Judicial Selection, Evaluation win House committee support; face delay in Senate

Legislation to extend the two bodies that are essential to the administration of the Tennessee Plan for merit selection and retention of judges moved out of a critical House committee this morning, but later in the day was deferred in a Senate committee.

http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/legislation/2007/legis_050207.html

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

TIMOTHY R. BOWLES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE, RICKY J. BELL, Warden

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ryan C. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Timothy R. Bowles

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Timothy R. Bowles, appeals from the habeas court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The Petitioner alleges on appeal that he is entitled to relief because his trial counsel was ineffective and because his sentence is unconstitutional under Blakely v. Washington. After reviewing the record and applicable law, we find no error in the judgment of the habeas court and affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/bowlest_050207.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHANNON RICHARD HUDSON, ALIAS RICHARD SHANNON HUDSON
Corrected Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brian S. Finlay, Chattanooga, Tennessee (on appeal); Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender; Steve E. Smith and Rob Philyaw, Chattanooga, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Shannon Richard Hudson, Alias Richard Shannon Hudson

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Mary S. Moore and Rachel Winfrey, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Shannon Richard Hudson, was found guilty by a Hamilton County jury of three counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of attempted aggravated sexual battery. The three counts of aggravated sexual battery were merged, and the defendant received an effective twenty-seven-year sentence in the Department of Correction. He was sentenced to twenty years for the aggravated sexual battery conviction and to seven years for the attempted aggravated sexual battery conviction, to be served consecutively for a total effective sentence of twenty seven years. On appeal, he contends that: the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions; the trial court erred in allowing the jury to have access to the indictment during their deliberation; and the trial court should have merged all of his convictions. After careful review, we find no error and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hudsons_corr_050207.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LAURA STARKEY AND TRAETON MCCOY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellants, Laura Starkey and Traeton McCoy

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Clement Dale Potter, District Attorney General; and Thomas Miner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: OGLE

A Warren County Circuit Court jury convicted the appellants, Laura Starkey and Traeton McCoy, of knowingly keeping or maintaining a dwelling that is used for keeping or selling controlled substances and convicted McCoy of manufacturing methamphetamine. The trial court sentenced Starkey to two years to be served as sixty-five days in jail and the remainder on probation and sentenced McCoy to an effective four years in the Department of Correction. In this appeal, the appellants argue that the evidence is insufficient to support their convictions. In addition, Starkey contends that the trial court erred by denying her request for full probation, and McCoy claims that the trial court erred by denying his request for alternative sentencing. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we reverse Starkey's conviction and dismiss that charge. McCoy's conviction for knowingly keeping or maintaining a dwelling that is used for keeping or selling controlled substances is also reversed because the trial court gave erroneous jury instructions, and the case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial. McCoy's conviction and sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/starkeyl_050207.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEFFREY A. SUNDAHL, ALIAS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin James Allen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee

Ralph E. Harwell and Tracy Jackson Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeffrey A. Sundahl

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Jeffrey A. Sundahl, was charged with four counts of unlawfully and knowingly depriving the state of the realization of its lawful revenue by failing to remit sales tax revenue, a Class E felony; one count of unlawfully and knowingly delaying, hampering, impeding, obstructing, and thwarting the state in its collection of its lawful revenue by failing to register with the state under Tennessee Code Annotated section 67-6-601, a Class E felony; and one count of theft over $60,000, a Class B felony. The trial court dismissed all six charges on statute of limitations grounds. The state appeals the dismissals. We affirm the judgments of the trial court as to counts 1 through 5. We conclude, however, that the trial court wrongly applied a three-year statute of limitations to the theft count, count 6, and we reverse the judgment as to that count.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/sundahlj_050207.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHAD TANKERSLEY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Clairborne H. Ferguson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shad Tankersley

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General, and Lee Coffee, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: SMITH

The Appellant, Shad Tankersly, was found guilty of violating his probation and ordered to serve his sentence in incarceration. On appeal, he challenges the trial court's decision to revoke probation, asking this Court to determine whether a warrant is required to initiate a probation revocation proceeding and toll the time limitation within which to revoke probation. We hold that T.C.A. section 40-35-311 plainly requires the issuance of a warrant to initiate a probation revocation proceeding, and, that in the absence of the issuance of a warrant during the probationary period, as is the case here, there is no tolling of the period. Therefore, we reverse and remand the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/tankersleys_050207.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GREGORY L. WHISNANT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles Richard Hughes, Jr., District Public Defender; and William Donaldson, Assistant District Public Defender, for the Appellant, Gregory L. Whisnant

