New TennBarU online course focuses on ethics, technology

If you're looking for guidance in applying Tennessee's Rules of Professional Conduct to the technology you use in your daily practice, this course is for you. The interactive text format offers a lively learning experience, with scenarios that relate to the challenges you face.

https://www.tnbaru.com/CLE/catalog_course_details.php?course=50

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 or to obtain a text version of each opinion, 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 the TBA's Membership Central.

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You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) 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. 2) 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.

DATTEL FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP and TRAVELERS PROPERTY CASUALTY COMPANY OF AMERICA as Subrogee of DATTEL FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP v. MARY G. WINTZ

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Joseph L. Broy, Germantown, Tennessee, for Appellants Dattel Family Limited Partnership and Travelers Property Casualty Company of America.

Gary R. Wilkinson and C. Michael Becker, Germantown, Tennessee, for Appellee Mary G. Wintz.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an insurance case. The plaintiff landlord purchased insurance on an apartment building that he owned. The defendant tenant leased an apartment in the landlord's building. A fire occurred and damaged the apartment building. Pursuant to the insurance policy, the plaintiff insurance carrier paid the landlord to cover the fire damage. The landlord and the insurance carrier, as the landlord's subrogee under the contract of insurance, filed a lawsuit against the tenant, claiming negligence and breach of contract and seeking compensation for the damage to the apartment building caused by the fire. The tenant moved for summary judgment, asserting that, as a tenant, she was an implied co- insured under the landlord's insurance policy, and that consequently the plaintiff insurance carrier had no right of subrogation against the tenant. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the tenant. The landlord and the insurance carrier appeal. We affirm, holding that, in the absence of an express agreement to the contrary, the tenant is deemed a co-insured under the landlord's insurance policy, and therefore subrogation against the tenant is not available to the insurance carrier.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/dattelf_101007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DREW DAVID KIRKMAN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Randy Rogers, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellant, Drew David Kirkman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Steven Bebb (on appeal) and Jerry N. Estes (at trial), District Attorneys General; Stephen Crump, (at trial) Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The defendant, Drew David Kirkman, appeals his convictions in the Criminal Court for Bradley County on two counts of first degree murder and two counts of aggravated robbery. He contends that his pretrial statements to police and the evidence obtained from these statements resulted from an illegal arrest and detention, and therefore the trial court erred in overruling his motion to suppress the statements and evidence. The defendant also contends that the trial court erred in refusing to grant his motion for a mistrial based on the state's arguing facts not in evidence during its closing argument. The trial court imposed consecutive sentences, which the defendant also challenges on appeal. We conclude that the defendant's arrest violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and was therefore illegal. As a result, the first statement given by the defendant and the evidence disclosed by the defendant in that statement were erroneously admitted by the trial court. However, we conclude that these errors were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt and did not prejudice the defendant. Furthermore, the evidence found by the police based on information gained from a person named by the defendant in that statement was properly admitted, as the circumstances surrounding the disclosure and eventual discovery of that evidence were such that the connection between the evidence and the illegal arrest was broken. The second statement given by the defendant, containing the confession, was properly admitted in that it was taken after the defendant's appearance before a magistrate, thereby breaking the connection between the illegal arrest and the second statement. We also conclude that the trial court properly refused to declare a mistrial and was correct in imposing consecutive sentences. Based on our conclusions, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/kirkmand_101007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT CHRISTOPHER MACLIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Periann S. Houghton, Assistant Public Defender, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Christopher Maclin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William A. Tillner, Assistant Attorney General; Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Robert Christopher Maclin, was convicted of driving on a revoked license and possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with intent to deliver. He was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to thirteen years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his cocaine conviction because he was not in possession of cocaine when he was arrested. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/maclinr_101007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. EDWARD CHARLES TENNIAL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Marvin E. Ballin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Edward Charles Tennial.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Goodman and Chris West, Assistant District Attorneys General,for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Edward Charles Tennial, was indicted with two counts of first degree murder, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $10,000. A jury convicted Appellant of two counts of second degree murder, two counts of aggravated trespass and one count of theft over $10,000. The trial court merged the second degree murder convictions into one and the aggravated trespass convictions into one. After holding a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Appellant to twenty-one years for the murder conviction as a Range I violent offender, with release eligibility at 100%, three years for the theft over $10,000 as a Range I standard offender with release eligibility of 30%, and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the aggravated trespass in the workhouse. The trial court ordered all sentences to be served consecutively. Appellant argues on appeal that the trial court improperly considered the four enhancement factors to his second degree murder sentence. We conclude that the trial court incorrectly considered two of the four enhancement factors, but the remaining two enhancement factors support the trial court's enhancement of Appellant's sentence. Therefore, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/tenniale_101007.pdf


