Senate panel approves election of constitutional officers

Legislation amending the Tennessee Constitution to provide for election of the state's constitutional officers (the attorney general, comptroller, secretary of state and treasurer) and lieutenant governor, cleared its final major hurdle today in the Senate. The resolution (SJR139) was adopted by a strict party line vote of 5-3 in the State and Local Government Committee. The measure now goes to the Senate floor for consideration. In addition to providing for the election of these offices, the resolution gives the attorney general prosecutorial powers to pursue government corruption matters.
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
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - 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

WAYFORD DEMONBREUN, JR. v. RICKY BELL, WARDEN

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Gordon W. Smith, Associate Solicitor General; and Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant, Ricky Bell, Warden

Brian Dunigan, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wayford Demonbreun, Jr.

Judge: BARKER

The petitioner, Wayford Demonbreun, Jr., filed this petition for habeas corpus to challenge his conviction for aggravated assault as being void because the indictment was for attempted first degree murder, not aggravated assault. The trial court dismissed his petition. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, granting the petitioner relief holding that the indictment was defective in that it failed to inform him of the essential elements of the offense for which he was convicted. We granted the State's application for permission to appeal. We reverse the Court of Criminal Appeals, holding that the petitioner, by affirmatively requesting a jury instruction on the offense of aggravated assault, effectively agreed to amend the indictment to include aggravated assault. Therefore, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2007/demonbreunw_050807.pdf


PAT BURKS, ET AL. v. EVELYN BERRYHILL SPURLIN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert D. Massey, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellants, Pat Burks and Richard Burks

John A. Day and James A. Streett, Brentwood, Tennessee; and Wayne Hairrell, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Evelyn Berryhill Spurlin

Judge: CLEMENT

The sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying the appellants' motion for a continuance of the trial date. Although the appellants had substantial notice of the trial date, they waited until the day of the trial to file their motion for a continuance. Whether to grant a motion for a continuance is subject to the discretion of the trial court, and a discretionary decision to grant or deny a motion for a continuance will not be disturbed by an appellate court unless the record clearly shows an abuse of discretion by the trial court and prejudice to the party seeking the continuance. There being no proof of either, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/burksp_050807.pdf


AL WATSON, ET AL. v. CITY OF LAVERGNE, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William N. Bates, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, City of LaVergne

David L. Cooper, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Al Watson, Milton Bowling, and Diane Ferguson

Judge: COTTRELL

The termination of city employees challenged under a writ of certiorari is affirmed because the city's decision to terminate the at will employees was not arbitrary. The trial court's award of severance benefits to the terminated employees is reversed because a direct cause of action may not be joined with a common law writ of certiorari action.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/citylavergne_050807.pdf


IN RE J.H.S.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Gerald T. Eidson, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, P.S.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Lauren S. Lamberth, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services

The Juvenile Court terminated the parental rights of P.S. ("Mother") to her six year old son, J.H.S. The trial court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that grounds for terminating Mother's parental rights existed and that termination of her parental rights was in the best interest of the child. Mother appeals challenging the termination of her parental rights. We modify the judgment and affirm as so modified.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/jhs_050807.pdf


MARKS, SHELL & MANESS, ET AL. v. CYNTHIA T. MANN, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Roger A. Maness, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellants Marks, Shell & Maness, et al.

Stanley A. Kweller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Cynthia T. Mann, et al.

Judge: COTTRELL

A judgment lienholder appeals from a trial court's determination that a purchase money mortgage lien on real property has priority over a previously recorded judgment lien. Based upon this court's holding in Guffey v. Creutzinger, 948 S.W.2d 219 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1998), we affirm the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/mannc_050807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JARVIS HODGES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jarvis Hodges

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred L. Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Jarvis Hodges, pled guilty to twelve offenses: six counts of aggravated burglary, Class C felonies; one count of burglary and two counts of theft over $1000, Class D felonies; and two counts of theft under $500, Class A misdemeanors; and possession of a weapon, a Class C misdemeanor. He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to an effective sentence of seven years in the Department of Correction. He appeals his sentence, arguing that the trial court erred by ordering consecutive sentencing and that he should have received an alternative sentence. Following our review, we affirm the sentence imposed by the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hodgesj_050807.pdf


JOHNNY PARKER v. STEPHEN DOTSON, WARDEN, AND STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Johnny Parker, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: HAYES

The Petitioner, Johnny Parker, appeals the lower court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Petitioner has failed to assert a ground that would entitle him to habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's dismissal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/parkerj_050807.pdf


CORNELIUS D. PIERCE v. TOMMY MILLS, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Cornelius D. Pierce, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: MCLIN

The Petitioner, Cornelius D. Pierce, appeals the lower court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Petitioner has failed to comply with the procedural requirements for seeking habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's dismissal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/piercec_050807.pdf


ANTHONY REID v. STEVEN DOTSON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Anthony Reid, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: GLENN

The Petitioner, Anthony Reid, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Petitioner has failed to allege any ground that would render the judgment of conviction void. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/reida_050807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GEORGE ROBERT WAGGONER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

A. Vester Parsley, Jr., and Jeremy D. Trapp, Smithville, Tennessee, for appellant, George Robert Waggoner

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William Gibson, District Attorney General; and William Locke, Assistant District Attorney General, for appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: THOMAS

The defendant, George Robert Waggoner, was convicted by a DeKalb County jury of two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of murder committed during the perpetration of a theft of property valued at over one thousand dollars, and one count of theft of property valued at over one thousand dollars, a Class D felony, involving the deaths of his grandparents. The premeditated murder and felony murder counts merged, and the trial court imposed two consecutive life sentences for the murder convictions concurrent with a three year sentence, as a Range I, standard offender, for the theft conviction. The defendant now appeals, claiming the trial court erred in admitting prior bad acts committed by the defendant, in admitting photographs of the deceased victims taken at the crime scene, and in imposing consecutive life sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/waggonerg_050807.pdf


