Governor selects Davidson County judges

Gov. Phil Bredesen today appointed Nashville attorney Joe P. Binkley Jr. to the Davidson County Circuit Court, Division V and Russell Perkins of Whites Creek to the Davidson County Chancery Court, Part IV. Binkley, a graduate of the Vanderbilt University Law School, has been a solo practitioner for 38 years. Perkins has been serving as deputy attorney general of the Tennessee Attorney General's Tobacco Enforcement Division since 2006. He joined the office in 1994 after working as an assistant Ohio attorney general and as an associate and partner in the Nashville firm of Williams & Dinkins. Perkins earned his law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law. Read more about the new judges in a press release from the governor's office:

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Court: TCA


Jimmy W. Bilbo, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Appellants Stanley M. Herring and wife, Melinda Herring.

K. Stephen Powers, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellees Coca-Cola Enterprises and/or Johnston Coca-Cola Bottling Company a/k/a Johnston Coca-Cola Bottling Group, Inc. and/or Johnston Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper Bottling Company and/or Coca-Cola Enterprises Bottling Companies.


Stanley M. Herring ("Plaintiff") was employed as a truck driver for U.S. Express. U.S. Express contracted with Coca-Cola Enterprises to deliver soft drinks. In October of 2002, Plaintiff was at Coca-Cola Enterprises' facility in Bradley County, Tennessee, to pick up soft drinks for delivery to Georgia. Toward the end of the loading process, Plaintiff expressed to Coca-Cola Enterprises' employees his concern that the soft drinks had not been loaded properly. Despite repeated complaints made by Plaintiff as to the improper loading, Plaintiff nevertheless accepted the products as loaded and drove to Georgia. Upon his arrival in Georgia, Plaintiff discovered that several cases of soft drinks had fallen to the floor of the truck. While picking up the fallen soft drinks, Plaintiff was injured. Plaintiff sued Coca-Cola Enterprises for negligence. Coca-Cola Enterprises filed a motion for summary judgment claiming Plaintiff's claim was barred under Georgia law because Plaintiff had violated 49 C.F.R. section 392.9 by failing to ensure that his cargo was properly distributed and adequately secured. The Trial Court agreed and further held that Plaintiff's claim also failed because he had assumed the risk under Georgia law. Plaintiff appeals, and we affirm.


Court: TCA


Robert L. Huskey and Jason L. Huskey, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gloria Windsor.

Michael P. Mills and Michael B. Schwegler, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, DeKalb County Board of Education.


In this action against the DeKalb County Board of Education and the Director of Schools, the plaintiff seeks judicial review of her termination in 2001 as a tenured teacher, reinstatement to her former position, and back pay pursuant to the Tennessee Teacher Tenure Act, Tenn. Code Ann. sections 49-5-501 to -515. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition, finding it untimely. We affirm the summary dismissal of the petition as being untimely.


Court: TCCA


Antonio J. Beasley, Sr., appellant, pro se.

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

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Antonio J. Beasley, Sr., appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court's dismissal of his June 21, 2007 "motion [for] writ [of] error coram nobis," through which the petitioner apparently attacked a 1990 conviction of attempt to commit arson. The State of Tennessee has moved this court to summarily affirm the criminal court's order pursuant to Rule 20 of the Tennessee Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We agree that the case is appropriate for disposition via Rule 20, and we affirm the order of the criminal court.


Court: TCCA


James O. Martin, III, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Rayburn McGowan, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee (at trial), for the Appellant, Shawn Blair.

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

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Shawn Blair, was convicted by a Rutherford County jury of possession of 300 grams or more of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver, a Class A felony, and simple possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor. Following a sentencing hearing, Blair was sentenced to concurrent sentences of eighteen years and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the respective convictions. On appeal, Blair raises three issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the felony conviction, specifically whether he knowingly possessed 300 grams or more of cocaine; (2) whether the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the lesser- included offenses of (a) facilitation of a felony and (b) possession of 26 grams of cocaine or more, a Class B felony; and (3) whether the State improperly commented upon Blair's right to remain silent during closing arguments. Following review, we conclude that failure to instruct on Class B felony possession of cocaine was error. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for a new trial.


Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William Cox, Jr., District Attorney General; and Boyd Patterson, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellant, State of Tennessee.

Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender; Christian Coder and Donna Robinson Miller, Assistant District Public Defenders, attorneys for appellee, Frank Bennie Jackson, Jr.


A Hamilton County grand jury indicted the defendant, Frank Bennie Jackson, Jr., for possession of cocaine for resale, driving without a license, and failure to stop at a traffic signal. The defendant filed a motion to suppress alleging that the search of his vehicle incident to a custodial arrest was illegal because he should have received a citation in lieu of arrest for driving without a license and running a red light, both class C misdemeanors. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, the trial court agreed and suppressed all evidence seized as a result of the search incident to arrest. It is from this order that the state now appeals. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Kevin W. Shepherd, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Timothy Laron Lattimore.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Michael Flynn, District Attorney General; Tammy Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Blount County jury found the Defendant, Timothy Laron Lattimore, guilty of one count of second degree murder, one count of attempted second degree murder, one count of attempted first degree murder, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, and one count of aggravated kidnapping. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of forty years. The Defendant appeals on the ground that the jury improperly rejected his insanity defense. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court's judgment.


