Governor's budget includes $105 million for judicial branch
Gov. Bredesen proposed budget contains about $105 million for the judicial branch, including $1,052,000 in recurring money for a mandated judicial salary increase; $100,000 in additional funding for office rental; and more funding to offset an increase in mileage, postage and per diem expenses.
In the capital budget, the Administrative Office of the Courts would receive one-time funding of up to $2 million to make grants for security enhancements at local courthouses and
up to $600,000 to make audio/video upgrades for local courts. The budget also proposes one-time expenditures to establish an accrued liability account for the indigent representation fund, at $3 million, and $1 million for the guardian ad litem program. The governor's proposal does not include money that had been requested for judicial
conferences, the 22nd district judgeship or the Court of the Judiciary. Funding for these items may be sought through the appropriation process.
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Howard H. Vogel
SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List
SCOTTIE R. BROWN V. INTERNATIONAL COMFORT PRODUCTS CORPORATION (USA) AND TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, WORKERS' COMPENSATION DIVISION, SECOND INJURY FUND
This is a corrected opinion.
Gene Hallworth, Hallworth & Associates, Columbia, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Scottie R. Brown.
Terry L. Hill, Manier & Herod, P.C., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, International Comfort Products Corporation (USA), et al.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Juan G. Villasenor, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Second Injury Fund.
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated Section 50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court found that the employee was entitled to a permanent partial disability award of eighty-five percent (85%) to the left lower extremity. The employee contends that the trial court erred by (1) finding that the employee was not permanently and totally disabled, and (2) commenting upon the reputation of an expert witness. The parties also raise the issue of the apportionment of liability to the Second Injury Fund if the employee is found to be permanently and totally disabled. We affirm the trial court in all respects.
SECRETARY OF VETERAN'S AFFAIRS v. JOHN FRAZIER/OCCUPANT
Susan L. Frazier, Columbia, Tennessee, Pro Se.
Sharon Fewell and Matthew Graves, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Secretary of Veteran's
This is an appeal of a detainer action by the occupant of the premises. Susan Frazier appeals the
grant of summary judgment in favor of the Secretary of Veteran's Affairs, the owner of the premises.
Pursuant to the order, Ms. Frazier was ordered to vacate the premises at 410 Winding Way in
Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee. Finding no error, we affirm.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, EX REL. MARK MURRAY v. ALMA D. NEISWINTER
Trudy L. Bloodsworth, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alma D. Neiswinter.
Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, and Warren Jasper, Assistant Attorney General,
for the appellee, State of Tennessee, ex rel. Mark Murray.
This is a post-divorce petition for criminal contempt for failure to pay child support. The father was
designated the primary residential parent for the parties' two children, and the mother was required
to make child support payments. The State, on behalf of the father, filed a petition for criminal
contempt against the mother for her failure to make the required child support payments. After a
hearing, the trial court determined that, for a five-month period, the mother willfully and
intentionally failed to make the required payments. She was sentenced to ten days in prison for each
offense. The mother now appeals, arguing, inter alia, that her conviction must be reversed because
the trial court failed to make an explicit finding that she had the ability to make the payments during
the five-month period. We affirm, finding that the trial court made the necessary findings of fact,and that the evidence was sufficient to support its conclusion.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SCOTT W. GRAMMER
Larry Young and Susie Lodico, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Scott W. Grammer.
Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General;
William H. Cox III, District Attorney General; and Mary Sullivan Moore and Rachel Winfrey,
Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
A Hamilton County jury convicted the Defendant, Scott W. Grammer, of three counts of aggravated
sexual battery. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to eleven years for each conviction and
ordered two of the sentences be served consecutively, resulting in an effective sentence of twenty-
two years. The Defendant now appeals, asserting that: (1) the trial court erred when it permitted the
victim to testify to instances of sexual abuse not included in the indictment; (2) the trial court erred
when it excluded, pursuant to Rule 412 of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence, evidence of an
alternative source of the victim's sexual knowledge; (3) the trial court erred when it denied the
Defendant's motion for discovery of the victim's medical and psychological records; (4) the
Defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated; (5) the State violated Rule 16(c) of the Tennessee
Rules of Criminal Procedure by failing to provide the Defendant with some photographs and a poem
written by the victim; (6) the trial court erred when it permitted the State to introduce excessive
photographs of the victim into evidence; and (7) the jury's verdict was improper. We affirm the
judgments of the trial court.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER SHANE HARRELL
Mark Stephens, John Halstead, and Christy Murray, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant
Christopher Shane Harrell.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney
General; Randall E. Nichols, Jr., District Attorney General; Jo Helm, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee
The Defendant, Christopher Shane Harrell, was convicted of first degree murder, attempted first
degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated robbery, and evading arrest.
