Former TBA president, Chattanooga mayor, Walker dies

Chattanooga lawyer Robert Kirk Walker died this afternoon at 81. He was president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 1965-66 and mayor of Chattanooga in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Current Mayor Ron Littlefield said Walker "during his one term did the very unpopular thing of carrying out a massive annexation. But it was necessary to spread the footprint of the city. He took the heat. Then he went back to his law practice." Walker was an attorney with the Strang Fletcher Carriger Walker Hodge and Smith firm. Arrangements were not available at press time, but will be handled through the Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Chapel. Read more at

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


Court: TSC


Tony N. Brayton, Garland Erguden, and Robert Wilson Jones (on appeal) and Larry Nance and LaTonya Burrow (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Riels.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General, William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Gerald Harris and Michele Parks, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The trial court merged the felony murder convictions with the premeditated murder convictions, resulting in1 The defendant, James Riels, pled guilty to two counts of premeditated murder and two counts of felony murder for the murders of Mary Jane Cruchon and Franchion Pollack. He also entered guilty1 pleas to one count of especially aggravated robbery, one count of attempted especially aggravated robbery, and one count of aggravated burglary. Following a capital sentencing hearing, the jury found three aggravating circumstances in each murder: (1) the defendant was previously convicted of one or more felonies, the statutory elements of which involve the use of violence to the person; (2) the murder was especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel; and (3) the murder was knowingly committed, solicited, directed, or aided by the defendant while the defendant had a substantial role in committing or attempting to commit a robbery. Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-13-204(i)(2), (5), (7) (2003). The jury found one additional aggravating circumstance with respect to Franchion Pollack: the victim of the murder was seventy years of age, or older. Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-13-204(i)(14) (2003). The jury also found that these aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the jury imposed a sentence of death for each of the murder convictions. In a separate sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective thirty-five year sentence for the remaining noncapital convictions, to be served concurrently with the death sentences. The defendant appealed the sentences of death. After fully considering the issues2 raised by the defendant, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the sentences. Upon automatic appeal pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(a)(1) (2003), this Court entered an order specifying four issues for oral argument: (1) whether the trial court erred in allowing the State to cross-examine the defendant regarding the circumstances of the offenses and, if it did, was the error harmful; (2) whether the sentence was invalid under any of the mandatory issues for review set out in Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(c)(1)(A)-(D) (2003); (3) whether the trial court's instruction to the jury that aggravated robbery is a felony whose statutory elements involve the use of violence to the person violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and (4) whether the trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion to suppress. After a careful review of the record and relevant legal authority, we hold that the trial court erred in allowing the State to cross-examine the defendant and that the error was reversible. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and remand the case for a new capital sentencing hearing.

CAROLYN GOSS v. TENNALUM, a Division of Kaiser Aluminum

Court: TWCA


John D. Burleson, and Gregory Dean Jordan, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tennalum, a Division of Kaiser Aluminum.

Ricky L. Boren, Hill-Boren, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Carolyn Goss.


The Employer has appealed the determination by the trial court awarding compensation to the Employee. After consideration of the evidence, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel finds that the evidence does not preponderate against the finding of the trial court with regard to causation of the Employee's respiratory injury or the amount of vocational disability determined by the trial court.


Court: TCA


Brad W. Hornsby and Kerry Knox, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bradley Bruce Scofield.

Bert W. McCarter, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shaila Jan Scofield.


This is a post-divorce dispute over custody of the parties' three minor children. In the Final Decree of Divorce, Mother was designated as the primary residential parent. Nineteen months later, the father petitioned to change custody of the children based upon his impending retirement from active duty in the U. S. Army and the mother's multiple post-divorce relocations of her residence and alleged abuse of the children. The trial court dismissed the petition finding the evidence insufficient to constitute a material change in circumstances. We affirm.

IN RE S.R.C. & C.M.C.

Court: TCA


Charles L. Moffatt IV, Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellant, S.C.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Lauren S. Lamberth, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: LEE

The trial court terminated the parental rights of S.C. ("Father") to two of his daughters upon finding by clear and convincing evidence that grounds for terminating his parental rights existed and that termination was in the best interest of the children. On appeal, Father argues that statutory grounds did not exist to support the trial court's judgment terminating his parental rights. Upon our finding that there was clear and convincing evidence of Father's substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans entered into in this case, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Richard W. Deberry, Assistant District Public Defender, Camden, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Daniel Eugene Bradford.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Robert "Gus" Radford, District Attorney General; and John W. Overton, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Daniel Eugene Bradford, appeals the sentencing decision of the Hardin County Circuit Court. Under the terms of a plea agreement, Bradford pled guilty to aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault, receiving concurrent sentences of three years for the felony conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the misdemeanor conviction. The manner and service of the sentences were to be determined by the trial court. On appeal, Bradford challenges the trial court's denial of probation. After review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


William D. Massey (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, and Harold D. Archibald (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Calvin Fleming.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth Rice, District Attorney General; James Walter Freeland Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Calvin Fleming, was convicted of attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. The Defendant was sentenced, as a career offender, to an effective sentence of sixty years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it admitted photographs of the victim's wounds into evidence because the State failed to authenticate them; (2) the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the Defendant's convictions for attempted first degree murder because there was no proof of premeditation; and (3) his convictions for attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault violate constitutional principles of double jeopardy. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court as to the attempted murder, but we reverse the judgment as to the aggravated assault because the aggravated assault should have been merged into the attempted murder. Thus, we remand the case for the trial court to enter a judgment consistent with this opinion.


Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

Patrick R. McGill, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Anthony Keshun Goods.


The State appeals the habeas court's grant of a petition for habeas corpus relief filed by the Petitioner, Anthony Keshun Goods. The Petitioner alleged in his petition that his sentence was illegal because he was sentenced to concurrent terms when the law required him to be sentenced to consecutive terms. On appeal, the State contends the statutory requirement of consecutive sentences does not apply to the Petitioner, his petition is not yet ripe, and the remedy set out by the habeas court is improper. Finding reversible error in the judgment of the habeas court, we reverse the judgment and dismiss the habeas corpus petition.


Court: TCCA


Frank J. Scanlon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christin M. Johnson, LPN

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., State Attorney General and Reporter, Sara E. Sedgwick, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Board of Nursing.


A formerly licensed practical nurse appeals a default judgment revoking her license by the Board of Nursing and claims, inter alia, that the Board failed to comply with applicable notice requirements. Because the administrative record does not reflect consideration of the rule governing proceedings by default, we reverse.


Court: TCCA


Matthew R. Armour, Somerville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Shana McCoy-Johnson, Somerville, Tennessee (at guilty plea hearing), for the Appellant, Raymond Earl McKay.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Terry D. Dycus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Raymond Earl McKay, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief by the Fayette County Circuit Court. McKay pled guilty to one count of theft of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000, a Class D felony, and was sentenced, as a career offender, to twelve years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he asserts that his plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we conclude that McKay received erroneous advise from counsel during the plea bargaining process, which resulted in the entry of an involuntary and unknowing guilty plea. Finding both deficient performance and prejudice, the case is remanded to the trial court for withdrawal of the guilty plea.

Filling of Vacancies in County Offices

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-03-27

Opinion Number: 07-22


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