Learn key tools for successfully handling juvenile cases

If you're new to the practice of juvenile law or only occasionally venture into Juvenile Court, this upcoming program from the TBAís TennBarU is for you. This "nuts and bolts" presentation on April 9 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville will provide you an overview of the types of cases juvenile courts handle, who some of the 'players' are in those courts, and how statutes and evidentiary rules make them different from other courts.


Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi.

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TBA members can get the full-text versions of these opinions three ways detailed below. All methods require a TBA username and password. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on-line at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi

Here's how you can obtain full-text version. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion. Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

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


Court: TCA


John D. Kitch, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Earl Jay Anderson.

C. LeAnn Smith, Nashville, for the appellee, Julie Barnes Anderson.


The trial court granted both parties a divorce pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 36-4-129 and awarded custody of their two minor children to the wife by stipulation. The court ordered the husband to pay child support in accordance with the current guidelines, as well as both rehabilitative alimony and alimony in futuro. The husband argues on appeal that the trial court erred because our Supreme Court has barred concurrent awards of both types of alimony. However, a recent legislative enactment has specifically authorized such awards, thereby rendering husbandís argument moot. The husband also argues that the total amount of alimony ordered was excessive and was beyond his ability to pay, and that the trial court erred in decreeing an automatic increase in alimony in futuro when the children reach the age of maturity. We agree with both contentions and we modify the trial court's alimony award accordingly. In all other respects we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCA


Peter Alliman, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lauren Eugene Leslie.

Clifford E. Wilson, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gene Leslie.


The plaintiff, Lauren Eugene Leslie, fell down steps at his parents' home as he was carrying a toilet that he had removed from their "powder room." The plaintiff filed this suit against his father, Gene Leslie, alleging negligence. Both the plaintiff and his father testified at trial that the plaintiff fell because he tripped over a bowl of dog food that had been left on the steps by the defendant. This version of how the accident happened was at odds with a statement given by the defendant to an insurance adjuster one month after the accident. Following a bench trial, the court concluded that the plaintiff had failed to prove that his fall was caused by the bowl of dog food. The plaintiff appeals, challenging the trial court's credibility determinations and conclusion that causation had not been proven. We affirm.



Court: TCA


John C. Cavett, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellant, F.E. Moon.

David H. Rotroff, Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Appellee, Lee Buff.


F.E. Moon ("Plaintiff") sued Lee Buff ("Defendant") claiming, in part, that Plaintiff had acquired real property known as Courthouse Street by virtue of adverse possession. The case was tried without a jury. After trial, the Trial Court entered an order finding and holding, inter alia, that Plaintiff had not proven adverse possession and that Defendant, and any other adjoining property owners whose deeds refer to Courthouse Street and other unopened roads shown in the plat of record, had the right to use Courthouse Street and those other roads as a means of ingress and egress. Plaintiff appeals to this Court. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Robert A. Anderson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Linda Alexander Owens.

Roger A. Maness, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, James Emery Owens.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the financial aspects of the dissolution of a marriage that lasted approximately twenty-five years. Both parties sought a divorce in the Circuit Court for Davidson County. Following a bench trial, the trial court declared the parties divorced, divided the parties' marital estate, and awarded the wife rehabilitative alimony for six years. On this appeal, the wife takes issue with the trial courtís valuation and division of the marital estate and with the amount and duration of the spousal support award. She also takes issue with the trial court's refusal to award her attorney's fees and discretionary costs. We have determined that the evidence does not support the trial court's valuation of one marital property interest and that a more equitable division of the marital estate is required. We have also determined that the amount and length of the wife's spousal support should be increased. Finally, we have determined that the trial court erred by denying the wife's request for payment of her attorney's fees but did not err by declining to award her discretionary costs.


IN RE R.F., N.F., J.F., & Z.F.

Court: TCA


D. Mitchell Bryant, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, W.F.

Eric S. Armstrong, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, T.F.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Douglas Earl Diamond, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Childrenís Services.

Judge: LEE

This is an appeal of the trial court's termination of the parental rights of W.F. and T.F. to their four minor children upon finding by clear and convincing evidence that grounds for termination existed and that termination was in the children's best interest. On appeal, the parents argue that there was insufficient proof of the statutory grounds for termination. Upon our determination that there was clear and convincing evidence both of the parents' substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan entered into in this case and of T.F.'s mental incompetence, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee; Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender; and Shawn G. Graham, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Roy Albert Ivey.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Mike Gallegos, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Roy Albert Ivy, pled guilty to the offense of theft of property greater than $10,000 (a Class C felony) and agreed to be sentenced as a Range I offender, with the length and manner of service of the sentence to be determined by the trial court. After a sentencing hearing, the court sentenced the defendant to serve five years in the Department of Correction. The trial court found that confinement was necessary to protect society, to avoid depreciation of the seriousness of the offense, and to provide an effective deterrence to others. The trial court also found that the defendant's criminal history and failure at past efforts for rehabilitation made it necessary to order a sentence of confinement. The trial court did mitigate the defendantís sentence downward in the range from a sentence of six years to five years, based on his compliance with an alternative sentence in another county. After careful review, we conclude the trial court properly sentenced the defendant and find no error. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Kristi M. Davis, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal), and Charles A. Carpenter, Maryville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Jacob Allen Reynolds.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David E. Coenen, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Rocky H. Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, Jacob Allen Reynolds.


The defendant, Jacob Allen Reynolds, pled guilty to one count of vandalism (Class C felony) and, after a sentencing hearing, was ordered to serve four years of confinement in the Department of Correction as a Range I, standard offender. Additionally, he was ordered to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $11,407.75. On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in sentencing him to four years of confinement. After careful review, we hold that no error exists and affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Raymond Mack Garner, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Jeremiah Leon Wright.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Tammy M. Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Jeremiah Leon Wright, after pleading guilty to rape, a Class B felony, was sentenced to the maximum of twelve years as a Range I, violent offender. The defendant appeals, contending that the trial court erred in failing to consider the defendant's mental health when mitigating the length of his sentence. We conclude that the new sentencing statute places greater discretion with the trial court in fashioning a sentence and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Jeffery Yates, Pro se.

Michael E. Moore, Acting Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Pentecost, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Jeffery Yates, appeals the Hardeman County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, and attempted aggravated robbery. He contends that his sentences are illegal and, therefore, that his judgments of conviction are void. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the trial court's denial of the petition for habeas corpus relief.



Court: TCCA


Phyllis Aluko and Robert Jones (on appeal), and Timothy Albers (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Travis Young.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Paul Goodman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Travis Young, was convicted of two counts of aggravated robbery, three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless aggravated assault, and one count of intentionally evading arrest. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sixteen-year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it: (1) classified him as a Range II offender; (2) enhanced the Defendant's sentences; and (3) imposed consecutive sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court as modified, and we remand the case for entry of judgments consistent with this opinion.



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