Legal community leaders convene, praise winners

Leaders of the Tennessee Bar Association met last weekend at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville for its annual Leadership Conference, which included a series of programs on topics important to the Tennessee legal community, House of Delegates and Board of Governors meetings, and the Public Service Luncheon. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean gave the keynote address during the luncheon program in the capitol rotunda, talking about his experiences as a public service lawyer and how that has shaped his career. TBA's annual Access to Justice awards were also presented. Take a look at the events here:

https://www.tba2.org/tbatoday/news/2008/leadership_012208.html

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/certlist_012208.pdf


LISA W. PRUETT v. PAUL A. PRUETT

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John D. McMahan, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Lisa W. Pruett.

William H. Horton, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Paul A. Pruett.

Judge: SWINEY

Lisa W. Pruett ("Mother") and Paul A. Pruett ("Father") were divorced in 2003. The following year, Mother filed a petition to modify and increase Father's child support payment claiming, among other things, that there was a significant variance in the amount of Father's income. The Trial Court referred the matter to a Special Master who concluded that the Child Support Guidelines in effect when Mother filed her petition were applicable. Relying on those guidelines, the Special Master recommended that Father's monthly child support payment be set at $5,000. The Special Master also recommended that an educational trust be established for one of the children. Father filed several objections to the Special Master's report and, following a hearing on those objections, the Trial Court determined that Father had an annual income of $200,000 for purposes of calculating his child support payment. The Trial Court further modified the Special Master's findings, concluding that the Child Support Guidelines effective June 2006 were applicable and that under those guidelines, Father's basic monthly child support payment should be $3,153. Mother appeals the Trial Court's determination that the June 2006 guidelines were applicable. Father appeals the finding that his annual income was $200,000, and the establishment of the educational trust. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/pruettl_012208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HENRY COOPER and LAWRENCE M. WALKER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Coleman W. Garrett, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Henry Cooper; Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; Jennifer Johnson, Assistant Public Defender; and Garland Ergüden, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lawrence Montez Walker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Dean Decandia, Assistant District Attorney General; and Paul Hagerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Co-defendants, Henry Cooper and Lawrence M. Walker, were indicted on one count of attempted first degree premeditated murder and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping. Following a jury trial, co-defendants were convicted of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony, and were found not guilty of especially aggravated kidnapping. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant Cooper as a Range I, standard offender, to twelve years, and Defendant Walker, as a Range I, standard offender, to eleven years. On appeal, each Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence, and Defendant Cooper challenges the length of his sentence. Defendant Walker does not challenge his sentence on appeal. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/cooperh_012208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD WAYNE HAMPTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Benjamin S. Dempsey, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Wayne Hampton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Robert "Gus" Radford, District Attorney General; and Stephen D. Jackson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant was convicted by jury of possession of .5 grams or more of a schedule II substance (cocaine) with intent to sell or deliver, a Class B felony. For his conviction, he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. In this appeal, the defendant presents four issues for review: (1) whether the trial court improperly admitted evidence of a prior un-indicted drug sale at the defendant's residence in violation of Rule 404(b) of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence ; (2) whether the trial court erred in failing to include the defendant's special instruction in the jury charge; (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction; and (4) whether the defendant was denied his right to a fair and impartial jury verdict due to improper extraneous influences on the jury's deliberation. Finding no errors requiring reversal, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hamptonr_012208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTONIO RAMON SMILES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kari I. Weber, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio Ramon Smiles.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Tracey Brewer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Antonio Ramon Smiles, was convicted of introduction of contraband into a penal institution and possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana with intent to deliver. He received a total effective sentence of three years of confinement in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's failure to dismiss the indictment for introduction of contraband into a penal institution and the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/smilesa_012208.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Correction
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Bredesen says execution protocol change would slow down process
Gov. Phil Bredesen said Monday that proposals to introduce a one-drug lethal injection method to get around Tennessee's three-drug procedure would delay rather than expedite executions. "When you change protocols to something new you're going to have 10 years of litigation," the governor said. "We're not going to execute anybody for 10 years in this country, while all this new uncharted territory of what a one-drug protocol is and what problems it may or may not have get adjudicated."
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
State appeals order to release death row inmate House
The state is appealing a federal judge's ruling that could release ailing death row inmate Paul House. U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice Jr. issued a ruling in December that orders House's release unless prosecutors begin a new trial against him within 180 days after the order becomes final. State Attorney General Bob Cooper released a statement Friday saying the judge's ruling is being appealed because "the district court did not follow the U.S. Supreme Court's precedents in this area."
The News Sentinel reported this AP story
U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Enron case
The Supreme Court dealt a blow Tuesday to Enron investors who sued major investment banks to recover money lost when the Texas energy giant collapsed amid a massive accounting fraud. By refusing to review the investors' lawsuit, the court took away what may have been their only hope of keeping the case alive.
The Associated Press reports on Law.com
Rutherford docket to be split
Rutherford County's General Sessions Court docket has been split into two periods so everyone doesn't arrive at the same time, a move praised by the Daily News Journal in an editorial. Court officials made this move in response to a massive overload immediately after the holiday break when 500 cases were scheduled to be heard two days in a row. The halls were so crowded Jan. 2 that the fire marshal started evicting people who didn't have business before the court, the paper says.
Read the editorial
Old Supreme Court site to get new life
Knoxville officials announced Monday that a private developer is going to put in a mixed-use space -- a $78 million project -- on the site of the old State Supreme Court Building.
WATE-TV has the story
Upgrades coming to Rutherford Judicial Building
Commissioners have accepted a federal grant to pay $27,500 of the $72,000 cost of upgrading security at Rutherford County's Judicial Building. The county also plans to spend $40,000 on improved security at the historic courthouse on the square. The equipment to be installed in the Judicial Building, where court proceedings take place, will include the addition of digital recording, and an intercom system guards and judges can use to communicate directly.
The Tennessean has more
Lawyers keep murder secret until confessor dies
A client confessed to his two public defenders 26 years ago to a murder and told them they could reveal the truth after his death. Of course because they were representing him, attorney-client privilege applied and they couldn't ethically tell anyone else about his admitted role in the January 1982 Chicago killing. However, they wrote down the details in a notarized affidavit and locked it in a metal box. Last week, after Andrew Wilson's death of natural causes in November, Dave Coventry and Jamie Kunz testified in court about their client's confession to them.
The Chicago Tribune tells the story
Roe v. Wade 35th anniversary sparks vigils, rallies
Abortion rights activists mark the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade today with an annual vigil on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court and rallies at college campuses.
Read an overview of events from ABAJournal.com
Correction
Nashville lawyer Matthew Sweeney has applied for the 20th Judicial District Chancery Court vacancy. This is a seat created when Chancellor Richard Dinkins was appointed to the Court of Appeals, not from the retirement of Judge Walter C. Kurtz, as was reported in Friday's TBA Today.

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