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


Court: TCA


J. Reese Holley, and Eric Thornton, Dickson, Tennessee, for Appellants.

Kenneth Quillen, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee.


The Trial Court granted petitioner a Writ of Habeas Corpus and ordered her release from custody. A Tennessee Juvenile Court has found petitioner in contempt of court and incarcerated her for failing to obey the Tennessee Court's Order which had changed the custody of her child to the father. Previously to the Tennessee Order a State of Maine Court had awarded the petitioner custody of the child. On appeal, we affirm the Trial Courtís grant of the Writ.


Court: TCCA


Michael R. Giaimo, Livingston, Tennessee, for the appellant, Herbert Cope.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William Edward Gibson, District Attorney General; and John A. Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Herbert Cope, was convicted by an Overton County Criminal Court jury of sale of a Schedule II controlled substance (morphine), a Class C felony, and was sentenced by the trial court as a Range II offender to nine years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence by failing to apply applicable mitigating factors and erroneously applying an inapplicable enhancement factor. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Stanley K. Pierchoski, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Warren Curnutt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; C. Daniel Lins, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Christy Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Warren Curnutt, was indicted with two counts of rape of a child. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted on both counts. As a result, Appellant was sentenced to fifteen years for each conviction, to be served consecutively, for a total effective sentence of thirty years. On appeal Appellant presents the following issues: (1) whether the trial court erred by failing to require the State to elect offenses; (2) whether the trial court improperly admitted Appellantís statement into evidence; (3) whether the trial court erred by allowing the trial to continue after the jury pool was allegedly unfairly prejudiced; (4) whether the trial court improperly instructed the jury on lesser included offenses; and (5) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the convictions. Because we determine: (1) that the prosecutor effectively elected offenses during closing argument; (2) that Appellant waived any issue regarding his statement because he failed at trial to object to the introduction of the statement on the grounds it was involuntary; (3) that Appellant waived the issue regarding the jury prejudice for failure to request a curative instruction; (4) that Appellant waived the issue regarding lesser included offenses for failure to request instructions in writing; and (5) the evidence is sufficient to support the convictions, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Michael T. Pickering, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher F. Waddell

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Thomas Boone Dean, Assistant District Attorney General,for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The petitioner pled guilty to two counts of aggravated assault, four counts of attempted aggravated robbery, and three counts of coercion of a witness, stemming from three separate indictments. As part of the plea agreement, the petitioner received a six-year sentence for each attempted aggravated robbery conviction to be served concurrently. The trial court determined the petitioner's sentence with regard to the remaining convictions in a separate sentencing hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court sentenced the petitioner to an effective sentence of thirty years. The petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief. Following a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. On appeal, the petitioner argues that his plea was not made knowingly and voluntarily due to ineffective assistance of counsel. We have reviewed the record and found that trial counsel's performance was constitutionally adequate and that the petitioner's guilty pleas were knowing and voluntary. Therefore, we affirm the decision of the post-conviction court.

Ownership of the U.S.S. Undine

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-05-21

Opinion Number: 07-75


Legislative News
Legal News
BPR Actions

Legislative News
Senate Judiciary working OT in final session
The Senate Judiciary Committee worked extra time today -- and was still working at press time -- but it is expected to adjourn for the year tonight. Before shutting down, though, the committee:

-- Adopted by a 7-2 vote a recommendation that the Senate consider a bill (SB0725/HB2227) that would create a presumption of joint custody. The bill had failed to pass in a House subcommittee, and the TBA has opposed such measures as removing necessary judicial discretion.

-- Moved two bills (SB0166 and SB0167) dealing with eminent domain. Both of the bills are in a closed subcommittee in the House.

Senate takes first step in calling for elected AG
The state Senate Monday passed a resolution calling for the popular election of the attorney general, comptroller, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and treasurer. It is the first of five steps that must be taken to amend the state's constitution to allow such elections.
Read more in the City Paper
Let the voters decide
Electing the attorney general, the comptroller and the secretary of state would empower voters to act as watchdogs of good government, the City Paper says in an editorial supporting efforts to have popular elections of constitutional officers.
Read the full editorial
Legal News
Doctors, lawyers agree on med mal cap in North Carolina
In North Carolina, both the N.C. Medical Society and the N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers are backing a bill that caps monetary damages in negligence cases at $1 million, but only for those who agree to go to binding arbitration.
Read more about the compromise bill in the Fayetteville Observer
Lambuth will house Wilder papers, institute
Papers and memorabilia from state Sen. John Wilder's five decades of public service will be housed at the new John S. Wilder Institute for Public Service at Lambuth University in Jackson.
Read about it in the Commercial Appeal
O'Connor concerned with increased criticism of judges
Most criticism of judges is unjustified and borders on harassment, retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says. But federal courts, too, play a role in fostering public credibility. The law "shouldn't change just because the faces on the court have changed," she said.
The Commercial Appeal has more
UT Law prof honored for teaching
University of Tennessee Law Professor Fran Ansley is the recipient of this year's Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) Great Teacher Award, a national teaching award presented to a legal educator whose work and accomplishments embody the best that legal education has to offer.
Read more about her award
The only way out
The public controversy over Alberto Gonzales' tenure at the Justice Department is not going to die down and the Attorney General "no longer has the stature to effectively present and argue for administration initiatives on Capitol Hill," the Knoxville News Sentinel says in an editorial.
Read the full editorial
Judge urges expanded use of judicial commissioners
Hamilton County should expand its use of judicial commissioners to serve 24/7, General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck told the County Corrections Committee. The county now uses three fulltime and some part-time judicial commissioners to sign warrants and set bonds on nights and weekends.
Read about it on
Judges cracking down on no-shows
General Sessions judges in Chattanooga are cracking down on defendants who fail to show up for court appearances. No shows cause extra work for the courts and inconvenience for witnesses, police officers and others. That has prompted the judges to consider additional charges and increased bonds on original charges for no-shows.
Read about it in the
BPR Actions
Franklin lawyer disbarred
The Supreme Court of Tennessee entered an order disbarring George H. Nason from the practice of law on May 18. Nason had earlier been suspended after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and bank fraud, as well as actual mail fraud and bank fraud.
Read the BPR release

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