The trial court sentenced the Defendant to life without parole plus twenty years of incarceration to
be served consecutively. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it
instructed the jury; (2) the trial court erred when it refused his request to play his entire pretrial
statement to the jury; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; (4) the trial court
erred when it admitted hearsay statements into evidence; and (5) the trial court erred when it
overruled the Defendant's objection to the State's reference to him as a "coward" and a "murderous
coward" in its closing argument. After thoroughly reviewing the record and the applicable
authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ZACHARY V. HENNING
Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender; and Kari I. Weber and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District
Public Defenders, for the Appellant, Zachary V. Henning.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General;
Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Tracey A. Brewer-Walker, Assistant District
Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.
The defendant, Zachary V. Henning, was convicted at a jury trial in Lauderdale County Circuit Court
of aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10.000.
He was sentenced, as a Range I offender, to 10 years for aggravated robbery, three years for
aggravated assault, and two years for theft of property. The trial court merged the conviction of
aggravated assault with the aggravated robbery conviction and imposed the theft sentence to run
concurrently with that for aggravated robbery, for an effective sentence of 10 years. On appeal, the
defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and complains that his sentence is
excessive. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we conclude that the evidence is
sufficient to support the jury's guilty verdicts but that multiple convictions for aggravated robbery
and theft violate double jeopardy protections. Accordingly, the defendant's conviction judgments
for aggravated assault and theft are vacated, and the jury's "guilty verdict" for the theft is merged
into the judgment of conviction of aggravated robbery. The defendant's aggravated robbery sentence
is affirmed, and we remand solely for the correction and entry of an appropriate judgment consistent
with this opinion.
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. FRANK LEE TATE
Frank Lee Tate, Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney
General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Terry Dycus, Assistant District Attorney
General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.
Following a jury trial, Defendant, Frank Lee Tate, was convicted of aggravated rape, a Class A
felony, and incest, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range III, career
offender, to concurrent sentences of sixty years for his aggravated rape conviction and fifteen years
for his incest conviction. In his pro se appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting
evidence, the trial court's evidentiary rulings, and his classification as a career offender for
sentencing purposes. The State argues on appeal that the trial court erred in not sentencing
Defendant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole after finding that Defendant was a
repeat violent offender. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm Defendant's convictions
and his sentence for his incest conviction. We set aside the sentence for aggravated rape, and remand
this matter for a new sentencing hearing on the sole issue of whether Defendant should be sentenced
as a repeat violent offender or as a career offender for his aggravated rape conviction.
Delegation of Authority by the General Assembly to State Wildlife Agencies
TN Attorney General Opinions
Opinion Number: 07-19
| Legislative News
Knox Term Limits
|Evolution v. creationism: senator wants a final answer
|A state senator has filed a resolution that asks the Department of Education questions about life -- like if the universe was created by a supreme being or not -- and he wants answers on the record from the DOE by next January. The resolution asks the Senate to endorse his questions. The gist of his questions is "why is creationism not taught as an alternative concept, explanation, or theory, along with the theory of evolution in Tennessee public schools?" Of course, the evolution of this argument has deep Tennessee roots, going back to the famous "Monkey Trial" in 1925.
|Read more about the resolution and the Scopes Trial at NashvillePost.com
|TennCare for children battle heats up again
|A federal judge last week set a deadline for TennCare officials and for plaintiff attorneys to demonstrate whether the state is following a 1998 court order to boost health care for nearly 679,000 children. On May 1, the court will review the report and try to move the case forward.
