Seat on Judicial Evaluation Commission to be filled

The Tennessee Bar Association is accepting applications from members interested in being nominees to the Judicial Evaluation Commission. The seat for which the TBA will nominate is currently being held by Sarah Sheppeard of Knoxville, who is not eligible for reappointment.

The TBA nominates three people for the commission and the Speaker of the House of Representatives will choose the commission member from those nominees. If you are interested, contact TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur by mail at 221 Fourth Ave. North, Suite 400, Nashville, TN 37219. Include a letter of interest and a resume. Applications must be received by April 13. The Board of Governors will choose the TBA's nominees at its April 29 meeting. Complete details about the procedure the board will employ may be found on the TBA web site at:

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


Court: TSC


Court: TWCA


Jennifer L. Chadwell, Knoxville Tennessee, for the Appellant, Rodney L. Marlowe

Hanson R. Tipton, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Town of Oliver Springs


This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel in accordance to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 50-6-225 (e)(3) (2005) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employee appeals a finding of non-compensability due to a lack of causation. We affirm.


Court: TWCA


Joshua A. Wolfe, LEITNER, WILLIAMS, DOOLEY & NAPOLITAN, P.L.L.C., 180 Market Place Blvd., Knoxville, TN, 37922, for the Appellant, Haskell E. Sutton.

Darren E. Ridenour, RIDENOUR & RIDENOUR, P. O. Box 530, Clinton, TN, 37717-0530, for the Appellee, Wackenhut Services, Inc.


This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. Section 50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court concluded that the employee had sustained a fifty-five (55) percent permanent, partial disability to the binaural hearing as a result of work related exposure to loud weapon noise. On appeal, the employer contends that the trial court erred in (1) determining that the action was not barred by the applicable statute of limitations, (2) determining that the last injurious injury rule was inapplicable and (3) awarding benefits based upon an excessive permanent, partial disability rating. The employee contends that the trial court's award should be upheld. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Tony N. Brayton, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wiley Hawthorne.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General and Michelle Parks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

On November 2, 2004, the appellant, Wiley Hawthorne, was indicted on one count of attempted first degree murder and one count of felony reckless endangerment. On July 27, 2005, a jury found the appellant guilty on both counts. On August 26, 2005, the trial court sentenced the appellant to twenty-two years for attempting to commit first degree murder and eighteen months for reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, the sentences to run concurrently. On September 9, 2005, the trial court denied the appellant's motion for a new trial. The appellant filed a notice of appeal. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions on both counts of the indictment. Viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the State, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient for a rational trier of fact to have found the accused guilty of both counts of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, we affirm the appellant's convictions.


Court: TCCA


John Herbison, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jackie Lee Holliman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General, Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Hugh Garrett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Jackie Lee Holliman, pleaded guilty in Davidson County Criminal Court to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual battery. He agreed to two concurrent eight-year terms, suspended with eight years' probation. Violation of probation warrants were served, resulting in the trial court revoking the defendant's probation. Tthe trial court's order.


Court: TCCA


C. Michael Robbins and Coleman Garrett, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rodicus Johnson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson and James Lammey, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Rodicus Johnson, was indicted for first degree murder, felony murder, attempted1 premeditated murder, and conspiracy to commit premeditated first degree murder. He was later indicted for aggravated perjury relating to his testimony given during a pre-trial hearing on his motion to suppress. The defendant requested consolidation of the indictments for a single trial. A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant of the lesser offenses of second degree murder and reckless endangerment and of aggravated perjury. The trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years for second degree murder, six months for reckless endangerment ,and two years and six months for aggravated perjury. The trial court ordered the sentences for second degree murder and reckless endangerment to be served concurrently and the aggravated perjury charge to be served consecutively to the others, for a total effective sentence of twenty-seven years and six months. In this appeal, the defendant contends that his conviction of aggravated perjury should be reversed because: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction or corroborate the testimony of an accomplice as relates to the shooting; (2) the language of the indictment was insufficient to allege the offense of aggravated perjury; and (3) the trial court erred in failing to order a new trial because the prosecution failed to disclose to the defendant that they would take a key witness' testimony into consideration regarding his pending charges. After careful review, we find no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender, and Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Michael LaGuardia, Kingsport, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Tonya McMurray.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Senior Counsel; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Tonya McMurray, appeals from the trial court's denial of probation or alternative sentencing. She pled guilty to bringing drugs into a penal institution (Class C felony) and to delivering a Schedule IV controlled substance (Class D felony), as a Range I offender. She received a sentence of three years and a fine of $250 on count one, and a concurrent sentence of three years and a $2,000 fine on count two. Although this defendant is presumed to be a favorable candidate for alternative sentencing, her long history of criminal conduct and failure of past efforts at rehabilitation were more than adequate reasons to deny her any alternative sentence. After careful review, we affirm the judgments from the trial court.


