify his sentence pursuant to Tenn. R. Crim. P. 35(b), citing health and family reasons as his basis for the modification. The trial court denied the motion. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Trudy L. Bloodworth, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brian Roberson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Ron Davis, District Attorney General and Christina L. Ferrell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The defendant was indicted for sale of cocaine over .5 grams as the result of a purchase by a confidential informant. A jury found the defendant guilty as charged at the conclusion of his trial. The trial court held a sentencing hearing, found that the defendant was an habitual drug offender, as set out in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-417(l) and increased his punishment from a Class B felony as a Range III offender to a Class A felony as a Range III offender. The trial court sentenced the defendant to fifty-four years in the state pententiary. The defendant appeals both his conviction and his sentence raising a number of issues. We affirm the defendantís conviction but reverse the defendantís sentence and remand for resentencing.


Court: TCCA


Mark E. Blakely, Huntsville, Tennessee; (on appeal), John E. Appman, Jamestown, Tennessee, (at trial), for the appellant, Leroy Sexton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; C. Daniel Lins, Assistant Attorney General, William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and John W. Galloway, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, Defendant, Leroy Sexton, was convicted of rape of a child and was sentenced to serve twenty-five years confinement in the Department of Correction. Defendant subsequently filed a motion for new trial which was denied by the trial court. He now appeals arguing that he is entitled to a new trial because (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial, and (2) the trial court committed reversible error by allowing the prosecutor to make improper statements during closing argument. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authority over the Juvenile Court System and its Employees

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-01-11

Opinion Number: 07-04


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