Meeting in the Mountains features free CLE

Lawyers from across Tennessee will be in the Smoky Mountains this summer as the Tennessee Bar Association convenes its annual convention in Gatlinburg June 11-14. Register now to take part in the Meeting in the Mountains -- and receive free access to two days of CLE programming. You don't want to miss it.

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
07 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
01 - 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.


Court: TCA


Charles Galloway Blackard, III, Brentwood, Tennessee, for appellant Jack Edward Taylor. Jacky O. Bellar and Jamie Douglas Winkler, Carthage, Tennessee, for appellant, Joyce Hoyt.

Angello L. Huong, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellees, Janice Eula Taylor and Sandra Hudson.


Two children of the late Bertie M. Taylor filed this action against two of their siblings, attorneys-in-fact for Ms. Taylor, to set aside a quitclaim deed conveying land of their mother executed through the use of a durable power of attorney. Plaintiffs alleged that the power of attorney was invalid due to Bertie Taylor's lack of mental capacity; that the quitclaim deed was invalid because it contained the signature of only one of the attorneys-in-fact; and that the Defendants breached their confidential relationship with Ms. Taylor by engaging in self-dealing and/or undue influence. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant Hoyt on the issues of Ms. Taylor's mental capacity and the required number of signatures on the quitclaim deed; and granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on the issues of Defendants' violation of their duties as attorneys-in-fact, violation of the confidential relationship and Defendant Jack Taylor's undue influence of Ms. Taylor. The Court declared the quitclaim deed void and vested each Plaintiff with a one-fifth interest in the property. We affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment on the issues of Ms. Taylor's mental capacity, Defendants' violation of their duties as attorneys-in-fact and violation of the confidential relationship; we vacate the trial court's grant of summary judgment on the issue of Defendant Jack Taylor's undue influence; we reverse the trial court's grant of summary judgment on the issue of the required number of signatures on the deed; and we affirm the relief granted Plaintiffs by the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Rodney J. Campbell, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Rachel West Harmon and Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorneys General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The pro se petitioner, Rodney Campbell, appeals as of right the Hickman County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petition alleges that his twenty- five-year sentence for second degree murder is void because it violates Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004). The habeas corpus court summarily dismissed the petition for failure to state a cognizable claim. Following our review, we affirm the habeas corpus court's judgment.


Court: TCCA


Jeremy Crosby, Only, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Pamela S. Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Jeremy Crosby, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's order dismissing his pro se petition for post-conviction relief without a hearing. The state contends that the trial court properly dismissed most of the petitioner's claims but admits that the post-conviction court should have appointed counsel to address the petitioner's claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. After reviewing the record, we affirm the majority of the post-conviction court's order but remand the case to the post-conviction court for the appointment of counsel and additional proceedings regarding the petitioner's claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.


Court: TCCA


Roger G. Day (on appeal) and Michael D. Kellum (at trial), Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chadwick Allen Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; and Melanie F. Gwinn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Chadwick Allen Johnson, pled guilty in the Unicoi County Criminal Court to one count of child abuse or neglect and one count of attempted child abuse. He received a total effective sentence of three years and six months. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Robert S. Peters and Norris A. Kessler, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and William Bobo Copeland, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Charles Johnson, pled guilty in the Franklin County Circuit Court to two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and agreed to concurrent six-year sentences with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the appellant to serve the sentences in confinement. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying his request for alternative sentencing. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Drew W. Taylor, Erin, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Douglas Marshall Mathis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Carey Thompson, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Douglas Marshall Mathis, was indicted by the Houston County Grand Jury for first degree murder and second degree murder. In May of 2001, Petitioner entered a guilty plea to second degree murder, which he subsequently withdrew. At the conclusion of a jury trial, he was convicted of first degree murder. Petitioner was sentenced to life in prison. Petitioner unsuccessfully appealed his conviction to this Court. State v. Douglas Marshall Mathis, No. M2002-02291-CCA-R3-CD, 2004 WL 392710 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Mar. 3, 2004). On June 16, 2005, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court denied the petition by order filed November 14, 2006. Petitioner now appeals the denial of his petition. On appeal he argues that: (1) he was denied a fair and impartial jury; (2) he was denied the right to confront two witnesses at trial; (3) he was prosecuted for first degree murder without a valid first degree indictment; and (4) his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. We have reviewed the record and conclude that Petitioner has waived his issues with respect to the denial of a fair and impartial jury and right to confront witnesses, Petitioner's indictment was valid, and he was afforded effective assistance of counsel. Therefore, we affirm the decision of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Martha Yoakum, Jacksboro, Tennessee (on appeal); Dan Korth, Tazewell, Tennessee (at trial); for the Appellant, Robert L. Short.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; Tracy Jenkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Union County jury convicted the Defendant, Robert L. Short, of driving under the influence, violating the implied consent law, and failing to provide proof of financial responsibility. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of eleven months and twenty nine days, with sixty days in confinement and the remainder on probation. The Defendant claims on appeal that the State presented insufficient evidence to convict him. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgments.