STEVE V. WALKER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Steve W. Walker, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Pentecost, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Steve V. Walker, appeals from the Hardeman County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In 1987, a jury convicted the Petitioner of aggravated robbery, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment for an especially aggravated offense as a Range II, persistent offender. The main focus of the Petitioner's argument is that his sentence was not authorized by the 1982 Sentencing Act. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition, finding that the Petitioner's issues had already been addressed in his first petition for a writ of habeas corpus and that he failed to state a cognizable claim for relief. The Petitioner has failed to allege any ground that would render the judgment of conviction void or his sentence illegal. The order summarily dismissing the petition is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/walkers_101007.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Knox Term Limits
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Court issues new order on Rule 31 mediator grievances
The Tennessee Supreme Court today entered an order adopting a recommendation from the TBA that only grievances against lawyer Rule 31 mediators that draw into question the lawyers' "honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects" be referred to the Board of Professional Responsibility. Previously all complaints were to be referred to the BPR. The action came as the court concluded a re-write of the disciplinary procedure for Rule 31 court-annexed mediators.
Download the full order
Death Penalty Study Committee convenes Monday
The Death Penalty Study Committee created by the state legislature will convene for the first time Monday, under the bright light of a recent court opinion that questions execution procedures. The committee involves a broad range of participants, however, and observers are hopeful that its recommendations will be taken seriously by the General Assembly. As TBA President Marcy Eason told the Nashville City Paper, "Ultimately what the TBA will be looking for is to see if there are some recommendations that come out of this committee that impact the administration of justice and to ensure that it is just and fair."
Read more in the City Paper
Tennessee Ethics Commission seeking General Counsel
The Tennessee Ethics Commission is seeking a lawyer to serve as its General Counsel. The attorney would be responsible for most legal work of the commission, including the initial drafting of advisory opinions and administrative rules and regulations, responding to inquiries about the law's requirements and providing training.
Visit the TBA's JobLink site to learn more about this position
Sheriff's attorney calls charges 'a political ploy'
A day after Williamson County Ricky Headley was arrested on four counts of official misconduct, his attorney said the charges are politically inspired.
Read more on News Channel 5
Ford fails to block secret recordings
U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell ruled yesterday that government wiretaps from the Tennessee Waltz sting could be used in the Nashville trial of former state Senator John Ford. Ford's lawyers had argued that the tapes were inadmissible because the government improperly used a wiretap in the investigation.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Jena 6 T-shirt lawsuit filed
A Smyrna High School parent has filed suit against a Rutherford County Schools employee who refused to allow her daughter to wear a T-shirt declaring, "Free the Jena Six." The slogan referenced black teens in Jena, La. who were arrested for allegedly beating a white classmate. The mother is claiming that her daughter's free speech rights were violated by the school's action.
The Murfreesboro Post has the story
Gender discrimination case gains attention
In a cutting-edge transgender rights case, a woman is suing over allegedly being forced out of a women's room at a New York City restaurant. Gender rights groups have now taken up the banner for the 28-year-old midtown Manhattan resident, who says she is often mistaken for a man. The case sets an important precedent, advocates say, because it shows the adverse effects of gender discrimination.
Read more in the New York Times
Free tickets part of debate on ethics rules
A debate over the acceptance of free tickets to University of Memphis football games was one part of the discussion regarding changes to Shelby County's ethics ordinance, which took effect only three months ago.
The Memphis Daily News reports
Knox Term Limits
Proposals floated for filling county offices
With plans for a special election on hold, one Knox County commissioner is proposing that caretakers, who would agree not to run in 2008, be appointed to fill vacant offices. Meanwhile, Knox County Law Director John Owings has suggested that the swearing in of new appointees be done on rolling basis so each could vote on the appointment of subsequent appointees. However, some say such a plan would violate the court's order. These ideas and more will be discussed at the commission's Intergovernmental Committee meeting on Monday.
The News Sentinel has more
Removed officeholders working as employees
At least three former Knox County officeholders are now working as employees in the departments they headed before the court found their appointments to be unconstitutional. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the offices of sheriff, trustee and register of deeds, now being run by deputies, have hired back their former bosses.
The Times News ran the story
TBA Member Services
Alimony Bench Book now available
The 5th Edition of the Alimony Bench Book is now available from the TBA Family Law Section. This newest edition is available for purchase at the TBA's online bookstore or by calling 800-899-6993 or in Nashville at 383-7421.
Order online now

 
 
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