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.


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


Court: TCCA


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


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.


Corrected Opinion

Court: TCCA


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


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.



Court: TCCA


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.



Court: TCCA


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


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.



Court: TCCA


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.



Court: TCCA


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.



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