Make plans now to attend the 2007 TBA convention

The TBA will celebrate 125 years of service to the Tennessee legal community at this summer's annual convention in Nashville. Don't miss it! Distinguished legal journalist and broadcaster Fred Graham will address the Bench/Bar gathering, Tennessee legal historians will delight attendees with a program on historical figures in Tennessee law and everyone will be at the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, for a gala anniversary celebration. Join us June 13-16 in Nashville. Find out more or sign up today:

http://www.tba2.org/convention2007

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
10 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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

STATE OF TENNESSEE V. TEVIAS BLEDSOE

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; David H. Findley, Asst. Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Steve Jones and Amy Weirich, Asst. District Attorneys General; for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

William C. Anderson, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tevias Bledsoe.

Judge: CLARK

The Defendant, Tevias Bledsoe, was charged with premeditated murder, murder in the perpetration of a felony, especially aggravated robbery, and unlawful possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, all in connection with the shooting death of Nathan Maroney. Apparently accepting the Defendant's theory that the shooting was accidental, the jury acquitted him of all charges except felonious possession of a handgun. On direct appeal, the Defendant challenged for the first time the trial court's jury instructions, claiming that the court should have charged the jury on the defense of duress. The Court of Criminal Appeals found that the trial court's failure to instruct the jury on the defense of duress was plain error and granted the Defendant a new trial. The State sought, and we granted, permission to appeal. We hold that the Defendant is not entitled to a new trial on the basis of plain error. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and reinstate the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/bledsoet_042607.pdf


BONNIE TURNER v. HOMECREST CORPORATION ET AL.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Michael E. Moore, Acting Attorney General and Reporter, and Dianne Stamey Dycus, Deputy Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sue Ann Head, Director of the Tennessee Department of Labor Second Injury Fund.

Roger L. Ridenour, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bonnie Turner.

T. Joseph Lynch, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Kelley Bertoux Creveling, Indianapolis, Indiana, for the appellee, HomeCrest Corporation.

Judge: SUSANO

In this workers' compensation case we granted the motion for review filed by the employee, Bonnie 1 Turner ("Turner"), in order to evaluate the correctness of the trial court's decision to award benefits to Turner against the Tennessee Department of Labor Second Injury Fund. The award was predicated upon the court's determination that Turner had sustained a 60% permanent partial disability due to a work-related bilateral carpal tunnel injury and a resulting condition of hypertension. The trial court's award in this case was made subsequent to that court's decision to award Turner permanent total disability benefits against her employer as a result of a prior injury. We hold that an employee who is permanently and totally disabled as provided for in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-207(4)(A)(i) is barred from receiving additional vocational disability benefits unless the employee can establish rehabilitation from the injury which caused the permanent and total disability. This principle applies even though the employee temporarily returns to work following the first injury and suffers a subsequent work-related injury close in time. Therefore, we reverse the trial court's award against the Second Injury Fund.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2007/turnerb_042607.pdf


CITY OF MEMPHIS v. THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS and RICHARD LINDSEY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Sara L. Hall, City Attorney; Carmalita Carletos-Drayton, Assistant City Attorney, for Appellant, City of Memphis

Deborah Godwin, Memphis, TN, for Appellee, Richard Lindsey

Judge: HIGHERS

This appeal involves the termination of a police officer's employment with the Memphis Police Department. The officer appealed his termination to the Civil Service Commission of the City of Memphis ("the Commission"). The Commission found that the City of Memphis ("the City") had not shown that termination was reasonable, and it ordered that Officer Lindsey be reinstated with full back pay and benefits. The chancery court affirmed the Commission's decision. For the following reasons, we reverse and uphold the City's decision to terminate the officer.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/cityofmemphis_042607.pdf


LEILANI K. EASTMAN, ET AL. v. LANCE E. EASTMAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Cynthia J. Bohn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leilani K. Eastman.

C. LeAnn Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lance Eastman.

Judge: CAIN

The trial court awarded Husband a divorce based on Wife's inappropriate marital conduct. Having found both parents equally fit to care for the parties' minor daughter, the court created a parenting plan providing for an alternating six month schedule of equal residential placement and designated both parties as primary residential parent. Wife appeals the trial court's custody determination and parenting plan, arguing that the trial court erred by (1) failing to consider the factors in Tenn. Code Ann. 36-6-404(b); (2) failing to properly weigh the relevant factors in its comparative fitness analysis; and (3) weighing her infidelity in the comparative fitness analysis. We affirm the trial court's parenting plan providing for an alternating six month schedule of equal residential placement, however, we remand the matter to the trial court in order to designate a single primary residential parent.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/eastmanl_042607.pdf


TERESA LOUISE EDGEMON v. LARRY LEE EDGEMON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael P. McGovern, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry Lee Edgemon.

