Supreme Court backs Bredesen in judicial selection suit

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled today in favor of Gov. Bredesen in a case involving the appointment of justices to the state's high court. The justices agreed with Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle that Houston Gordon and Buck Lewis are not eligible to be included on subsequent panels of candidates because the governor turned down a slate that had included them. The court, however, rejected Lyle's remedy, directing the Judicial Selection Commission to reinstitute the selection process for all three nominees.
Read the decision

Following release of the opinion, the commission announced it will meet Feb. 28 to determine how to fill the vacancy. "We will meet to further review the court's opinion, ensure strict compliance with it and determine how to proceed," Chairman Dale Tuttle said.

The News Sentinel reports on the court's decision:,1406,KNS_348_5367776,00.html

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Court: TSC


Charles W. Bone and Charles Robert Bone, Nashville, Tennessee; Lyle Reid, Brownsville, Tennessee; and Irma Merrill Stratton and Timothy W. Smith, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, J. Houston Gordon.

John Spaulding Hicks, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, George T. Lewis, III

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Janet M. Kleinfelter, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, Governor Phil Bredesen

Ben H. Cantrell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission


This appeal concerns the process for appointing a new justice to become the fifth member of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The issues in this case involve the proper interpretation of sections 17-4-101 to 17-4-118 of the Tennessee Code Annotated (the Tennessee Plan) and matters of constitutional law. For the reasons stated below, we hold that: (1) the first list of nominees certified to the Governor under the Tennessee Plan was not rendered invalid upon one nominee's subsequent withdrawal from consideration for appointment; (2) an individual listed on a panel of nominees certified to the Governor by the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission (the Commission) which has been rejected by the Governor may not be included on the second panel of nominees certified to the Governor under the Tennessee Plan; (3) the Governor's rejection of Lewis and Gordon did not violate the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA) because a nominee or applicant to fill a judicial vacancy is an not "employee" for purposes of the THRA; (4) the equal protection challenge to the Governor's rejection of the first panel is a non-justiciable political question; (5) the equal protection challenge to the Governor's rejection of the first panel is otherwise without merit; (6) the Governor's letter rejecting the first list of nominees did not encroach on the powers assigned to the Commission by the Tennessee Plan; and (7) the trial court erred in its determination of the appropriate remedy.


Court: TCCA


William Louis Ricker and Kim C. Miller, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Danny Lloyd Davis

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Amber DePriest and Eric D. Christiansen, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee


The defendant, Danny L. Davis, was convicted of vehicular homicide in the Criminal Court for Greene County. He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, he raises the following six issues for review: (1) the trial court erred by failing to grant his motion of acquittal when the State failed to show time of death or cause of death through medical testimony; (2) the trial court erred in overruling his objection to the State's opinion testimony regarding the speed of the defendant's vehicle at the time of the accident; (3) the trial court erred in failing to grant a mistrial regarding the State's opinion testimony; (4) the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion in limine to prohibit any testimony regarding the purchase of beer prior to the accident where consumption of alcohol was not an element of the alleged crime; (5) the trial court erred in using factors not submitted to the jury in determining the defendant's sentence; and (6) the evidence was insufficient to support a finding of guilt for vehicular homicide. After careful review, we find no error exists and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


John H. Henderson, District Public Defender, and Dana M. Ausbrooks, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Charles A. Green

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General, and Jeffrey Lynn Long, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee


The defendant, Charles A. Green, was convicted on his guilty pleas of three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The defendant, a Range I offender, received four-year sentences, with two counts to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of eight years. The effective sentence involved split confinement of one year in jail and seven years on probation. The trial court later found that the defendant had violated his probation by committing a new offense and revoked his probation. The defendant appeals, arguing that substantial evidence does not support that determination. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andre Hicks

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee


Petitioner, Andre Hicks, appeals the order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that it should have been granted because he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court's order of dismissal.

Secretary of State's Publication of Public and Private Acts

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-02-16

Opinion Number: 07-18


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