Judicial conference names new leadership

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge D. Kelly Thomas of Maryville has been elected president of the 178-member Tennessee Judicial Conference (TJC), which includes all state appellate and trial court judges. Thomas has served on the bench since 1990. Prior to his appellate court appointment in 2006, he was circuit court judge for the 5th Judicial District. Before being elected judge, he practiced law in Maryville. Thomas earned his law degree from The University of Tennessee in 1977. Other new officers are Circuit Court Judge William B. Acree Jr., president-elect; Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner of Knoxville, vice-president; Chancellor Daryl R. Fansler of Knoxville, secretary; and Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton of Jacksboro, treasurer.

For a list of executive committee members visit the AOC's web site at:


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

Corrected Opinion

Court: TCA


Charles C. Morrow, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roger Carl Hicks

Mary B. Langford, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kathy Williams Hicks

Judge: CAIN

In an action for divorce, Husband appeals the trial court's divorce award, the division of the marital estate, and the award of attorney's fees and court costs. Husband also alleges that the trial court was prejudiced against his attorney. We affirm the decision of the trial court and find that Husband's appeal was frivolous, thus warranting the award of damages.



Court: TCA


Marilyn Lucretia Hadley, appellant, pro se

Mark G. Rothberger, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Richard Coburn Mercer


This is a post-divorce case. Richard Coburn Mercer (Husband) filed a petition seeking a reduction in his alimony obligation to his former spouse, Marilyn Lucretia Hadley (Wife). She filed a counterclaim seeking a judgment for an alimony arrearage. She also sought other relief. The trial court denied Husband's petition and awarded Wife an arrearage of $2,000. Wife appeals, asserting that the trial court erred (1) in allowing Husband a $6,000 credit against his $7,975 alimony arrearage; (2) in failing to decree that she was entitled to an equitable division of an employment severance package that Husband started receiving shortly after the parties' divorce; and (3) in the taxing of a special master's fee and in failing to tax Husband with the cost of a transcript of the hearing before the master. Husband, on the other hand, argues that the trial court erred in awarding Wife a $1,500 attorney's fee. He also seeks damages for a frivolous appeal. We modify in part, reverse in part, and affirm in part. We reject Husband's contention that Wife's appeal is frivolous in nature.



Court: TCCA


Robert L. Marlow, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Betty R. Chumbley

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, District Attorney General; Ann L. Filer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee


The defendant, Betty R. Chumbley, pled guilty to two counts of theft between $10,000 and $60,000, a Class C felony; three counts of official misconduct, a Class E felony; and one count of destruction of and tampering with governmental records, a Class A misdemeanor. The theft counts were merged and the official misconduct counts were merged. She received an effective five-year sentence on probation. On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying her judicial diversion. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Leslie S. Hale, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, William Thomas Heckart

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and William B. Harper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, William Thomas Heckart, pled guilty in the Sullivan County Criminal Court to reckless endangerment, a Class E felony; two counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony; misdemeanor violation of the sex offender registry, a Class A misdemeanor; and felony violation of the sex offender registry, a Class E felony, and was sentenced as a Range I offender to an effective six-year sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his request for probation or other alternative sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court but remand for entry of a corrected judgment form in count two of case number S50,856 to reflect that the conviction offense was a Class C felony.



Court: TCCA


Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timmy Lee Hill

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Blind Akrawi, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: OGLE

A Marshall County Circuit Court jury convicted the appellant, Timmy Lee Hill, of three counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of escape, and one count of evading arrest. The trial court merged the aggravated kidnapping convictions and ordered that the appellant serve an effective forty-year sentence in confinement for all of the convictions. On appeal, the appellant contends that (1) the trial court erred by overruling his Batson challenges during jury selection; (2) the trial court erred by overruling his objection to the State's improper attempt to impeach a defense witness; (3) the evidence is insufficient to support his aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault convictions; and (4) the trial court improperly sentenced him as a career offender for some of the offenses. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support one of the appellant's aggravated assault convictions because the evidence does not show that the victim suffered serious bodily injury. Therefore, the appellant's conviction for that offense is modified to misdemeanor assault, and the case is remanded to the trial court for resentencing as to that offense. The case is also remanded in order for the trial court to reconsider consecutive sentencing and to make several corrections to the judgments. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.


Corrected Opinion

Court: TCCA


Brandt W. Davis (at trial), Knoxville, Tennessee, and Julie A. Rice (on appeal), Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Brandon Mobley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Takisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee


The Defendant, Brandon Mobley, was convicted by a Knox County jury of two counts of first degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, and setting fire to personal property, and the trial court sentenced him to two consecutive life sentences plus twenty-two years. On appeal, he alleges: (1) there is insufficient evidence upon which to convict him on either count of first degree murder; (2) there is insufficient evidence upon which to convict him of especially aggravated robbery; (3) the trial court erred in initially prohibiting testimony from a defense expert, which caused a violation of his Fifth Amendment rights; and (4) the trial court erred in sentencing him. After reviewing the record and applicable law, we affirm the Defendant's convictions, but we conclude the Defendant was improperly sentenced. Thus, we modify the Defendant's sentences for his convictions for especially aggravated robbery and setting fire to personal property from twenty to eighteen years and from two years to one year, respectively.



Court: TCCA


Bobby James Mosley, Pro se, Only, Tennessee

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Bobby James Mosley, proceeding pro se, appeals the Hickman County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. In September, 2004, Mosley was convicted by a Marshall County jury of aggravated robbery and was sentenced to twelve years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Mosley argues that his judgment of conviction is void for the following reasons: (1) the trial court falsely stated that his trial had been severed from a co-defendant's; (2) he was tried in a joint trial and acquitted, but the verdict forms were altered; and (3) his second trial for the same offense, in September, 2004, violated his constitutional protection against double jeopardy. Finding that Mosley is not entitled to relief, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.



Court: TCCA


Ryan D. Brown, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Phillip O'Brian Pye

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Dan Runde, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee


Petitioner, Phillip O'Brian Pye, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, Petitioner contends that (1) trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel during the negotiation and entry of his pleas of guilty; and (2) his guilty pleas were not voluntarily or knowingly entered into because he was under the influence of a drug and because his counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


David M. Hopkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Edward Suggs, III

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and James Sledge and Hugh Garrett, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Joseph Edward Suggs, III, pled guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to three counts of rape of a child, and he received a total effective sentence of seventy-five years. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel were ineffective and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



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