Donald B. Reid, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellee, Teresa Louise Edgemon.

Judge: SUSANO

In this divorce case, the trial court declared Teresa Louise Edgemon ("Wife") and Larry Lee Edgemon ("Husband") divorced, divided their marital estate, and awarded Wife a judgment against Husband for $19,085.29. Husband appeals, raising several issues with respect to the trial court's monetary award to Wife and the court's division of the marital property. He also raises an evidentiary issue. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/edgemontl_042607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, ex rel. MELINDA ROBINSON v. JESSIE GLENN JR.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Juan G. Villaseoor, Assistant Attorney General for Appellant, State of Tennessee, ex rel. Melinda Robinson

Harold R. Gunn of Humboldt, Tennessee for Appellee, Jessie Glenn, Jr.

Judge: CRAWFORD

Appellant challenges trial court's rescission of a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity ("VAP") and termination of child support. We reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/robinsonm_042607.pdf


DONALD CLARK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Juni S. Ganguli, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Donald Clark.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Donald Clark, who was convicted of especially aggravated robbery, sought postconviction relief from the Shelby County Criminal Court, which denied relief after an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, the petitioner presents several issues of the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/clarkd_042607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GREG GOFF

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

George M. Googe, District Public Defender, and Stephen P. Spracher (at trial) and Chris R. Whittaker (on appeal), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Gregory Goff.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Probation for the defendant, Greg Goff, was revoked after he tested positive for cocaine and admitted he had possessed and sold cocaine while on probation. In this appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and that his sentence is excessive in light of the circumstances surrounding his violation and past criminal history. After review, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in revoking the defendant's probation. Further, we conclude that our review is limited to whether the trial court abused its discretion in revoking the defendant's probation and not the length of the sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/goffg_042607.pdf


MICHAEL HOOPER v. STEVEN DOTSON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael Hooper, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., 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.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Michael Hooper, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court dismissing the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hooperm_042607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DENNIS JARRETT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

George Morton Googe, District Public Defender; Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender; and Joseph T. Howell, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Dennis Jarrett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Anna M. Banks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Dennis Jarrett, was convicted of driving after being declared a habitual motor vehicle offender, a Class E felony, and violation of the open container law, a Class C misdemeanor. The jury found Defendant not guilty of violation of the seatbelt law. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range III career offender to six years for his felony conviction. Defendant does not appeal the length of his sentence or the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his misdemeanor conviction. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his felony conviction; (2) the trial court erred in not granting Defendantís motion for a mistrial; and (3) the trial court erred in excluding Defendant from the courtroom during his trial. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/jarrettd_042607.pdf


RICKY WAYNE McELHANEY v. JACK MORGAN, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joe H. Walker and Walter B. Johnson, II, Harriman, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Wayne McElhaney.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball and John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorneys General; and J. Scott McCluen, District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Ricky Wayne McElhaney, pled guilty to several offenses, receiving a total effective sentence of twenty-two years. Subsequently, the petitioner filed in the Morgan County Criminal Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that the sentence for the offense of burglary of a business house was illegal. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition, and the petitioner now appeals. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/mcelhaneyr_042607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MATHIS LAMAR MEADOWS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph T. Howell, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Mathis Lamar Meadows.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Mathis Lamar Meadows, appeals the trial court's revocation of his probation, raising the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court erred by revoking his probation and ordering that he serve his Tennessee sentence for two counts of attempted second degree murder consecutively to his Michigan sentence for assault; and (2) whether the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss the probation violation warrants. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/meadowsm_042607.pdf


MARCUS NIXON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ryan B. Feeney, Selmer, Tennessee (on appeal); D. Michael Dunavant, Ripley, Tennessee (at evidentiary hearing), for the Appellant, Marcus Nixon.1

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Tracy Brewer-Walker and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The petitioner, Marcus Nixon, was convicted by a Lauderdale County jury of rape of a child. His conviction was affirmed on appeal. State v. Marcus Vashawn Nixon, No. W2003-01909-CCA-R3- CD, 2004 WL 2058927, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 15, 2004). The petitioner subsequently filed a petition for DNA analysis pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-304, that was denied by the trial court; the denial was affirmed by this court. Marcus Nixon v. State, No. W2005- 02158-CCA-R3-WM, 2006 WL 851764 (Tenn. Crim. App. Apr. 3, 2006). On September 15, 2005, he filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and due process violations. After the appointment of counsel, appropriate amendment to the petition, and a full evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied relief. Following our review, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/nixonm_042607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROY GENE RUSSOM

