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


Court: TSC


Court: TSC


M. Sue White, Seymour, Tennessee, for the appellant, Melissa Ann Layman.

Kevin C. Angel, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan Ray Taylor.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; James N. Ramsey, District Attorney General; and Jan Hicks, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


We granted and consolidated the applications for permission to appeal filed on behalf of Melissa Ann Layman and Jonathan Ray Taylor to determine the scope of a trial courtís discretion to deny a motion to nolle prosequi to which the defendant has consented. Laymanís appeal also presents the issue of whether a victimís family has a right to be heard at a pretrial hearing concerning a plea agreement or a nolle prosequi. We conclude that when an uncontested motion to nolle prosequi or dismiss a criminal charge is independent of a plea agreement, a trial courtís discretion to deny the motion under Rule 48(a) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure is limited to extraordinary circumstances indicating betrayal of the public interest. Because in each case the prosecutorís independent, uncontested motion to nolle prosequi the greater charge of the indictment was neither filed in bad faith nor motivated by considerations clearly contrary to manifest public interest, we hold that the trial court abused its discretion in rejecting the nolle prosequi. We also hold in Laymanís case that the victimís family did not have the right to be heard at the pretrial hearings concerning the plea agreement and nolle prosequi because such pretrial hearings are not critical stages of the criminal justice process as defined by Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-38-302(2). Any error in considering the statements of the family, however, was harmless. Accordingly, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and the Court of Criminal Appeals in each case and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

GARY R. WADE, J., concurring and dissenting.


Court: TSC


Mark S. McDaniel, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephen McKim.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Kevin Rardin, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLARK

We accepted this extraordinary appeal in order to (1) determine the effect of a district attorney generalís consideration of an irrelevant factor in deciding whether to grant pretrial diversion and (2) clarify when an interlocutory appeal from a denial of pretrial diversion should be granted. In this case, the defendant was indicted for criminally negligent homicide following the death of his daughter after the defendant left her in his car on a hot summer day. The defendant applied for pretrial diversion. The district attorney generalís office denied diversion, in part on the basis of its judgment that diversion of a negligent homicide ďappears to be an aberration of the law.Ē The trial court refused to overturn the prosecutorís decision, and the defendant applied for permission to pursue an interlocutory appeal. The trial court denied permission, and the defendant then applied to the Court of Criminal Appeals for permission to pursue an extraordinary appeal. The Court of Criminal Appeals denied the defendantís application. We granted review and hold that the district attorney general abused his discretion when he relied upon an irrelevant factor in denying pretrial diversion. The trial courtís judgment affirming the denial of the defendantís application for pretrial diversion is reversed, and this matter is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TCA


David H. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for appellant.

Jay W. Mader, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee.


Plaintiff sued her former employer on grounds of breach of contract, retaliatory discharge, and violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act, as well as the Tennessee Public Protection Act. The Trial Court granted defendant summary judgment. Plaintiff appealed and we affirm the Trial Court.

BETH FREEMAN, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. BLUE RIDGE PAPER PRODUCTS, INC.

This is a corrected opinion.

Court: TCA


W. Kyle Carpenter and Robert L. Vance, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant.

Gordon Ball and Thomas S. Scott, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee.


In this class action, the jury returned a verdict for plaintiffís class which the Trial Judge


Court: TCCA


James E. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, (on appeal); and Reba Robinson, Memphis, Tennessee, (at trial), for the appellant, Latisha Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; James Wax, Assistant District Attorney General; and Teresa McCusker, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


especially aggravated robbery, both Class A felonies. Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment for her felony murder conviction. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to twenty-three years for her especially aggravated robbery conviction and ordered her robbery sentence to be served consecutively to her sentence for felony murder. Defendant does not challenge the length or manner of service of her sentence. In her appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions; (2) the trial court erred in not suppressing her statement to the investigating officers; (3) the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury on facilitation; (4) the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of attempted especially aggravated robbery; and (5) Tennessee pattern instruction, criminal 43.04 is unconstitutional. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Randy L. May, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter and Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Randy L. May, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. He argues that the original judgments erroneously rendered him infamous; therefore, the judgments were void. After careful review, we conclude that a judgment that erroneously pronounces the petitioner infamous is not a colorable claim entitling him to habeas corpus relief. We affirm the trial courtís dismissal of the petition and denial of relief.


Court: TCCA


Thomas J. Seeley, III, Bristol, Tennessee; Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Terry L. Jordan, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Sherry Denise Stewart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Joseph E. Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Sherry Denise Stewart, pled guilty to violating her probation and now appeals the trial courtís order requiring her to serve the balance of her original, effective ten-year sentence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in accordance with Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee.


Court: TCCA


Edward Cantrell Miller, District Public Defender, and Amber D. Haas, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, James Geno Templeman.

Robert E. Cooper. Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; Al C. Schmutzer, Jr., District Attorney General; and John D. Sellers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, James Geno Templeman, appeals the sentence of the Circuit Court for Sevier County in which his driverís license was suspended for a period of two years as a result of his conviction for violating the implied consent law. It is undisputed that the defendant had a prior driving under the influence (D.U.I.) conviction which was used by the trial court in sentencing the defendant. On appeal, the defendant urges this court to impose the ten-year limitation contained in the D.U.I. statute to the implied consent statute to bar the use of any prior D.U.I. conviction more than ten years old. The State argues that the plain language of the statute contains no such limitation on the use of prior D.U.I. offenses, and we agree. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Families First Act Status

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-01-25

Opinion Number: 07-09

Superiority of a Properly Perfected Lien of the Department of Human Services ("DHS") for Overdue Child Support under Tenn. Code Ann. Section 36-5-901(a)(1) with respect to Attorney's Fees

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-01-26

Opinion Number: 07-10


Legal News
BPR Actions

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