Supreme Court upholds 3-drug lethal injection method

The Supreme Court today upheld the nation's most common method of lethal injection, likely clearing the way for states to resume executions that have been on hold for months. By a vote of 7-2, the justices rejected a challenge to Kentucky's use of the so-called three-drug protocol. Similar methods are used by roughly 36 states, including Tennessee. Law.com has more on the court decision:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1208342618087

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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CHRISTINA ALTICE v. NATS, INC. ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stephen E. Grauberger, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christina Altice.

Stanley A. Kweller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, NATS, Inc., Mary Friddell, and Estate of Rosa Mary Humphreys.

Judge: BENNETT

Plaintiff sued defendants to collect a judgment against a defunct nonprofit corporation, claiming defendants were the alter egos of the defunct corporation. The trial court declined to add a fourth defendant and granted summary judgment against the plaintiff. Plaintiff appeals both decisions of the trial court. We affirm in part and reverse in part the grant of summary judgment and reverse the decision not to add the fourth defendant.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/alticec_041608.pdf


PDQ DISPOSAL, INC. v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE-DAVIDSON COUNTY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Lora Barkenbus Fox, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County.

Gerald E. Martin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, PDQ Disposal, Inc.

Judge: BENNETT

A corporation providing garbage collection services under a contract with Metropolitan Nashville brought suit seeking reimbursement for waste disposal fees allegedly due under the contract. After a trial, the chancellor found in favor of the disposal company and awarded it damages for breach of contract. Metro appeals the court's interpretation of the contract. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/pdqdisposal_041608.pdf


GABRIAL AYUEL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gabriel Ayuel, Only, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; and Ronald Davis, District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Gabrial Ayuel, filed a petition for habeas corpus relief in the Circuit Court of Hickman County, attacking his conviction in the Davidson County Criminal Court for attempted first degree murder. Judgment was entered on the conviction on September 17, 2003, following a jury trial. The habeas court summarily dismissed the petition without a hearing. Petitioner appealed and the State has filed a motion for affirmance by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee. After review of the record, we find that the State's motion should be granted. Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/ayuelg_041608.pdf


JOHNNY L. MCGOWAN, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Johnny L. McGowan, Jr., Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; and William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Johnny L. McGowan, Jr., appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his petition for error coram nobis relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/mcgowanj_041608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LARRY E. RATHBONE AND VERONDA GEAN FLEEMAN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Martha Yoakum, District Public Defender, and Charles A. Herman, Sr. Assistant Public Defender, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry E. Rathbone and Veronda Gean Fleeman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Scarlett E. Ellis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendants, Larry E. Rathbone and Veronda Gean Fleeman, were convicted of two counts of child rape, Class A felonies, three counts of aggravated sexual battery, Class B felonies, and one count of attempted child rape, a Class B felony. Thereafter, Defendant Rathbone received a total effective sentence of fifty-six years, and Defendant Fleeman received a total effective sentence of forty-six years. On appeal, the following issues are presented for review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain each of the defendants' convictions; and (2) whether the trial court erred in sentencing the defendants. Following a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we reverse and vacate Defendant Fleeman's convictions for criminal responsibility for child rape, attempted child rape, and aggravated sexual battery as reflected in counts 7 through 11 of the indictment. We affirm Defendant Fleeman's conviction for aggravated sexual battery as reflected in count 12 of the indictment. We affirm Defendant Rathbone's convictions for child rape, attempted child rape, and aggravated sexual battery as reflected in counts 1, 3, 5, and 6 of the indictment. However, we conclude that the trial court failed to merge two convictions for aggravated sexual battery based on alternative theories, and that the trial court did not follow proper procedures in imposing consecutive sentences. We therefore remand this case to the trial court for merger of Defendant Rathbone's convictions for aggravated sexual battery as reflected in counts 2 and 4 of the indictment into his convictions for child rape as reflected in counts 1 and 3 of the indictment, and for a new sentencing hearing regarding consecutive sentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/rathbonel_041608.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Upcoming
TennBarU CLE
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Disaster legal hotline to run through April 28
Victims of February's tornadoes in Tennessee have until April 28 to request free legal assistance by calling a toll-free disaster legal services hotline at (877) 396-6248. The line will be operated Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time by Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services staffers, who will refer requests to local legal aid offices in coordination with the TBA Young Lawyers Division.

AG joins lead paint suit
Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper has joined with 15 other state AGs to file an amicus brief in a Rhode Island lawsuit against former lead paint manufacturers. The state-backed case calls on the companies to make restitution for harm done, and uses a claim of public nuisance as a way around certain defenses such as a tolled statute of limitations.
Learn more from Legal Newsline
Four new staff join Shelby County DA's office
The Shelby County District Attorney General's Office has added four new staff members, including Paul Boyd, a human resources manager who previously worked for Shelby County and Tom Helldorfer, a new criminal investigator who recently retired as a sergeant from the Memphis Police Department. The office also has appointed David F. Lytal as special agent in charge of the 30th Judicial District's West Tennessee Violent Crime and Drug Task Force. Lytal recently worked as a program director for Thailand's International Law Enforcement Academy. Finally, Chris Ford has been appointed administrator of the office's new case management system and support staff. He has 15 years of retail management, music and electronics experience. The Memphis Daily News reported on the announcement.

Homemakers could lose under new divorce ruling
A recent decision by the state Supreme Court has drawn mixed reactions from practioners. The case, in which a wage-earning husband keeps $1.7 million in stock while his homemaker wife gets nothing, is precedent-setting say some. Others, however, contend it is too early to tell if the decision will substantially affect how property is divided in divorce cases.
Read about the ruling in the Tennessean
Judge, attorneys raise cancer research funds
Kudos to Fentress County General Sessions Court Judge Todd Burnett who teamed up with his brother, attorney Philip Burnett, and the Crossville law firm of Bean, Smith, Burnett and Patton to raise money for the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life." The team cooked and served approximately 500 barbeque plate lunches on April 11 to raise the funds. Other attorneys who participated were Susan Hyder, Earl Patton and Jimmy Smith.

Legislative News
Legislation would change jury selection procedures
Legislation that changes procedures for jury selection passed the state Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Sponsored by Rep. Dewayne Bunch, R-Cleveland, the bill (SB3839) contains numerous changes to current law regarding juries, jurors and judicial commissions.
Read the bill's provisions
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
Murder convict cleared by DNA speaks Thursday
Kerry Max Cook was accused of rape and murder in Tyler, Texas, in 1977, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Some 22 years later DNA evidence cleared him of the crime. He now travels the country speaking about his quest for exoneration. Cook will make a stop at East Tennessee State University tomorrow from 7-9 p.m. in Room 112 of Brown Hall. The public is invited to attend, reports the Johnson City Press.

TennBarU CLE
New immigration laws and your clients
As immigration has heated up in political debates, federal and state enforcement activity has increase dramatically. New federal regulations increase penalties on employers violating immigration laws including tough new criminal sanctions. Tennessee has ratcheted up the pressure as well through a new employer sanctions law that is one of the nation's toughest. Learn how all of this affects your clients -- whether they are employers or involved in mergers and acquisitions -- at this May 7 TennBarU CLE.
Register or learn more now
TBA Member Services
Guide to pro bono assistance
The TBA YLD has released a new resource to help volunteer attorneys provide meaningful legal services to victims of natural disasters. The 83-page document addresses a wide range of legal and social service issues disaster victims most frequently face. And unlike other resources that have been used in the past, this manual is Tennessee specific.
Download a copy today

 
 
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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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