Michele Johnson, attorney with the Tennessee Justice Center, which has represented TennCare enrollees in three major cases, says the state continues to avoid fixing problems, but a spokeswoman for TennCare countered that "No one can question our commitment to meeting the medical needs of kids on TennCare."
|The Chattanooga Times Free Press has more
|Little Rock schools no longer under court order
|Unlike 50 years ago, there were no angry mobs when a federal judge on Friday ruled on the fate of the Little Rock School District. The question 50 years ago was what steps the federal government would take to enforce a 1954 Supreme Court ruling, in Brown vs. Board of Education, that it was unconstitutional to operate separate but equal schools for children of different races.
Friday's ruling by U.S. Dist. Judge William R. Wilson released the district from five decades of federal intervention, saying that Little Rock, which now has a black-majority school board, was satisfactorily evaluating its academic programs in the effort to improve achievement by black students.
|The Commercial Appeal carried this AP story
|Paper questions next steps for Shelby charter
|Since Shelby County's charter is similar to the one the state Supreme Court just invalidated in Knox County, Shelby is beginning to take a look at what needs to be done. In Sunday's editorial, the Commercial Appeal calls for broad action and asks
if there shouldn't be talk of consolidation, since the government and the area it serves is so different than when it first began.
|Read the editorial
|Summers supports Tennessee Plan
|Former Tennessee Attorney General Paul G. Summers says that although the Tennessee Plan may need revising, it should not be abolished. "Judges should not have to raise campaign money from groups who might have cases before them," he writes in and editorial in
|Lawyer squabble in court doesn't change sentence
|A life-long drug dealer who was in court last week, accused U.S. Attorney Mike Winck of causing her to stay in the drug world and endangering her life in the process so she could be a snitch for the government. Even her lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Kim Tollison, verbally attacked Winck in court, arguing that the prosecutor had promised the 49-year-old woman a break and then reneged when she refused to plead guilty to a crime of which she claims innocence. U.S. District Judge Tom Varlan didn't buy it, saying, "This defendant, unfortunately, has been committing felony drug offenses most of her adult life." Then he sentenced her to nearly 25 years in prison.
|The Knoxville News Sentinel has the story
|Opinion: Commissioners should spend time with juvenile offenders
|Columnist Otis Sanford writes about his experience volunteering in Shelby County's Juvenile Court mandatory program for offenders, called Great Opportunities for Additional Learning (GOAL). Sanford challenges county commissioners who are embroiled in the struggle to add or not add another judge in that court, to volunteer and witness a "necessary and worthwhile" program.
|Read the column in the Commercial Appeal
|Washington County grapples with ways to pay for justice center
|Washington County commissioners were set to revisit today their options for paying back more than $135 million in bonds earmarked for the county's school building and jail expansion/justice center projects. In April, they rescinded a vote to place a $25 wheel tax referendum before county voters.
|The timesnew.net has the story
|Note to future defendants: leave drugs at home
|A drug defendant in Bedford County apparently had crack cocaine in his pocket when he came to court, prompting court officials to wonder "How stupid can you be?"
|Read what happened in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette
|Knox Term Limits
|Commission asks newspaper for time
|The Knox County Commission today voted to ask the News Sentinel to put a hold on its lawsuit until a state committee reviewing the Open Meetings Act can make a recommendation to state legislators. The Sentinel had proposed a compromise in which the lawsuit would be dropped in exchange for the commission agreeing to redo the appointments in question.
|The News Sentinel has the story
|Commissioner 'threatens' News Sentinel
|One of Knox County's newly appointed commissioners suggested that the county should quit running legal advertisements and public notices in the News Sentinel, comments that the newspaper took as a "threat."
|The Commercial Appeal carried this AP story
|Pioneer lawyer Berger dies
|David Berger, a class-action lawsuit pioneer who won major cases in the Three Mile Island nuclear accident as well as disputes with oil companies, has died, the Associated Press reports. He was 94.
|Read about him at timesnews.net
|Scott decision to be remembered 150 years later
|Beginning next month, St. Louis will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Dred Scott decision with special programs, events and a yearlong exhibit. In 1857, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, in announcing the decision in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford, stated that Americans of African ancestry were not eligible to be citizens, based on the historical claim that they "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." The exhibit will be in the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, where the Scott case was argued.
|The News Sentinel has more