Court: TCCA


Anne M. Davenport, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Ortega Wiltz.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Ortega Wiltz, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of two counts of facilitation of especially aggravated kidnapping and one count of facilitation of aggravated kidnapping. The trial court merged the conviction for facilitation of aggravated kidnapping into one of the convictions for facilitation of especially aggravated kidnapping. As a result of his convictions, Petitioner was sentenced to consecutive twenty-year sentences. This Court affirmed Petitioner's convictions and sentences on direct appeal. See State v. Christopher L. Williams, No. M2003-00517-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 WL 639123, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Mar. 16, 2005), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Oct. 10, 2005). Petitioner subsequently sought post-conviction relief on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied the petition after a hearing. On appeal, Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court improperly denied the petition. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court because we conclude that Petitioner failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial.

Federal Partial Birth Abortion Act

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-04-25

Opinion Number: 08-97


Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Memphis event launches Law Week activities
The Memphis legal community turned out in big numbers this afternoon to celebrate the launch of Law Week activities at a Court Square Park event hosted by the Tennessee Bar Association, the Memphis Bar Association and a number of other legal and professional groups.
See photos from the event
Second candidate applies for judicial post
A second candidate has applied to fill the open Western Division Court of Criminal Appeals seat. Assistant Shelby County Public Defender Garland Ingram Erguden joins W. Mark Ward, a 30th Judicial District Criminal Court judge, who earlier applied. The deadline for applicants is May 9.
Get more information and forms from the AOC web site
Bankruptcy judge reappointed
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge R. Thomas Stinnett has been reappointed to a 14-year term by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Stinnett, who was first appointed in 1994, holds court in Chattanooga and Winchester. has more
Not everything is best done in open, commentary says
The debate over open government legislation has become too frenzied, a Nashville Post commentary says. Forcing every instance of state and local government to be subject to open-meetings laws is counterproductive to effective government, it says.
Read the full commentary
Lineweaver asks for bar code scanners to fix filing system
Embattled Metro Nashville Juvenile Court Clerk Vic Lineweaver took his request for a new bar code filing system to the Metro Council Thursday. Funding would come from the Metro capital budget and not the juvenile court clerk's operating budget, which is facing cuts from Mayor Karl Dean.
Read more in the Nashville City Paper
No delay in prison for Ford
U.S. District Court Judge J. Daniel Breen today denied a last minute attempt by former state senator John Ford to delay the start of his 5-and-1/2-year prison sentence. Ford has argued that he should remain free until the conclusion of a separate criminal trial in Nashville. The denial means he must report to the Federal Prison Camp at Pollock, La., by 2 p.m. on Monday, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Water woes leave new jail unusable
The new Fayette County jail in Somerville remains unoccupied more than two months after completion as county officials work to ensure it has adequate water-pressure levels. About 70 inmates remain in the old Somerville jail, which has been described by prison officials as deteriorating and crowded.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Conservative, but not biased, Scalia says
Lingering claims that he (and other justices) decided one of the most famous cases in recent memory, Bush v. Gore, on political rather than legal grounds is "nonsense," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says in an upcoming 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl.
Read about the interview from CBS
Did officials go too far in Texas polygamy case?
Some lawyers who support religious freedoms are questioning the removal of more than 400 children from the polygamous sect's compound.
The ABA Journal looks at the reasons why
Legislative News
Bredesen expected to sign med-mal bill
Gov. Phil Bredesen is expected to sign into law a bill dealing with medical malpractice suits that passed the Senate this week. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that, "if the process helps to give lawyers what they need to better determine the cases that have the most merit, then itís a good thing. We just have to see."
The Commercial Appeal has details
Debate to focus on election of judges
The Nashville Chapter of the Federalist Society will host a debate and reception Monday on the question of whether the election of judges is good public policy. Alabama Supreme Court Justice Harold F. See Jr. will square off with former Tennessee Attorney General Paul G. Summers. Waller Lansden partner Joseph A. Woodruff will moderate the 4:30 p.m. event at Boult Cummings Conners & Berry PLC, 1600 Division St., Suite 700. The cost is $10. Contact the Nashville group to register or learn more

Justice Koch to keynote Knox Bar Law Day Luncheon
The Knoxville Bar Association will host its annual Law Day Luncheon May 1 at Calhoun's on the River. The program will feature an address by Justice William Koch of the Tennessee Supreme Court, as well as recognition of the local high school mock trial champions and presentation of the Law and Liberty Award.
Learn more about the event
Disciplinary Actions
Trenton lawyer censured
The Tennessee Supreme Court on April 18 publicly censured Trenton lawyer Jeffrey A. Smith. The censure followed a complaint that Smith had failed to adequately supervise an employee, allowing him to participate in the unauthorized practice of law, violating Rule 5.3 of the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct.
Read the BPR release
TBA Member Services
TBA, Bank of America team up for no-fee credit card
The TBA World Points Rewards MasterCard from Bank of America places a new world of rewards, privileges, and service at your command -- with no annual fee.
Click here to learn more

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2008 Tennessee Bar Association