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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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - 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.

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/certlist_041408.pdf


MS HOLDINGS, LLC v. LARRY MALONE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jason Wolfkill, Memphis, TN, for Respondent/Appellant

John S. Golwen, Timothy R. Johnson, Kristen C. Wright, Memphis, TN, for Petitioner/Appellee

Judge: CANTRELL

The Chancery Court of Shelby County entered judgment on an appraiser's report of the value of a dissenter's shares in MS Holdings LLC. The Court also assessed attorneys' fees and costs against the dissenter. On appeal, the dissenter asserts that the appraiser failed to take into account the value attributable to MS Holdings' imminent future plans and that the Court erred in assessing attorneys' fees and costs against him. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/msholdings_041408.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES LEONARD CORDER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gary J. Swayne, Assistant District Public Defender, Camden, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Leonard Corder.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Hansel Jay McCadams, District Attorney General; and Jennifer A. Hedge, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, James Leonard Corder, was convicted of driving on a revoked license and violating the Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender Act. The defendant was sentenced to six years in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain his conviction. The defendant also argues that the statute cited in the warrant for the defendant's arrest was different from the statute cited in the defendant's indictment, and therefore "an error." Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/corderj_041408.pdf


REGINALD DION HUGHES v. TONY PARKER, WARDEN (STATE OF TENNESSEE)

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Reginald Dion Hughes, Pro Se, W.T.S.P., Henning, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Reginald Dion Hughes, appeals the circuit court's order summarily dismissing his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. Following our review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the court's order.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hughesr_041408.pdf


STACY JOHNSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles S. Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stacy Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Michele Parks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Stacy Johnson, was convicted of eight counts of burglary of a motor vehicle, two counts of burglary of a building, and theft of property over $1000. He received an effective sentence of thirty years. He seeks post-conviction relief arguing that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. He appeals the trial court's denial of post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to move to sever his indictments and in failing to investigate an alibi defense and defense witnesses. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/johnsons_041408.pdf


OTIS MORRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Patrick E. Stegall (on appeal), and Tim Williams (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Otis Morris.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Chris Scruggs and Nicole Germain, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Otis Morris, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that he entered into an unknowing and involuntary guilty plea to the charge of attempted second degree murder. After a thorough review of the record and the parties' briefs, the judgment of the post-conviction court denying post-conviction relief is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/morriso_041408.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KOY OWENS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mark A. Mesler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Koy Owens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Carrie Shelton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Koy Owens, pled guilty to simple assault, a Class A misdemeanor, and to solicitation of aggravated assault, a Class E felony. He received concurrent sentences of seven days for assault and one-and-a-half years for solicitation. The trial court denied in part and granted in part the defendant's petition to have his sentence suspended. The trial court ordered the defendant to serve forty-five days in confinement, day-for-day, on a non-consecutive basis and imposed two years probation. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by refusing to fully suspend his sentence. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/owensk_041408.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT WARREN TILLMAN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Carla Kent Ford, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Warren Tillman

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Hugh Garrett, Assistant District Attorney General; and Leah Wilson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial Defendant was convicted of one count of attempted rape of a child and one count of aggravated sexual battery. The trial court sentenced Defendant to eight years to serve at 100 percent for the aggravated sexual battery conviction and eight years to serve at 100 percent for the attempted rape of a child conviction with the sentences to run concurrently. On appeal, Defendant argues (1) there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction of aggravated sexual battery; (2) the trial court erred in refusing to sit as the thirteenth juror and grant Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal or Motion for New Trial; (3) the trial court erred in failing to merge the convictions of Defendant; and (4) Defendant was sentenced to an improper percentage for the conviction of attempted rape of a child. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the trial court's judgment as to the sufficiency of the evidence to support a conviction of aggravated sexual battery and conclude that the trial court fulfilled its role as the thirteenth juror. As to Defendant's third argument, we merge the attempted rape of a child conviction into the aggravated sexual battery conviction thereby creating an effective sentence of eight years to be served at 100 percent pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-501(a)(2)(i)(1)(2)(H). This cause is remanded to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment. Lastly, had the conviction for attempted rape of a child not been merged into the conviction for aggravated sexual battery, Defendant would be entitled to an amended judgment reflecting a 30 percent release eligibility date on the sentence for attempted rape of a child.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/tillmanr_041408.pdf


