Forum focuses on judicial selection debate

The debate over Tennessee's process for selecting appellate judges will soon move to the General Assembly as the Tennessee Plan comes up for sunset review this coming session. Join in a lively discussion of the issue sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association and the Nashville Lawyer Chapter of the Federalist Society at a luncheon forum on Dec. 12 at the Standard Restaurant in downtown Nashville. Lunch will be served from noon to 12:30 p.m., with the one-hour ethics CLE program to follow. Total cost is $25. Register or find out more.

https://www.tnbaru.com/CLE/catalog_course_details.php?course=5495

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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - TN Court of Appeals
07 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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.

PATRICIA "KAY" PROVONSHA, v. STUDENTS TAKING A RIGHT STAND, INC. (STARS)

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Doug S. Hamill and Steven F. Dobson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for appellant.

Kelly P. Kirkland and Bruce D. Gill, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

The gravamen of this action is an alleged retaliatory discharge. Plaintiff charged defendant with a common law violation, as well as a violation of the Tennessee Public Protection Act. Defendant moved for summary judgment which the Trial Court granted. On appeal, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/provonshap_120307.pdf


GARY ALDRIDGE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gary Aldridge, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Appellant, Gary Aldridge, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The Appellant fails to assert a cognizable claim for which habeas corpus relief may be granted. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/aldridgeg_120307.pdf


PAUL T. DAVIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul T. Davis, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Paul Tobias Davis, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. In his petition, the Petitioner asserted that his sentence is illegal because he was denied pretrial jail credits. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition because the petition did not state a sufficient reason for not being filed in the county nearest to the Petitioner. On appeal, the Petitioner raises two issues: (1) whether a motion filed in the habeas corpus court to alter or amend the judgment pursuant to Rule 59.04 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure can operate to limit the jurisdiction of this Court; and (2) whether the fact that the convicting court possesses relevant records relating to a petitioner's sentence and retains the authority to correct an illegal sentence at anytime is a sufficient reason under Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-21-105 to file a habeas corpus petition in the convicting court rather than the court closest in point of distance to a petitioner. Following our review, we hold that motions filed pursuant to Rule 59 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure do not effect the jurisdiction of this Court in actions for habeas corpus relief and that the Petitioner presented a sufficient reason for filing his petition in the Davidson County Criminal Court. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the habeas corpus court and remand for the appointment of counsel and further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/davisp_120307.pdf

WITT dissenting and concurring
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/davisp_DIS_120307.pdf


RICKY JEROME HARRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Sonya Slaughter Helm, Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellant Ricky Jerome Harris

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Joe Crumley, District Attorney General and Kenneth C. Baldwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Ricky Jerome Harris, filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis. He based his petition on two items of allegedly newly discovered evidence, the first being an anonymous letter, which included a copy of previously undisclosed interview notes with a potential alibi witness, and the second being a letter, signed with the name "Bill," confessing to the killing of the victim. Petitioner also filed a petition for relief requesting DNA analysis on certain pieces of evidence. The lower court summarily dismissed the writ of error coram nobis claims because they did not involve newly discovered evidence. The lower court ruled Petitioner had prior knowledge of the alibi witness because he had aided her when she had car trouble and because Petitioner raised the "letter from Bill" in a previous post-conviction petition. The lower court summarily dismissed the DNA petition finding it was not a proper claim for writ of error coram nobis relief. We conclude: (1) that the lower court erred in summarily dismissing the petition with regard to the alibi witness, and we remand for a hearing; (2) that the lower court was incorrect in summarily dismissing the petition for writ of error coram nobis with regard to the "letter from Bill," and we remand for a hearing; and (3) we affirm, on other grounds, the lower court's dismissal of Petitioner's request for DNA testing. Therefore, we affirm in part, reverse in part and remand for further proceedings by the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/harrisr_120307.pdf


LORENZO HERRON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lorenzo Herron, Pro Se, Clifton, Tennessee

