CLE TeleSeminars: Convenient, informative, interesting

Still need an hour or two of CLE credit to meet your 2007 requirements? The TBA's TennbarU has a series of convenient, lunch time TeleSeminars this month to help you out. The series starts tomorrow (Dec. 6) with Ethical Concerns From the Criminal Defense Perspective, presented by well-known Knoxville attorney Tom Dillard. Up next on Dec. 11 is An Update on Basic Legal Ethics from Chattanooga lawyer Hugh Kendall. On Dec. 13, Paul Hayes from the TBA Tax Section will present an update on the Tennessee Investor Services Act passed by the legislature this year and on Dec. 18, Nashville trial consultant Brad Bradshaw will talk on Ethical Considerations for Witness Preparation and Jury Selection. TBA members can use the prepaid CLE credits that come with their Complete Membership to take these courses for free. All of the programs begin at noon Central Time.
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
03 - TN Court of Appeals
12 - 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.

STATE OF TENNESSEE, EX REL., HARVEY FARRIS, ET AL., v. JAMES D. DELANEY
CORRECTION


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James D. Delaney, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Warren Jasper, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, ex rel., Harvey Farris.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's September 2003 petition to enforce a 1999 settlement agreement for child support arrearages, and ordered enforcement of the agreement. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/delaneyj_Corr_120507.pdf


ARCENTA HARRISON v. QUENTON WHITE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Arcenta Van Harrison, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Arthur Crownover II, Senior Counsel for Appellees, Quenton White and Howard Cook.

Judge: CRAWFORD

The pro se Appellant, who was an inmate in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction, appeals the trial court's dismissal, on the ground of mootness, of his request for medical records. Finding that the Appellees herein did provide Appellant with all medical records held by Appellees, we affirm the order of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/harrisona_120507.pdf


TRACY M. LUNA, Individually and as the Surviving Spouse of James D. Luna, the Decedent v. ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Joseph Bednarz, Sr. and Joseph Bednarz, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tracy M. Luna.

Robert Shepherd Patterson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, St. Thomas Hospital.

Judge: FARMER

In this medical malpractice action, the trial court awarded summary judgment to defendant hospital on the basis of the statute of limitations. It later denied plaintiff's motion to alter or amend the judgment. Finding that the plaintiff established the existence of a disputed material fact regarding when she should have discovered her cause of action against the hospital, we reverse and remand the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/lunat_120507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LEODISH COE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph S. Ozment and Larry Copeland, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leodish Coe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Walter C. Scruggs and Kirby May, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Leodish Coe, pled guilty to fourth offense driving under the influence (DUI) and reserved a certified question of law. The question presented for review is whether the indictment properly charged a fourth offense DUI and whether the defendant's present offense constitutes a fourth offense DUI under Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-403. After review, we conclude the answer to both questions is affirmative and affirm the judgment from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/coel_120507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL W. GRAVES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; and Dee David Gay, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Edgar (Eddie) Taylor III, Hartsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael W. Graves.

Judge: WITT

The State appeals the trial court's suppression of evidence pursuant to Rule 3(c) of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, allowing an appeal when the substantive effect of a ruling by the trial court is dismissal of an indictment. The defendant, Michael W. Graves, moved to suppress evidence seized during a search of his house. The trial judge concluded that the evidence had been illegally seized and granted the motion to suppress. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/gravesm_120507.pdf


JEFFREY HOPKINS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Barney Witherington, IV, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey Hopkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Jeffrey Hopkins, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to file a motion to suppress his confession. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hopkinsj_120507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEWAYNE JONES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Marty B. McAfee (on appeal) and Ross Sampson (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dewayne Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Stacey McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant, Dewayne Jones, of two counts of aggravated rape, a Class A felony. Because the two counts alleged alternative theories of the same offense, the trial court merged the two convictions and sentenced the defendant as a Range I, violent offender to twenty-two years in the Department of Correction. The defendant appeals, alleging that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, including that the State did not prove venue was in Shelby County; (2) the trial court erred in not requiring the State to elect which of the aggravated rape counts it wished to proceed upon; and (3) the trial court misapplied one enhancement factor. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/jonesd_120507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RIACO LEVERSTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kevin E. Childress, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Riaco Leverston.