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; and R. Steve Bebb, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: WITT

Convicted by a McMinn County Criminal Court jury of carjacking, a Class B felony, see T.C.A. section 39-13-404(a)(2) (2006), and sentenced to 11 years' incarceration in the Department of Correction, the defendant, Gregory Whisnant, appeals and claims that the convicting evidence is legally insufficient. Because the evidence is adequate to meet the legal standard of sufficiency, we affirm the conviction.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/whisnantg_050207.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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Legislative News
Committee votes to study administration of death penalty
After hearing from U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Gil Merritt in support of the effort, Tennessee House Judiciary Committee members approved HB2162, legislation creating a committee to study administration of the death penalty. The bill calls for a broadly arrayed group to make recommendations within a year of appointment. It does not mandate a moratorium or pause in executions.

Committee OK's change to med mal rule
Also today, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation by Rep. Doug Overbey, R- Maryville, that would change the locality rule and require notice and certificate of good faith in medical malpractice actions.

Legislator wants to allow guns in public parks
Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, would allow Tennesseans to carry handguns in public parks and recreational areas. Since the shooting at Virginia Tech, Niceley has also said he has interest in expanding the bill to college campuses. Committee action is expected next week, reports the Kingsport Times News.
Read more
Legal News
MLGW shields Lee's legal records
Memphis, Light, Gas and Water General Counsel Odell Horton Jr. yesterday refused to release records regarding a defense attorney hired by the utility to represent MLGW President Joseph Lee in ongoing investigations. Despite calls for more information from city council members, Horton cited attorney-client privilege in denying the requests.
The Commercial Appeal follows the story
Death row inmate appeals for stay
Yesterday, the day before Governor Phil Bredesen was to let a 90-day moratorium on state executions expire, death row inmate Philip Workman appealed his impending execution to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Workman is scheduled to die by lethal injection next Wednesday, May 9.
Read about his appeal in the Nashville City Paper
Ex-prosecutors say detainees need access to U.S. courts
A bipartisan group of 39 former prosecutors recently petitioned Congress to grant Guantanamo Bay detainees access to U.S. courts. In a letter to lawmakers, the group noted that approximately 360 of the detainees may never be brought before a military commission or be charged. The U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled that detainees have access to the U.S. court system, but Congress stripped the U.S. District Court of jurisdiction. The Associated Press reported yesterday on the lobbying effort.

Recording industry hits college students with piracy charges
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) yesterday filed 18 lawsuits against Vanderbilt University students who declined to settle charges of illegally trading music on the school's network. Today, the industry association announced it is targeting 50 University of Tennessee students and giving them the same opportunity to resolve the claims at a discounted rate. Today's wave targeted 402 students at 13 universities. UT was one of four schools to receive 50 letters, the highest number sent.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Barbara Moss touts ADR benefits
Stites & Harbison lawyer and TBA member, Barbara Moss, writes about the benefits of using alternative dispute resolution to avoid time-consuming and expensive lawsuits.
Read her opinion piece in the Tennessean
News from UT Law
Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia Clark will speak at the University of Tennessee College of Law's hooding ceremony next Friday, May 11, at the Knoxville Convention Center. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. and will also feature Megyn Kelly, co-anchor of the daytime news program America's Newsroom. In other news, law professor Greg Stein will travel to China in June to help establish student and faculty linkages with three Chinese universities: Shanghai University, Sichuan University in Chengdu and Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Upcoming
Nashville Law Day lunch set for Thursday
The Nashville Bar Association will hold its annual Law Day Luncheon tomorrow (May 3) at the downtown Sheraton Hotel. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade will be the keynote speaker. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch at noon. Following the lunch, lawyers are invited to attend a dedication ceremony at 1:30 p.m. for the recently renovated Davidson County Metropolitan Courthouse.
Find out more
TBA Member Services
Free online legal research is newest TBA benefit
Online legal research is now available free to all Tennessee Bar Association members through an agreement with Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm. The new TBA member benefit is national in scope and offers TBA members unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing -- all at no cost.
Log in now to try it out

 
 
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