Appointing Members of the Shelbyville Electric Power, Water and Sewerage Board

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-04-14

Opinion Number: 08-93

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_93.pdf

Validity of Pending Legislation Affecting Processing and Disposal of Radioactive Waste Material

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-04-14

Opinion Number: 08-94

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2008/ag_08_94.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Legislative News
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Legal News
Editorial: Teen court is a success
As the teen court in Montgomery County hits its fifth anniversary, the Leaf-Chronicle praises the program, saying it is making a big difference in young people's lives.
Read the comments
Don't think like a lawyer when it comes to juries: focus groups can help
These days, lawyers are hiring jury focus groups to help with their presentations before trial. "Lawyers have a unique handicap. Once they've gone to law school they don't think like normal people anymore. They think like lawyers," says the head of one company that rounds up, prepares and records these $15-an-hour critics through newspaper ads, Craigslist, voting records and other sources. "The focus groups give them a looking glass into the minds of jurors."
The Commercial Appeal has more
30-year-old snail darter opinion still important
Thirty years after the tiny snail darter nearly stopped TVA from building the Tellico Dam, the main players of the conflict will gather this week in Knoxville for a symposium on what happened. Read about the controversy and the legal battles surrounding it in the News Sentinel. The case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 remains a landmark decision under the Endangered Species Act. "The court's opinion is still good law, and environmental law experts generally agree that this case is the most important court case in the history of environmental law," writes Knoxville lawyer Pam Reeves in a related column.

Conte receives national crime victim award
Tennessee first lady Andrea Conte has been honored with the National Crime Victim Service Award. U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey was scheduled to present the award to Conte in Washington as a prelude to National Crime Victims' Rights Week that begins on Sunday. Among other accomplishments, Conte was honored for founding a nonprofit organization called You Have the Power in 1993 to raise awareness about crime and justice issues.
NewsChannel5 has the AP story
Employee waterboarded as team-building exercise
A suit by a sales employee claims his boss subjected him to waterboarding as part of a "team-building exercise." Chad Hudgens, part of a 10-person telephone sales team, said he had volunteered for the exercise, devised by his supervisor during a slow sales week, but had no idea what he was about to experience, the Washington Post reports. What's at issue in the lawsuit Hudgens filed against his former employers -- just as in the ongoing global debate over the CIA's waterboarding of terrorism suspects -- is the question of intent.
Read it in the Washington Post
Politics
Frist, Democrats come to Puryear's aid
Former Sen. Bill Frist writes a Tennessean opinion piece supporting judicial nominee Gus Puryear and asking his former colleagues in the legislature to "separate politics from fact." Also, a renewed public relations push is organizing a letter-writing campaign to Judiciary Committee Democrats from fellow Democrats who support Puryear, the Nashville City Paper reports. At the top of the stack is a letter endorsing Puryear from former Clinton White House staffer Thurgood Marshall Jr., son of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Legislative News
Committee will study fate of DA Gibson's job
Both chambers of the General Assembly have agreed to form a special committee to study whether lawmakers should oust a prosecutor who corresponded with an inmate and a convict about their legal case. The House and Senate will each name five members to the panel on whether the conduct of District Attorney General Bill Gibson warrants his removal from office.
The Tennessean reports on this story from the AP
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Upcoming
Deadline for 6th Circuit Judicial Conference this week
The deadline to register for the 6th Circuit Judicial Conference is April 18. The gathering is May 7-10 in Chattanooga and includes all circuit, district, bankruptcy and magistrate judges of the circuit. Every other year (on even-numbered years) members of the bar are invited to participate in the conference.
Get more information on the 6th Circuit's web site
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.
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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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