Learn the art: Don't miss out on growing use of arbitration

Arbitration is fast becoming not an alternative to litigation, but a required and recommended way to reach final resolution of disputes. The TennBarU Art of Arbitration seminar will help lawyers who are new to this field, or who are experienced, learn more about the various aspects of arbitration, from considerations in drafting arbitration clauses, choosing an arbitrator, what rules should apply, preparing for a hearing and the law of appeals. Nov. in Nashville, Nov. 9 in Knoxville and Nov. 30 in Memphis. Register now or find out more

https://www.tnbaru.com/CLE/catalog_by_topic.php?topic=1

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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04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - TN Attorney General Opinions
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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.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. AMILCAR CABRAL BUTLER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Amilcar Cabral Butler, Pollock, Louisiana, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; and Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

In May 1994, Petitioner, Amilcar Cabral Butler, pled guilty in the Sumner County Criminal Court to one count of sale of cocaine greater than 0.5 grams, one count of sale of cocaine greater than 26 grams, one count of evading arrest, and one count of felony reckless endangerment. He received an effective sentence of ten (10) years. On February 5, 2007, Petitioner filed a pleading entitled "Writ of Error Coram Nobis." In his pleadings, Petitioner argues various theories as to why the trial court did not have jurisdiction over him when he pled guilty. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition. The State has filed a motion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, requesting this Court to affirm the judgment of the trial court. Having found the motion to have merit, we grant same and accordingly affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/butlera_101107.pdf


MINDY SUE DODD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Thomas H. Potter, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mindy Sue Dodd.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Mindy Sue Dodd, was convicted by a Rutherford County jury of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder in the death of her husband, Sherman Henry Dodd. She received concurrent sentences of life in prison and twenty years. This court affirmed her convictions on direct appeal, and her application for permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court was denied. State v. Mindy S. Dodd, No. M2002-01882-CCA-R3-CD, 2003 WL 22999444, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Dec. 23, 2003), perm. to appeal denied (Tenn. June 1, 2004). The petitioner sought post-conviction relief alleging, inter alia, denial of her constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court found that the petitioner had failed to show that her trial counsel was ineffective and dismissed her petition. Following our review of the record and the findings of the post-conviction court, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/doddm_101107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSEPH WAYNE HIGGINS
CORRECTION

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Richard L. Gaines, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; John Halstead, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Joseph Wayne Higgins.

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

Judge: THOMAS

The defendant, Joseph Wayne Higgins, was convicted by a Knox County jury of three counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and received an effective sentence of forty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The defendant appeals his convictions, arguing that the trial court (1) committed plain error by improperly admitting testimony relating to acts committed by the defendant that were unrelated to the elected offenses, (2) committed plain error by improperly admitting testimony of three witnesses who bolstered the victim's credibility after it had been impeached, (3) improperly instructed the jury as to "recklessness", (4) improperly imposed an excessive sentence, and (5) improperly sentenced the defendant to consecutive terms. After reviewing the record, we conclude that the trial court improperly admitted testimony regarding specific acts of conduct by the defendant and failed to instruct the jury regarding prior consistent statements. However, because we conclude that these errors did not rise to the level of plain error, we deny the defendant relief on these issues. We also conclude that the trial court properly instructed the jury regarding recklessness and properly imposed consecutive sentences. However, we conclude that the trial court improperly applied sentence enhancement factors to one of the defendant's convictions. Therefore, we affirm the judgments of the trial court but reduce the defendant's total effective sentence from forty-five years to forty years.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/higginsj_corr_101107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LAVON NUNNERY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tony L. Maples (on appeal) and James R. Smith (at trial), Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lavon Nunnery.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Trevor H. Lynch and Thomas S. Santel, Jr., Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

After a bench trial, the Rutherford County Circuit Court convicted the defendant, Lavon Nunnery, of misdemeanor assault for threatening to turn his pit bulldog loose on his neighbor. The trial court subsequently sentenced him to eleven months, twenty-nine days in the county workhouse, to be served consecutively to the three-year sentence for assault with a deadly weapon for which he was on probation at the time of the instant offense. In a timely appeal to this court, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence, arguing that the proof was insufficient to show that the victim reasonably feared imminent bodily injury from the dog. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/nunneryl_101107.pdf


Adoptions by Same Sex Couples

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-10-07

Opinion Number: 07-140

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_140.pdf

Bank Officer and Shareholder as County Commissioner

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-10-07

Opinion Number: 07-141

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07_141.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Supreme Court Report
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Same-sex couples can adopt, attorney general says
Same-sex couples should be eligible to adopt children as long as adoption is found to be in the best interest of the child, Attorney General Bob Cooper wrote in an opinion issued late yesterday. The opinion was requested by Wilson County Circuit Judge Clara Byrd.
The Tennessean carried this AP story
Download the attorney general's opinion
Briley found after brother reports him missing
State Rep. Rob Briley was found this afternoon in Tunica, Miss., after checking himself out of rehab yesterday, where he was reportedly receiving treatment for alcoholism. His brother, David Briley, had filed a missing person's report late Wednesday night.
The City Paper reports
What is the impact of blogging on the practice of law?
The National Law Journal and the Association of American Law Schools co-sponsored a roundtable discussion recently where a panel of experts talked about the impact of blogging on traditional scholarship and its place in the practice of law.
Follow the discussion on Law.com
New fees help fund security at Sullivan County courts
Sullivan County is using revenue from increased court case fees to help pay for increased security at the county's five courthouses. Based on the first month of collections, the fees should bring in $150,00 this year.
Learn more about the fees and courthouse security
Newman a part of key Memphis cases
From representing Martin Luther King Jr. to helping stop the construction of Interstate 40 through Memphis' Overton Park, attorney Charles F. Newman has been at the center of some of the city's biggest cases. He talks about his career in a Memphis Daily News interview.
Read more in the Memphis Daily News
Candidate out of race for judicial commission
Chattanoogan.com reports that Jack Benson Jr., who had been considered one of the leading candidates for one of four judicial commissioner positions, is dropping out of the race.
Find out more
Supreme Court Report
Court works to sort out states rights, world court roles
In what a Legal Times correspondent called sometimes chaotic oral arguments Wednesday, the Supreme Court struggled to sort out a death penalty case that pits the state of Texas against its former governor, President George W. Bush, in a battle over states' rights and the scope of international treaties.
Read the full Legal Times story on Law.com
TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
Click here

 
 
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