Court: TCCA


Ryan C. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lorenzo Dupree Marthel.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Lisa Angela Naylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Lorenzo Dupree Marthel, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that his plea of guilty to the offense of second degree murder was not voluntarily and knowingly entered into, and that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


John McDougal (at trial) and Lloyd A. Levitt (on appeal), attorneys for appellant, Algie Lavell McClure.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; William Cox, Jr., District Attorney General; Boyd Patterson and Bates Bryan, Assistant District Attorneys General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Algie Lavell McClure, appeals as of right his jury convictions in the Hamilton County Criminal Court for first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, reckless endangerment, and aggravated burglary. The trial court imposed Range I sentences of two years and three years for the reckless endangerment and aggravated burglary counts, respectively. The two year sentence is to be served consecutively to the life sentence for the merged first degree murder conviction, with all other sentences to be served concurrently. The defendant contends on appeal that there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions, that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of numerous prior bad acts of the defendant through multiple witnesses, that the trial court erred in admission of impeachment evidence, and that the trial court erred by not giving a credibility instruction relative to expectations of favorable treatment certain witnesses may have had in exchange for their testimony. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Adrian Wilkerson, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert G. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Adrian Wilkerson, appeals from the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The petitioner has failed to establish a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the state's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

Superior Parental Rights in Dependency and Neglect Proceedings

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-26

Opinion Number: 08-66

Validity of Amendment to Pending Legislation Affecting Surface Coal Mining Operations

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-03-26

Opinion Number: 08-67


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Legal News
Knox courts clogged with repeat offenders, PD halts representation
Every week hundreds of cases come before the Knox County courts and they often involve the same offenders. The caseload impacts prosecutors and jail overcrowding. WATE Channel 6 looks at the numbers and what they mean for the community. Read it here

In related news, the Knox County Public Defender filed a petition today asking that the General Sessions Court stop assigning his attorneys to misdemeanor cases. The filing states that the current workload from sessions felony and DUI, criminal and juvenile courts preclude effective representation of misdemeanor defendants.
The News Sentinel has the story
Women's groups weigh in on Puryear nomination
Several women's rights groups have announced opposition to the nomination of Gus Puryear IV to be federal judge in the Middle District of Tennessee. The groups cite his membership to Nashville's Belle Meade County Club as their reason, saying women are unable to vote or hold office at the private golf club.
The Tennessean has more
Threats to judge yield two-year sentence
Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee has held Joshua Beadle in contempt and sentenced him to 700 days in jail -- 10 days for every word Beadle uttered after being ordered to stop making threatening comments. At a hearing in July, Beadle spit at the judge but instead hit a clerk's computer. He used his return to court -- this time wearing a mask -- as an opportunity to apologize to the clerk and assure her that the judge had been his intended target.
The Tennessean reports
High schoolers introduced to conflict management
Lipscomb University's Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) is developing its first partnership with a high school in an effort to help teens find ways of dealing with difficult situations in their homes, neighborhoods and schools. A select group of students from Maplewood High School in Nashville will be working with institute faculty over the next six months. Their work will culminate in the creation of a conflict management plan for the school and implementation of a pilot program school-wide next fall if approved.
Learn more from ICM's web site
Athena award nominees include four lawyers
The Athena Award is considered by many to be Nashville's highest recognition for professional women. Last year's award winner was attorney Barbara Moss with Stites & Harbison PLLC. This year, nominees include Jane Hanner Allen, president of Counsel on Call, Davidson County General Sessions Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton, Metro Davidson County Juvenile Judge Betty Adams Green and former judge Marietta Shipley, now with the Mediation Group. The winner will be announced tomorrow at the annual Athena program at the Parthenon.
Learn more
Sevier County considers future of judicial facilities
Contractors working with Sevier County Commissioners say it is time to make plans for a new judicial facility. Among the reasons cited are multiple unsecured entries, lack of space for judges and clerks, and inadequate facilities for juries in the current courthouse. In addition, estimates of county growth indicate that in the next 20 years the courts will need to double their space -- an expansion that cannot be accomplished at the current location.
The Mountain Press has more
Legislative News
Democratic Caucus chair won't run again
Democratic Caucus Chairman and Savannah Representative Randy Rinks announced today he will not seek re-election to a 10th term. Rinks was first elected in 1990 and represents Hardin, McNairy and the southern half of Decatur counties. The qualifying deadline for those interested in running is April 3.
The Commercial Appeal has a profile of Rink's tenure
Lawmakers consider bills to protect information
Elected officials would be granted enhanced confidentiality under two measures scheduled for state Senate votes this week. One proposal would grant anonymity to officials who file complaints against businesses suspected of employing illegal immigrants. The other would keep elected officials' home addresses and phone numbers secret. While some lawmakers hope to protect local and state officials from harassment, others argue the bills run counter to the principles of open government.
Read about the debate in the Memphis Daily News
Supreme Court Report
Arbitration decision limits judicial review
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ruled that courts are limited in reviewing arbitration awards under the Federal Arbitration Act. Writing for the majority, Justice David Souter said there might be other legal avenues courts could use to examine the work of arbitrators, but that the high court was in no position to address such alternatives.
The AP reports on the decision
Papers critique Mukasey's first court appearance
Attorney General Michael Mukasey appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time in his professional life yesterday, restoring a tradition that the Justice Department's top lawyer participate in at least one oral argument. Papers around the country commented on his performance. Most called it dry, brief and to the point.
The ABA Journal links to several of these stories
Disciplinary Actions
Sullivan County attorney suspended
David E. Woodby, who last practiced in Sullivan County, was suspended on March 19 by the state Supreme Court. The court found that he failed to place in a separate trust account money for court costs paid by a client; file a petition for bankruptcy as agreed; refund a client's retainer; and respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility's petition for discipline.
Download the BPR notice
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