Supreme Court appointment process up for debate

Revisiting the debate on how Tennessee chooses Supreme Court justices may have more momentum this year given the unfolding process for appointing a fifth justice under the current Tennessee Plan. Memphis attorney Greg Grisham tells the Memphis Daily News that, "It is very important that we have qualified judges, and I think we are probably going to see bills introduced this year that may propose modifying the way we select judges in Tennessee." TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur points out, however, that "there have been 76 appointments under The Tennessee Plan, and this is really the first one that has had any material controversy." Read more:

http://www.memphisdailynews.com/Editorial/StoryFocus.aspx?&id=96072

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

JACQUES B. BENNETT v. VIRGINIA LEWIS, WARDEN and STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jacques B. Bennett, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; and James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Jacques B. Bennett, pled guilty to first degree murder in 1992 and was sentenced to life in prison. He petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the judgment against him was void because he was not present and not represented by counsel at his sentencing hearing and because the trial court did not follow statutory mandates in sentencing him. The trial court dismissed his petition without a hearing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/bennettj_020807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KENNETH D. HOOVER A.K.A. KENNETH JOHNSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jay Norman and Larry H. Hagar, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth D. Hoover a.k.a. Kenneth Johnson.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela S. Anderson and Rachel Sobrero, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Kenneth D. Hoover a.k.a. Kenneth Johnson, appeals his convictions and sentence. The defendant was found guilty of second degree murder (Class A felony), reckless endangerment (Class A misdemeanor), and possession of a weapon with the intent to employ it in the commission of a felony (Class E felony). The defendant received an effective sentence of twenty-nine years. On appeal, the defendant alleges that the trial court erred in admitting certain autopsy photographs and erred in imposing an excessive sentence. After review, we affirm the judgments of conviction and sentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hooverk_020807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JERRY LYNN OSBORNE, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Terry L. Jordan, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Lynn Osborne, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

In May of 2005, the Defendant, Jerry Lynn Osborne, Jr., was indicted for one count of theft under $500, seven counts of identity theft, and seven counts of fraudulent use of a debit card. In July of 2005, the Defendant was indicted for one count of driving under the influence and one count of theft over $1000. He pled guilty to all of the indicted charges and received an effective sentence of four years in the Department of Correction. The Defendant requested an alternative sentence of either probation or community corrections, which the trial court denied. The Defendant now argues that the trial court erred by denying his request for an alternative sentence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/osbornej_020807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANDREW SOIMIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

F. Michie Gibson, Jr. and T. J. Jones, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andrew Soimis.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; C. Daniel Lins, Assistant Attorney General; William Edward Gibson, District Attorney General; Anthony Craighead, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Andrew Soimis, the defendant, appeals his conviction for second degree murder (Class A felony) on the sole ground that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. After review, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient, and we affirm the judgment of conviction.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/soimisa_020807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GREGORY N. YORK

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael G. Hatmaker, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gregory N. York.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Scarlett Ellis and Tracy Jenkins, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Gregory N. York, appeals from the suspension of his driver's license for two years as a result of violating the implied consent law. The trial court used the defendant's prior Driving Under the Influence (D.U.I.) convictions that were over ten years old to enhance the suspension from one year to two years. 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. We decline this opportunity and affirm the judgment from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/yorkg_020807.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Knox Term Limits
Upcoming

