Crutchfield pleads guilty to bribery in Tennessee Waltz case

Sen. Ward Crutchfield, the last of five state lawmakers charged in the Tennessee Waltz corruption scandal to remain in office, pleaded guilty today to bribery. Crutchfield, 78, admitted taking $3,000 in bribes during an undercover FBI investigation. Read about it in the Knoxville News Sentinel
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TSC


Dan R. Alexander, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pamela C. Lichtenwalter.

Laurie Y. Young (before the Supreme Court), Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Norman E. Solomon (at trial and before the Court of Appeals), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Chris Edward Lichtenwalter.


We granted this appeal to determine whether adult children who are not parties to this action may receive a judgment for child support arrearage that accrued pursuant to a valid order awarding child support to their mother. We hold that the right of recovery for the child support arrearage in this case lies with the parent to whom the child support is due. The mother is therefore entitled to the child support arrearage that accrued during the children's minority. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeals' award of the child support arrearage to the parties' adult children and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TCA


Danny Ray Meeks, Only, Tennessee, pro se.

Mark Alexis Hudson, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee.


Petitioner brought an action for mandamus in Circuit Court. The Trial Court dismissed the Petition on the grounds that petitioner did not meet the statutory requirements for maintaining an action. On appeal, we affirm.


Court: TCA


Allen Jerome Wade, Brandy S. Parrish, Lori Hackleman Patterson, and Stephen Harold Biller, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.

Ronald D. Krelstein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, William L. Thompson.


The trial court awarded summary judgment to Plaintiff, former employee of Defendant Memphis Light Gas and Water Division ("MLGW"), upon determining that Plaintiff was entitled to severance benefits under "personnel policy 22-25" because revocation of the policy by MLGW's Board was negated due to violations of the Open Meetings Act. We reverse the award of summary judgment to Mr. Thompson and award summary judgment to MLGW on other grounds.

COUNTY OF SHELBY, A Political Subdivision of the State of Tennessee v. JOHN R. TOMPKINS, ET AL.

Court: TCA


Mark Antonio Allen, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, John R. Tompkins.

Dedrick Brittenum and Allison Kay Moody, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Shelby County, Tennessee.


In this administrative appeal, a Shelby County firefighter challenges the judgment of the lower court reinstating the Fire Department's decision to terminate his employment for a conceded violation of the county residency requirement set forth in the Shelby County Charter. The Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board (Merit Board) had modified the Fire Department's sanction from termination to suspension without pay for the time of suspension already served. The trial court, however, ruled that the Merit Board exceeded its authority by failing to heed the Shelby County Charter's provision mandating termination. The Appellant argues that the Charter does not mandate termination; that, even if it does, he had moved back to Shelby County at the time of his termination and should not have been discharged; and that, alternatively, he is entitled to a remand to advance an equal protection argument because he was unfairly prevented from doing so in the lower court. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Sam J. Watridge and Joseph E. Tubbs, Humboldt, Tennessee, for Gladys Tuturea.

Charles L. Trotter, Jr., Huntington, Tennessee, for Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company.


This lawsuit concerns coverage for real and personal property under three insurance policies issued by Defendant. The trial court awarded partial summary judgment to both parties and entered final judgment pursuant to Rule 54.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Both parties appeal. We vacate the trial court's order entering final judgment pursuant to Rule 54.02 and remand.


Court: TCA


J. Brooks Fox and John Kennedy, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

John P. Williams and Thomas V. White, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Western Express, Inc.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a dispute regarding the application of the tree density requirements in Nashville's zoning code to an interstate trucking company's new facility. After the city refused to issue a use and occupancy permit for the facility because it did not comply with the tree density requirements, the company requested the Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals to find that the city should not have included the paved areas of its facility in its tree density calculations and to grant a variance for the remainder of the property. The Board declined to issue the permit or to grant a variance based on its belief that the company could satisfy the tree density requirements by making a one-time payment to the city's "tree bank" instead of planting additional trees at the site. The company filed a petition for common-law writ of certiorari in the Chancery Court for Davidson County. The trial court directed the Board to grant the variance after finding that the tree density requirements did not apply to the facility because the company had not removed existing trees from the site during construction and because the city had failed to properly establish a fee schedule for the tree bank. The city appealed. We have determined that the tree density requirements apply to all new developments regardless of whether trees were removed from the construction site. However, we have also determined that the city erred by including the paved area of the facility in its tree density calculations. In addition, we have determined that the Board's denial of the requested variance was arbitrary because it was based on its mistaken belief that the option of paying into the tree bank rather than planting new trees was available to the company. Finally, we have determined that the trial court erred by directing the Board to issue the variance rather than remanding the case to the Board for further proceedings.