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; and Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Lorenzo Herron, was sentenced to life in prison following a conviction for first degree murder in 1989. Both Petitionerís direct appeal and appeal from the denial of his petition for post- conviction relief were unsuccessful. He subsequently filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus relief. In his petition, he argued that his indictment was fatally defective. The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed his petition. He now appeals this dismissal. Having reviewed the record in his appeal, we conclude that the indictment was constitutionally sufficient to inform Petitioner of the crime with which he was indicted and vest jurisdiction in the trial court. For this reason, we affirm the habeas corpus court's dismissal of his petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/herronl_120307.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. STEVEN ALLEN JONES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gene Scott, Junior, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven Allen Jones

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony Clark, District Attorney General; Ken Baldwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial Defendant, Steven Allen Jones, was found guilty of first degree murder. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. On appeal Defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction of first degree murder and (2) the trial court erred by instructing the jury as to the punishment for first degree murder. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/joness_120307.pdf


JAMES POLK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James Polk, Pro Se, Pikeville, Tennessee 37367.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, James Polk, appeals from the dismissal of a petition for post-conviction relief. Because Petitioner has presented this Court an inadequate brief and has improperly attempted to seek post- conviction relief in a case for the second time, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/polkj_120307.pdf


DANIEL L. SHIELDS v. RICKY BELL, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Daniel L. Shields, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Daniel L. Shields, appeals from the trial court's summary dismissal of his petition seeking habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's dismissal of the petition pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The State's motion is granted. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/shieldsd_120307.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Plea deal reached for 'Jena 6' teen
A deal was struck today that would allow the black teenager in the beating of a white classmate in Jena, La., to get out of a juvenile facility in eight months. The 17-year-old, Mychal Bell, is at the center of a controversy that sparked a major civil rights demonstration from people who felt his sentence had been too harsh. Bell pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery in return for an 18-month sentence with credit for the 10 months he already has served.
The Associated Press reports
New workers' comp rules go into effect Dec. 26
New Utilization Review (UR) rules that become effective on Dec. 26 are now available from the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Workers' Compensation. The new rules require specific uniform standards -- either from the Official Disability Guidelines or the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine -- be used in making all utilization review determinations. The new rules also provide for civil penalties in some cases for failure to comply. Contact Suzy Douglas by email or phone at 615-532-1326 with questions.

Republicans say executions shouldn't wait for Supreme Court ruling
House Republican leaders took a "defined stance" on the death penalty today, saying Gov. Bredesen's recent statements were "unacceptable." Bredesen has said that the state will likely not carry out any executions while the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of the lethal injection process. He said he wants to let the court act and then follow-up after it has delivered its opinion.
The Nashville City Paper has this story
Supreme Court will take right-to-lawyer case
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a suspect taken before a magistrate has the right to a lawyer. The issue in Rothgery v. Gillespie County is whether the right to a lawyer does not attach until a prosecutor prepares a formal charge, the Supreme Court of the United States Blog (SCOTUSblog) reports.
Read more
Cameras in the court?
Legal Times reopens discussion about why, with all the unobtrusive technology available today, the U.S. Supreme Court won't consider cameras -- and an audience -- in the court.
Read the story in Legal Times
Legislative News
Cooper says he will retire, appeal civil penalty
State Sen. Jerry Cooper has decided to retire from the legislature and appeal the record $120,000 civil penalty imposed against him last month by the Registry of Election Finance, according to his attorney.
The News Sentinel reports this breaking story
Knox Rep. will not seek reelection
State Rep. Parkey Strader, the Republican who represents the 14th District in northwest Knox County, has announced he will not seek re-election after two terms. Strader was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2006 and has undergone multiple surgeries and other treatment.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Disciplinary Actions
Missing lawyer suspended
Madhurendra Kumar Singh, a Tennessee attorney practicing in New Mexico, was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on Nov. 8 pending resolution of disciplinary action against him. The Supreme Court ordered the suspension based on a report from the Board of Professional Responsibility that Singh has disappeared from his last known home and office addresses and has failed to respond to a complaint of misconduct. Given these failures, the board concluded that Singh poses a threat of harm to the public.
Read the BPR release
TBA Member Services
TBA, Bank of America team up for no-fee credit card
The TBA World Points Rewards MasterCard from Bank of America places a new world of rewards, privileges, and service at your command -- with no annual fee.
Click here to learn more

 
 
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