Chief Justice Barker to retire in September

Chief Justice William M. Barker will retire Sept. 1 after a judicial career spanning 25 years. Barker, 66, is a native of Chattanooga. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Chattanooga and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati School of Law. In in a letter to Gov. Phil Bredesen, Barker said he has "seen countless positive changes in both substantive and procedural laws" while serving as a judge. Read more about Barker and his career from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

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Court: TSC


Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender, and Donna Robinson Miller, Assistant District Public Defender, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kacy Dewayne Cannon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; William Cox, III, District Attorney General; Mary Sullivan Moore and Boyd Patterson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Defendant was convicted of aggravated rape. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction but remanded for re-sentencing. Thereafter, we granted permission to appeal to consider the following issues: 1) whether the State failed to establish a proper chain of custody for the admission into evidence of pantyhose the victim was allegedly wearing at the time of the rape; 2) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction; 3) whether the trial court erred in denying the defense motion to suppress the identification of his DNA profile from a DNA database; 4) whether admission of the victim's statements into evidence through third parties violated Defendant's constitutional right of confrontation; 5) whether the friendship between the trial court and one of the prosecuting attorneys created a serious appearance of impropriety and biased the trial court against Defendant; and 6) whether the Court of Criminal Appeals erred by remanding this case for re-sentencing. After considering these issues, we conclude that the State failed to establish a proper chain of custody for the admission into evidence of the pantyhose and that the victim's statements describing the assault to the police officers and her statements to the sexual assault nurse examiner were testimonial and admitted in violation of Defendant's right of confrontation. We further hold that the trial court properly denied Defendant's motion to suppress and Defendant's motion for recusal. Because the error in admitting the pantyhose into evidence was not harmless, however, we reverse Defendant's conviction for aggravated rape and remand for a new trial.

WADE concurring


Court: TCA


Leroy Johnston Ellis, IV, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Larry T. Hunter, Thomas Edward Winstead, Sr., and James Walter Winstead, Individually and as Representative Trustees.

Douglas Berry, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Joseph Amos, Jr., Johnie Mae Pope, Charlie R. Amos, and Gladys Carter.


The matters at issue arise out of an action filed by four co-tenants against numerous other co-tenants to quiet title to the real property pursuant to doctrine of title by prescription. The trial court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, thereby quieting title in the plaintiffs. The defendants appeal contending the trial court erred by granting the plaintiffs' motion due to the undisputed fact that some of the co-tenants were under the disability of minority during the period of prescription. The parties to this action acquired title to the property as heirs-at-law following three generations of intestacy. The plaintiffs' claim is based upon the exclusive possession and occupancy of the property by their father, Pete Amos, who had exclusive use, possession and occupancy of the property for a period of twenty-one years, 1958 through 1979. When Pete Amos died in 1979, his wife and children acquired his interest in the property by intestacy, thereby becoming tenants in common along with the various other co-tenants; however, they did not actively farm the property or continuously occupy the property thereafter, as Pete Amos had done for the previous twenty-one years. Thus, the prescriptive period at issue is from 1958 to 1979. The plaintiffs, who are children of Pete Amos, filed this action to quiet title to the property to the exclusion of the other co-tenants, based upon the prescriptive period of 1958 to 1979. The record reveals, and it is undisputed, that one or more of the co-tenants between 1958 and 1979 were under the disability of minority. An essential element of a claim based upon the doctrine of title by prescription requires affirmative proof that none of the co-tenants were under a disability during the prescriptive period of twenty years. We therefore vacate the trial court's order granting the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TCA


Floyd S. Flippin and Terri S. Crider, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Gibson County, Tennessee.

J. Mark Johnson, Trenton, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lee Hayes.


This appeal arises from a declaratory judgment action in which Plaintiff sought a declaration of his rights under Tennessee Code Annotated section 8-24-102 as amended in 2001. Plaintiff asserted that the 2001 amendments to the general statute repealed by implication a 2000 private act establishing the compensation of the Gibson County Juvenile Court Clerk. The trial court determined the amendments to the statute superceded the private act, and that the salary for the juvenile court clerk should be established according to Tennessee Code Annotated section 8-24-102 as amended in 2001. We reverse.


Court: TCCA


Wade V. Davies and Kimberly A. Pride, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Lee Hanning.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Frank A. Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Jerry Lee Hanning, pled guilty to driving under the influence after the trial court denied his motion to suppress. The defendant's plea agreement preserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of the police encounter which preceded his arrest. Upon consideration of the certified question, we hold that the trial court projudgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Emma Rae Tennent, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal) and Allegra Montgomery, Assistant Public Defender, (at hearing), for the Appellant Malcolm Collins Lewis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Sharon Reddick, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Malcolm C. Lewis, pled guilty in Davidson County to possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. As part of the plea agreement, Appellant agreed to a five-year sentence. Appellant subsequently filed a petition to suspend sentence pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-314(c). The trial court denied the petition stating that it was "without authority" to alter Appellant's sentence. Because the trial court's order is unclear as to its basis for the denial of Appellant's petition, we remand the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


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