Court: TCCA


H. Wayne Grant, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Frank Ray Ruth.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; Bill Cox, District Attorney General; and Bates Bryan, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Frank Ray Ruth, was indicted for thirty-seven counts of filing false sales tax returns and one count of Class C felony theft of property. The district attorney general denied the Defendant's application for pretrial diversion. The trial court reversed, concluding that the district attorney abused his discretion. The State obtained an interlocutory appeal from this Court pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 10. Following our review of the record, the judgment of the Hamilton County Criminal Court ordering the district attorney general to grant the Defendant diversion is reversed. This case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.


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Knox Term Limits
Newspaper sues commission for violating Sunshine Law
The Knoxville News Sentinel filed suit in Chancery Court today against the Knox County Commission for holding secret meetings and making backroom deals while appointing replacements for term-limited officeholders last week. The paper is seeking to void all the appointments made by commissioners, have a permanent injunction laid down by the court requiring that all future deliberations be made in public, and that the case be expedited.
Read it here
Commissioner goes to work for sheriff he helped hire
Former Knox County Commissioner Mark Cawood has taken a job as a court security officer for the Knox County Sheriff's Office, working for the new sheriff he helped appoint. Cawood left his commission post last week after the Supreme Court ousted him and 11 other county officials under the county charter's long-unenforced term-limits provision. His wife, Sharon, has started a new position too -- she was appointed to fill her husband's vacated commission seat.
The News Sentinel has more
Former trustee hired as new trustee's deputy
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The News Sentinel has the story
Legal News
Shelby County referee proud of Juvenile Court
In this guest column, Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court Referee Felicia Hogan takes issue with recent statements by County Commissioner Henri Brooks when he compared the court and its operations to a plantation. "I consider that statement a slap in the face to me and each of the court's 309 African-American employees," Hogan writes. "Such a statement implies that the court's African-American employees are lacking in educational acumen, intelligence, racial pride and strength of character."
Read the column in the Commercial Appeal
O'Connor talks about her decision to retire
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor tells the Associated Press that she would've preferred to stay on the court until she was ill and "really in bad shape" but that she stepped down to care for her husband, who has Alzheimer's. She also said her retirement plans hinged on then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist's actions: "I was concerned about whether he had an intention to step down since his plans might have altered my own. It's hard for the nation to grapple with two (retirements) at once," she said. carried this AP story
Crowded conditions in Sevier Courthouse prompt review
Sevier County officials took a "top to bottom" tour of their courthouse to determine what is needed to relieve crowding. Judge Rex Henry Ogle suggested a separate justice center, and although the entire group did not agree, the commissioners decided to take a fact-gathering field trip to new justice centers recently completed in Blount and Jefferson counties.
The Mountain Press has the story
Plans for questioning jurors in private raises concerns
The judge in a discrimination case against the Walgreen Company plans to take potential jurors into her chambers for questioning, if she finds it necessary to discover potential biases. "Folks are hesitant to answer your questions publicly and candidly," the Washoe County, Nevada, district court judge says. "Most, if they can say it privately and candidly, will be honest." This type of questioning is raising concerns among some because U.S. judicial proceedings are supposed to be open and accessible to the public to guarantee fairness and accountability.
The Commercial Appeal carried this AP story
Legislative News
Bowers spends most money on way out of office
Kathryn Bowers of Memphis, who resigned as a state senator on Sept. 1 while awaiting trial on bribery charges, nonetheless went on more out-of-state trips than any other state lawmaker last year, a Knoxville News Sentinel review of legislative travel expense reports shows.
Read more
Davenport to be honored
Brentwood lawyer Richard M. Davenport will be inducted to the Cleveland/Bradley County Old-timers Hall of Fame Feb. 24.
Read more about him in the Cleveland Daily Banner
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