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

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Riaco Leverston, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, and was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender, to ten years in prison. He appeals this judgment, contending that (1) the evidence is not sufficient to support his conviction, (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement to police, (3) the trial court erred in admitting a photograph of the dead victim, and (4) his sentence is excessive. We conclude that no error exists, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/leverstonr_120507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARIO ANDRE McELRATH

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James T. Powell, Union City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Andre McElrath.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and James T. Cannon and Kevin D. McAlpin, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Mario Andre McElrath, was convicted by an Obion County jury of attempted sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school zone, a Class B felony, and sentenced to ten years in the Department of Correction and a fine of $2000. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial based on the State's violation of the rule of sequestration and in finding that the Drug-Free School Zone Act included criminal attempt as an offense that triggers increased sanctions. We conclude that these claims are without merit. However, based upon our plain error review, we conclude that the trial court improperly applied the Drug-Free School Zone Act to enhance the defendant's sentence. Accordingly, we affirm the defendant's conviction but remand for resentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/mcelrathm_120507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARIO MORRIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

R. Price Harris, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Morris.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Mario Morris, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of four counts of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, a Class A felony. After merging the four counts of aggravated robbery into two counts, the trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to ten years at 30% for each of the aggravated robbery convictions and as a violent offender to twenty years at 100% for the especially aggravated kidnapping conviction. Finding the defendant to be a dangerous offender, the trial court ordered that each of the sentences be served consecutively for a total effective sentence of forty years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court. However, because the record reveals that the defendant was improperly sentenced under the 2005 amendments to the 1989 Sentencing Act, we remand to the trial court for resentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/morrism_120507.pdf


ABDULLAH MORRISON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brett B. Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Abdullah Morrison.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Lee Coffee, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Abdullah Morrison, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his first degree murder conviction, arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present expert witness testimony on his diminished capacity. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/morrisona_120507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY JEROME NICHOLS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Shana Johnson, Assistant Public Defender, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Jerome Nichols.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Cameron Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Anthony Jerome Nichols, was indicted for one count of attempted first degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of reckless endangerment. He was convicted of attempted second degree murder, aggravated assault and assault. The trial court merged the aggravated assault and attempted second degree murder convictions and sentenced the defendant as a Range I, standard offender to twelve years, and to eleven months and twenty-nine days for the remaining assault conviction. The sentences were set to run concurrently. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for attempted second degree murder and that the trial court abused its discretion by enhancing his sentence. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/nicholsa_120507.pdf


TERRY JAMAR NORRIS v. TONY PARKER, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Terry Jamar Norris, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Terry Jamar Norris, appeals the summary dismissal of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/norrist_120507.pdf


PERVIS PAYNE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Brook Lathram, Todd Rose, and Daniel Kiel, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pervis Payne.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and John Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

In 1988, the Petitioner, Pervis Payne, was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and one count of assault with intent to commit first degree murder. For the capital offenses, the jury imposed sentences of death. The trial court imposed a sentence of thirty years confinement for the non-capital conviction. The convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal by the Tennessee Supreme Court. State v. Payne, 791 S.W.2d 10 (Tenn. 1990), aff'd by, 501 U.S. 808, 111 S. Ct. 2597 (1991). The Petitioner later sought post-conviction relief which pursuit was unsuccessful. See Pervis Tyrone Payne v. State, No. 02C01-9703-CR-00131 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Jan. 15, 1998), perm. to appeal denied, (Tenn. Jun. 8, 1998). On September 7, 2006, the Petitioner filed a motion to compel testing of evidence under the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001. The post-conviction court denied the motion on March 29, 2007. Upon review of ththe judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/paynep_120507.pdf