CALVIN WILHITE v. GLEN TURNER, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Calvin Wilhite, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and James Pentecost, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Calvin Wilhite, appeals from the order of the Circuit Court for Hardeman County denying his pro se petition for habeas corpus relief from an effective sentence of twenty years he received for robberies with a deadly weapon. He contends that the trial court erred in summarily dismissing his petition and that the sentence has expired. After careful review, we conclude that the record supports the judgment from the trial court; therefore, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/wilhitec_050807.pdf


Real ID Act of 2005

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-05-07

Opinion Number: 07-61

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-61.pdf

Newspaper of General Circulation -- The Murfreesboro Post

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-05-07

Opinion Number: 07-62

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-62.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Upcoming
BPR Actions
TBA Member Services
Your Practice

Legal News
Workman's fate unknown
A flurry of filings today on behalf of death row inmate Philip Workman failed to convince the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear his case en banc or consider an application for a stay of execution. A similar application filed with U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (who is assigned to hear appeals from the circuit) was pending at press time. Workman's attorneys were successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order from the U.S. District Court for the Middle District Tennessee prohibiting the state from conducting any post-mortem internal examination of his body.
View filings in the case
New interim counsel named at MLGW
Charlotte Knight-Griffin has been named interim vice president and general counsel for Memphis Light, Gas and Water by acting president and CEO Rick Masson. Knight-Griffin most recently served as manager of legal services. She joined the city-owned utility in 1978 as an assistant staff attorney.
WMC-TV has the news
Congress expands firing inquiry
The Senate Judiciary Committee has asked Bradley Schlozman, a former senior civil rights attorney and U.S. Attorney, to speak with investigators about whether the Department of Justice played politics with the hiring and firing of department officials. Specifically, lawmakers want to question Schlozman about a voter fraud lawsuit he filed against the state of Missouri and whether U.S. Attorney Todd Graves was dismissed for failing to endorse the suit. With respect to another witness of interest to Congress, the Justice Department said yesterday it would not prevent White House liaison Monica Goodling from receiving immunity for her testimony.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Mock trial teams represent state in two competitions
Chattanooga-based Family Christian Academy won first place at the American Mock Trial Invitational, a new nationwide high school mock trial competition, last week. The home school students, who placed second at the state competition, beat out a team from Washington. Tennessee's state champion, St. Mary's Episcopal School of Memphis, competes in the long-standing National High School Mock Trial Competition this weekend in Dallas.

Attorney doubts chase ruling will affect local case
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling that police may use potentially deadly force to stop a speeding motorist who ignores warnings will likely play a minor role in a case involving two teenagers who died after a pursuit by Spring Hill officers, lawyers said. Instead, the case will probably focus on a state statute that grants police immunity from lawsuits involving occupants of a fleeing vehicle who are killed or injured during a chase. The Columbia Daily Herald covers the court's decision and the Spring Hill case.
Learn more
Hamilton Co. considers judicial, enforcement funding
Hamilton County District Attorney Bill Cox has asked the county commission to fund six new prosecutors for his office, saying the help is needed to cut the backlog of cases and curb jail overcrowding. Public defender Ardena Garth also is seeking to add attorneys for her office. In addition, several court clerks have requested pay raises and several judges have requested increased funding for their courts.
Chattanoogan.com looks at these requests
Budget increases have also been requested by the county sheriff, who is seeking to add 63 positions, including 29 school resource officers, two civil process servers and additional correctional officers.
Read more in Chattanoogan.com
Swafford talks about judicial needs
Bradley County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Daniel Swafford addressed a range of issues in a recent speech to the local rotary club. He called for a juvenile court referee, a shelter for runaways and increased manpower at the county detention facility.
Read his comments in the Cleveland Daily Banner
Legislative News
Ethics bill goes to governor
Elected officials convicted of felonies involving their office or official duties would be permanently banned from seeking or holding elected office again in Tennessee under a bill sent to the governor for his signature. The legislation passed the Senate 29-0 April 19. The House approved it 98-0 last night. The governor is expected to sign it. One point of contention that remains is whether the law may be applied retroactively.
For more details see the Commercial Appeal
Upcoming
Youth violence prevention event announced
The Urban Child Institute in Memphis has announced a seminar on preventing youth violence featuring Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, associate dean and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Panelists include Dr. Leon Caldwell, University of Memphis; Michael Heidingsfield, Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission; and Yvonne Madlock, Memphis and Shelby County Health Department. The event is free and scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on May 14 at the University of Memphis' Fogelman Center. For more information call 254-1776 ext. 223.

BPR Actions
Jacksboro attorney receives censure
On April 30, the Board of Professional Responsibility issued a censure to Randall Keith Hatfield for failing to act on his client's behalf since he was retained in 2002. The board found that his delay in responding violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 1.4.
Read the BPR press release
TBA Member Services
Free online legal research
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 with your TBALink password.
Access Fastcase now
Your Practice
New postal rates take effect next week
The U.S. Post Office has announced new mailing rates, which take effect May 14. Freedman Consulting offers lawyers advice on managing the business side of their practice and provides a candid look at how the new rates will affect law offices. Read about the changes
Download the USPS brochure

 
 
UNSUBSCRIBE TO TBAToday? ... SURELY NOT!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at: http://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/unsub_tbatoday.php

TBALink HomeContact UsPageFinderWhat's NewHelp
 
 
© Copyright 2006 Tennessee Bar Association