Legal News
Hes answer Bakers:
stop the delay
In papers filed with the Supreme Court today, Jack and Casey He responded to the recent motion to stay issuance of mandate, filed by Jerry and Louise Baker in the case of A.M.H., the nine-year-old girl at the center of this heated battle for custody. The Bakers had asked for a stay in transferring A.M.H. to the Hes, her natural parents. The Hes call for an end to the delays.
Read the response
Lawsuit hopes to spotlight lenders' practices
After Anita Gray pawned her car to borrow $1,000, and later would have to repay more than $4,000 over the next 18 months, she decided to do something about it. Gray is one of three plaintiffs named in the Shelby County Circuit Court lawsuit that Memphis Area Legal Services hopes will galvanize support to reform practices among Tennessee's car title pledge lenders. As a second prong in that strategy, the Memphis and Shelby County Anti-Predatory Lending Coalition has drafted a bill expected to be introduced today in the General Assembly. It would trim fees that title pledge lenders can charge.
The Commercial Appeal has the story
Purcell wants legal opinion before acting on English bill
Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell is asking the Metro Law Department for "a full legal opinion" on a measure making English the official language of the city before he decides whether to sign it, veto it or let it become law without his signature. The ordinance, approved by the council on Tuesday, says Metro must communicate in English "except when required by federal law or when necessary to protect or promote public health, safety or welfare." The mayor has 10 business days to act.
Read more in the Tennessean
Phillips is legal counsel for Democratic Party
Brant Phillips has been named legal counsel for the Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP). He was appointed by Chairman Gray Sasser, who held the position for the last four years. A member of the litigation and government relations practice areas in the Nashville office of Bass Berry & Sims, Phillips has served as a volunteer lawyer for TNDP during the last four election cycles.

DA diagnosed with aggressive form of cancer
District Attorney General Ron Davis, who learned he had cancer last week, has now received news that it's terminal. Davis, 60, lead prosecutor in Hickman, Lewis, Perry and Williamson counties, has an aggressive form of cancer attacking his thyroid, according to a family spokesman. Davis was elected district attorney in 1998 and re-elected in 2006, running unopposed for his second term.
Read more in the Tennessean
Sheriff's removal in question after arrest
The recent arrest of Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley on drug charges has residents wondering if he will be removed from office. County Mayor Rogers Anderson said that because Headley is an elected official, he (Anderson) has no control over whether Headley remains in office. However, he could be removed through an ouster suit, which must be brought by the district attorney, the state's attorney general or the county attorney, according to Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 8-47-101.
The Williamson Herald details the case
AG lawyer arrested for DUI
Stephen Nunn, 55, a senior lawyer in the state Attorney General's office, was charged Tuesday night with drunken driving for at least the third time in recent years.
WSMV reports this AP story
Legislative News
State Sen. Jerry Cooper hospitalized after wreck
State Sen. Jerry Cooper remains hospitalized in stable condition today after veering left off the interstate, hitting a berm in the median and flipping his SUV about five times in Rutherford County last night.
Follow the story in the Tennessean
Barbara Cooper to head Black Caucus
Members of Tennessee's Black Caucus elected state Rep. Barbara Cooper of Memphis to head the group, the Associated Press reports. She replaces Rep. Johnny Shaw of Bolivar. Other caucus officers elected Tuesday were Ulysses Jones, Jr. of Memphis as vice chairman and Tommie Brown of Chattanooga as secretary.

Knox Term Limits
Open Meetings 101
In an editorial today, the Knoxville News Sentinel challenges County Commission Chairman Scott Moore's accusation that four commissioners violated the state's open meetings law by gathering in the mayor's office. The paper points out that the members were waiting for a press conference and did not discuss business, and argues this situation is different from private discussions that took place on Jan. 31 while the commission considered replacements for term-limited officials.
Read the editorial
Opinion: Election might
'clean up the mess'
MetroPulse argues for the election of commissioners, even though "the new Commission would have to approve a resolution asking the state legislature to authorize such a special election." The newspaper says it's time to "clean up this mess in favor of the county's electorate."
Read the editorial
Upcoming
Minority Clerkship Job Fair set
The Nashville Bar Association's annual Damali Booker 1L Minority Clerkship Job Fair is set for Feb 16 and 17 and will kick off with a welcome reception on the 16th at 5:30 p.m. at Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry. The job fair activities are co-sponsored this year by the Lawyers Association for Women.
For more details check the NBA web site

 
 
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