JOSE RAMIREZ v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Vanessa Saenz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jose Ramirez.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Robert N. Hibbett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Jose Ramirez, pled guilty to aggravated assault and the trial court, pursuant to a plea agreement, sentenced him to a three-year sentence to be served on supervised probation. The court dismissed the petition, finding that the petitioner had filed his petition outside the one-year statute of limitations period. After review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/ramirezj_120507.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Supreme Court Report
Practice Management
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Jurors acquit inmate on death row for 15 years
A jury has acquitted a man who was granted a retrial after spending more than 15 years on Tennessee's death row. Michael Lee McCormick, 55, was given a new trial after the appeals court decided he had inadequate defense counsel when sentenced to death in 1988. More recent DNA test results also showed that evidence used to place him at the scene of the crime was not his.
The Knoxville News Sentinel has this AP story
IRS approves Maddox Foundation settlement
Tennessee officials say the Internal Revenue Service has given final approval to a $55 million settlement over a disputed charitable trust. The approval clears the way for the transfer of the money from the Maddox Foundation, now based in Mississippi, back to Tennessee.
The Sun Herald has the story
Wilson County makes needed jail improvements
Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe said this week that the county has taken the steps necessary to bring its jail into compliance with federal standards and is now waiting for approval from the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2006, the department identified several conditions and policies that violated inmates' constitutional rights. NewsChannel 5 in Nashville reported on the improvements.

Montgomery County names new bar leadership
The Montgomery County Bar Association recently held its annual election. New officers include President Raymond F. Runyon with Runyon & Runyon, Vice President Michael Pugh with Parker & Pugh and Secretary/Treasurer Sheri Phillips with Olson & Phillips PLLC -- all of Clarksville.

Sevier lawyer honored for national park work
The Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park recognized long-time board member John Waters for his service to the group at a fundraising event this week. Former board member and Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade praised Waters and presented him with a stuffed river otter wearing a captain's hat. Waters is an attorney with Long Ragsdale & Waters in Sevierville.
Read more in the Mountain Press
Legislative News
Bureau needs funds to meet DNA directive
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said this week that the bureau does not have the resources it needs to comply with a new state law requiring the collection of DNA samples from everyone arrested for a violent crime. He estimates it will cost at least $1 million a year to pay for the increase in sample processing. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, the main sponsor of the law, replied that funding the effort will be the legislature's "highest priority."
The News Sentinel has more
Supreme Court Report
Arguments offered today on enemy combatants
The Supreme Court heard arguments today on whether terror suspects being held in Cuba can challenge their imprisonment in U.S. courts. Last year Congress passed legislation forbidding these individuals from seeking justice in a federal court until they submit to a special military tribunal. In this case, the detainees argue that the tribunal system is so flawed it is unconstitutional.
Read about it on Law.com
Yesterday's decisions
The court issued two opinions yesterday. In the first, justices ruled against a defendant challenging a sentencing enhancement. The second opinion clarified that federal law allows railroads to challenge the accounting formulas states use to measure the value of rail property.
Learn more on SCOTUSblog
Practice Management
'Lend-an-associate' is growing trend
An innovative perk being offered to favored clients by a small but growing number of law firms can also provide big benefits to associates and the firm. These so-called "secondments" are essentially a loan of an associate to work onsite for a client for a set period of time. According to an article in New York Lawyer, the practice allows clients to get the benefit of the associate's work at significantly less than it would pay the firm at ordinary billable-hour rates; allows the associate to gain valuable expertise in the client's business; and helps the firm solidify client loyalty.
Read more about this trend
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville attorney reinstated after paying fees
LaKenya R. Middlebrook has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying the annual BPR fee.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2007 fee violations
Two attorneys complete CLE requirements
Cynthia Marrone of Connecticut and Teresa Annette Scott of Maryland have been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after complying with requirements for continuing legal education.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2006 CLE violations
TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
Visit the site

 
 
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