Court: TCCA


Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chris Grunder.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, District Attorney General; Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Chris Grunder, was convicted of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, aggravated assault, and theft of property over $500.00. He filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging that he was not afforded the effective assistance of counsel at trial. This petition was denied by the post-conviction court. Upon a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we find no error and affirm the decision of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Richard McGee and James O. Martin, III, for the Appellant, Pamela A. Inghram.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Trevor H. Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Pamela A. Inghram, presents for review a certified question of law pursuant to Tenn. R. Crim. P. 37(b)(2)(i). Inghram pled guilty to Class E felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell or deliver and received an eighteen-month sentence, which was suspended. As a condition of her guilty plea, she explicitly reserved a certified question of law challenging the denial of her motion to suppress evidence, specifically drugs and drug paraphernalia, found in her home. Inghram argues that the warrantless entry into her home by police in response to a burglar alarm call was without legal authority. After review, we conclude that exigent circumstances justified police entry and the subsequent seizure of the contraband, which was observed in plain view. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Rutherford County Circuit Court denying the motion to suppress.


Court: TCCA


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Mitchell T. Harper, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tommy Ray Kitts.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Tommy Ray Kitts, was convicted of two counts of theft of property between $1,000 and $10,000, a Class D felony. The trial court merged count two into count one and sentenced Defendant as a Range III, career offender, to twelve years. In his appeal, Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Brian Roberson, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; and Joe C. Crumley, Jr., District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Brian Roberson, appeals the Johnson County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief from his guilty pleas to two counts of selling cocaine and one count of possession of cocaine. He contends that his judgments of conviction are void because his sentences are illegal. Upon review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we reverse the judgment of the habeas corpus court and remand this case to the Johnson County Criminal Court for the appointment of counsel and an evidentiary hearing.

Williams Dissenting


Court: TCCA


James M. Gulley and Deena Knopf, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tommy Roscoe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Michelle Parks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Tommy Roscoe, was convicted of robbery, a Class C felony, and sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender to twelve years in the Department of Correction. He raises two issues on appeal: (1) whether a pretrial photographic identification procedure was impermissibly suggestive; and (2) the sufficiency of the evidence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Scott McCluen, District Attorney General; and Frank Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

Don Bosch and Lisa B. Hatfield, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Ariel Ben Sherman; and Gregory Issacs, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Jacqueline P. Crank.

Judge: WITT

The State of Tennessee appeals the Loudon County Criminal Court's dismissal of an indictment that alleged in one count child abuse and neglect against the defendants, Jacqueline P. Crank and Ariel Ben Sherman. The State presents two questions: (1) whether a 2005 change in the proscriptive statute "decriminalized" the defendants' 2002 conduct as alleged in the indictment and (2) whether defendant Sherman could be criminally liable for the neglect of the victim based upon his relationship -- or lack thereof -- with the minor victim or her mother, defendant Crank. Because the trial court erred in using both bases, respectively, to dismiss the indictment, we reverse as to both defendants and remand the case to the trial court.

Property Tax Relief for Disabled Homeowners

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-07-11

Opinion Number: 07-103


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Ford and Lee indicted in MLGW case
A federal grand jury indicted Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford and former Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division president and CEO Joseph Lee III on Wednesday following a six-month, highly publicized FBI investigation into the handling of Ford's utility accounts during Lee's tenure. Ford and Lee were each charged with two counts of bribery and one count of extortion, which are felonies. The charges against Ford are new counts added to bribery charges he's already facing in his capacity as a councilman. The new charges allege Lee prevented cut-offs of Ford's utility services in return for Ford's assistance on the council, including Ford's help in getting Lee the top job at MLGW in 2004 and favors when Ford served in 2006 as chairman of the council committee that oversees MLGW's budget and spending.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Arrest records made public at heart of argument
Vanderbilt law professor James Blumstein argued in federal court yesterday that the release of arrest records could harm suspects who are ultimately exonerated. He says the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department violates a 1974 court decree every time it releases information about arrests in which the suspect has not been convicted. But Allison Bussell, an attorney for Nashville's metropolitan government, argued that the court order is essentially moot because it seeks to protect a civil right that doesn't actually exist.
The Kingsport TImes-News carried this AP story
Nashville lawyer pleads no contest in assault charge
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The Daily Herald has the story
Contempt proceedings possible for Miers
A House panel cleared the way today for contempt proceedings against former White House counsel Harriet Miers after she obeyed President Bush and skipped a hearing on the firings of federal prosecutors, the Associated Press reports. Addressing the empty chair where Miers had been subpoenaed to testify, Rep. Linda Sanchez ruled out of order Bush's executive privilege claim that his former advisers are immune from being summoned before Congress. The House Judiciary subcommittee that Sanchez chairs voted 7-5 to sustain her ruling.
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Judges don't want a new justice center
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Opinion: We need alternatives to jail for kids
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New CASA coordinator hired
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Read more about her in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette
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Getting paid a problem? TennBarU online ethics course can help
Collecting fees is not directly addressed in the Rules of Professional Conduct, however both the rules and malpractice carriers have something to say on the issue. A new online course from TennBarU explores practice management strategies to help reduce the number of non-paying clients and discusses ethical obligations for collecting fees from such clients.
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