Senate OK's extension of judicial selection commission

The Tennessee Senate today voted to extend the life of the Judicial Selection Commission for one year. The House of Representatives passed this legislation (SB0970/HB0544) in mid May, so the bill now goes to Gov. Bredesen.
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TSC


Court: TSC


James P. McNamara, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant/appellee, Ronnie Finch.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Bret T. Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee/appellant, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLARK

The Petitioner, Ronnie Finch, was convicted of one count of facilitation of first degree premeditated murder and two counts of facilitation of attempted first degree premeditated murder. In this postconviction proceeding, the Petitioner contends that his lawyer provided ineffective assistance at trial. We granted this appeal to determine whether counsel was ineffective in failing to object when the trial court erroneously took his motion for judgment of acquittal under advisement and in continuing to participate in the trial thereafter. Because we hold that defense counsel's representation did not prejudice the Petitioner, we reverse the Court of Criminal Appeals and reinstate the judgments of conviction against the Petitioner.


Court: TCA


James W. Clark, Jr., pro se.

M. Todd Sandahl, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee Hubert Langley, M.D.

Judge: CAIN

Inmate filed medical malpractice action against Hospital and Doctor alleging that Defendants negligently diagnosed and failed to treat his fractured mandible. The trial court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment. Inmate appeals the dismissal of his Complaint against Doctor and other related errors. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in all respects.

STATE EX REL. C. M., ET AL. v. L. J.

Court: TCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Warren Jasper, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

There are no other attorneys listed.


The sole issue on appeal is whether a parent who is incarcerated for the commission of a crime is willfully or voluntarily unemployed for purposes of child support. The State of Tennessee filed a petition to set child support while the parent was incarcerated relying on Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. Section 1240-2-4-.04(3)(d)(ii)(2005), which provides that "any intentional choice or act that affects a parent's income" constitutes willful underemployment or unemployment. The trial court, relying on Pennington v. Pennington, No. W2000-00568-COA-R3-CV, 2001 WL 277993, at *4 (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 14, 2001), denied the petition to set child support for the period the parent was incarcerated. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Jerry L. Johns, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Michael B. Schwegler, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellees, William Dalton, Townsend Anderson, Lynn Duncan, Sheila Swearingen and Director, Tennessee Board of Paroles.


The trial court dismissed Petitioner's petition for writ of certiorari. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Robert L. DeLaney, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bradford Jason Lewis.

Jon D. Ross and Ronald G. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, NewsChannel 5 Network, L.P., Deborah Turner, Mike Cutler, and Phil Williams.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a television news story about the discipline of a high ranking official of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department who interceded with a subordinate to prevent his brotherin-law's arrest. Following the broadcast, the police official and his brother-in-law filed separate lawsuits against the television station and three of its employees in the Circuit Court for Davidson County seeking damages for libel and false light invasion of privacy. The televison station and its employees filed a motion for summary judgment based on the common-law fair report privilege and on its defense that the heightened "actual malice" burden of proof applied to all claims. In response, the police official's brother-in-law asserted that he should not be held to the "actual malice" standard because he was a private person and because the news story involved a matter of purely private concern. The trial court granted the summary judgment and dismissed the complaints filed by the police official and his brother-in-law. With specific regard to the police official's brother-in-law, the court determined that the television station and its employees were shielded by the fair report privilege. It also concluded that the police official's brother-in-law was not a public figure for the purpose of his libel claim but that he had failed to demonstrate that he would be able to carry his burden of proof to establish a simple negligence claim against the television station and its employees. The court also concluded that the actual malice burden of proof applied to the false light invasion of privacy claim and that the police official's brother-in-law had failed to establish that the television station and its employees had acted with actual malice. Only the police official's brother-in-law appealed. He asserts that the trial court erred by applying the fair report privilege and by concluding that he could not successfully prove that the television station and its employees had been negligent in their investigation and broadcast of the news story. We have determined (1) that the trial court erred by holding that the fair report privilege applies in this case; (2) that the police official's brother-in-law is a limited purpose public figure and, therefore, cannot recover damages unless he can prove that the television station and its employees acted with actual malice; and (3) that the police official's brother-in-law cannot prove that the television station and its employees acted with actual malice in the investigation and broadcast of the news story.


Court: TCA


Jeffrey M. Beemer and Robert C. Bigelow, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Coffee County, Tennessee and Alvin Harper.

Roger J. Bean and Christopher R. Moore, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellee, Virginia Dell Person.
Thompson G. Kirkpatrick, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellees, James R. Wilson, Beverly K. Wilson, James E. Wilson and Jennifer Wilson.


This appeal arises from a two-car accident at the intersection of two county roads in Coffee County. The sixteen year-old driver of one of the two vehicles and his parents and sister, who were passengers in his vehicle, filed suit against the County for injuries they sustained in the accident, contending the County was at fault for failing to properly maintain the stop sign and vegetation at the intersection. The trial court attributed 50% of the fault to the County and 50% of the fault to the sixteen year-old driver. Because he was 50% at fault, the sixteen year-old driver was not awarded damages against the County; however, his parents and sister were awarded judgments against the County for 50% of their damages. On appeal, the County contends the parents are barred from recovering against it due to their negligence and negligent entrustment. The County also contends his sister was negligent for riding in the vehicle. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Richard Hughes, District Public Defender, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephanie E. Baney.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry N. Estes, District Attorney General; and John Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Stephanie E. Baney, pled guilty to especially aggravated stalking, two counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and vandalism over $1,000, stemming from two separate indictments, and was sentenced to an effective eight-year term. On appeal, she argues that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. After our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the trial court's sentencing decision.


Court: TCCA


Daniel Lynn Owen, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Ellen L. Berez, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Daniel Lynn Owen, pled guilty to arson (Class A felony) and setting fire to personal property (Class E felony), agreeing to a concurrent sentence of ten years for arson and two years for setting fire to personal property, as a Range II, multiple offender. The original judgment incorrectly listed the conviction for arson as a Class B felony rather than a Class C felony, and the trial court later amended the judgment to correctly indicate the petitioner had been convicted of a Class C felony. The petitioner filed this appeal to contest the amended judgment. We conclude that correcting a clerical mistake does not trigger a Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3 appeal as of right. No error exists, and the appeal is dismissed.

Constitutionality of Proposed Grandparent Visitation Legislation

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-05-31

Opinion Number: 07-83

Drug Tests as a Condition of Receiving Public Assistance

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-06-01

Opinion Number: 07-84

National Civil Rights Museum

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-06-01

Opinion Number: 07-85

City of Crossville Franchise Fee

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-06-01

Opinion Number: 07-86


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