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hewitt Chatman, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Roy Gene Russom.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Bill R. Martin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Roy Gene Russom, was convicted by a Henderson County jury of violating the Motor Vehicle Habitual Offender Act and was subsequently sentenced, as a Range II offender, to four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Russom raises the single issue of sufficiency of the evidence. Following review, the judgment of conviction is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/russomr_042607.pdf


CARL ANTHONY WATSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Carl Watson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Greg Gilbert and Amy Weirich, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Carl Anthony Watson, was convicted of rape, and the trial court sentenced him to ten years. This Court affirmed the conviction and sentence on appeal. The Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court dismissed after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at his original trial, and that the post-conviction court erred in failing to grant a continuance of the evidentiary hearing. We affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/watsonc_042607.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROGER A. WEAVER, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kari I. Weber, Assistant Public Defender, Covington, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Roger A. Weaver, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; and Tracey Brewer-Walker, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Roger A. Weaver, Jr., appeals the sentencing decision of the Lauderdale County Circuit Court. Pursuant to the terms of plea agreements stemming from two separate cases, Weaver pled guilty to the crimes of reckless aggravated assault, felony reckless endangerment, and aggravated assault and received an effective sentence of nine years in confinement. On appeal, Weaver argues that the trial court erred in denying non-incarcerative sentences for each conviction. After review, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/weaverr_042607.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Passages
Legislative News
BPR Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Grand jury calls for tougher sentences
Hamilton County's Grand Jury sent down an answer of a different kind yesterday. The jury said that stronger punishment is needed in Criminal Court. Because of cases that are allowed to be pled to lesser charges, the jury said in its report, "It is no wonder that 'punishment' is no deterrent to criminal behavior."
Read the report on the Chattanoogan.com
Exploitive lending practices not in states' hands
Although all 50 states had urged U.S. Supreme Court justices to protect state laws in the absence of action by Congress, the court ruled that mortgage-lending subsidiaries of national banks are subject only to oversight by federal agencies and not by states. The News Sentinel calls it a "huge blow to states trying to prevent the kind of abuses our country has seen in the home-lending market" and calls on Congress to fix it.
Read the editorial
Universities rethink legal responsibilities after shootings
Universities across the country are reevealuating security plans in the aftermath of shootings at Virginia Tech last week. This article analyzes how schools in Memphis are coping, including following the legal responsibilities of the Clery Act.
The Memphis Daily News has it
Judge in conflict case keeps job for now
In a 4-3 vote, the Springfield Board of Mayor and Aldermen said that City Judge Fletcher Long can keep his job a while longer. In addition to being the judge, Long is representing a man accused of shooting a city police officer, which some believe is a conflict of interest and that Long should be fired. The matter was deferred by the board to allow the city to pose the question to the Judicial Ethics Committee as well as the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.
The Robertson County Times has the story
Passages
Young lawyer Nance dies
Shelbyville City Attorney Tom Nance died Monday. He was 39. A partner with Bobo, Hunt, White and Nance, he graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1995. He is survived by a wife and three children. Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Friday at Murfreesboro First Presbyterian Church.
The Shelbyville Times-Gazette has more
Legislative News
Compromise sought in $6.5 million for Shelby Juvenile
Supporters of Shelby County Juvenile Court and supporters for the state Department of Human Services each pled their cases to members of Shelby County's legislative delegation yesterday. At issue is the court's demand for $6.5 million more for its child-support collection services. Shelby legislators struck a compromise, including a proposed amendment to the state budget for $2.16 million, with the rest to be made up from the federal government under a matching agreement.
Read details in the Commercial Appeal
BPR Actions
Gibson's suspension to stand
A Board of Professional Responsibility hearing panel reported today that the temporary suspension of William E. Gibson will not be dissolved. Gibson had petitioned the court last fall to dissolve the suspension, and in denying that, the board wrote that "Gibson continues to pose a threat of substantial harm to the public."
Read the BPR's release
TBA Member Services
Save at FedEx Kinkos
Through your membership in the TBA, your business can enjoy FedEx reliability and special savings on a variety of FedEx services, including savings on FedEx Kinkos services. All you have to do is sign up. Opening an account is free and there is no minimum shipping requirement.
Find out more

 
 
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