Supreme Court upholds individual right to bear arms

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that Americans have a constitutional right to keep guns in their homes for self-defense. It was the court's first major pronouncement on gun control since ratification of the Second Amendment in 1791. The 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia said that an individual right to bear arms is supported by "the historical narrative" both before and after the Second Amendment was adopted. Law.com has more on the decision.

In one commentary following the ruling, ABA President William Neukom expressed gratitude that the decision did not overturn reasonable regulations on gun ownership, licensing requirements or concealed carry limitations. Read his statement.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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GREIG MASSEY, ET AL., v. R.W. GRAF, INC., ET AL.
With dissenting opinion


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

George W. Morton, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellants.

Erica Taylor Greene, Morristown, Tennessee, and Michael S. Kelley, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellees.

Jerry M. Martin, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Khaden and Melanie Sakalla.

John G. Lockridge, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Jeremy Burgin.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiffs brought this declaratory judgment action, asking the Court to declare that building restrictions on platted parcels of property from a common grantor applied to a non-platted parcel purchased by defendants from a subsequent grantor. The Trial Court, responding to a summary judgment motion, made detailed findings of facts, and concluded that the "subject to" language in the deeds was ambiguous and construed the language against the inclusion of restrictions on any portion of the property that lay outside the platted subdivisions. Plaintiffs have appealed, and we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/masseyg_062608.pdf

SUSANO dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/masseyg_DIS_062608.pdf


DONNA HATMAKER PIERCE v. ROBERT JERROLD PIERCE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Sandra G. Olive, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Jerrold Pierce.

Tom McFarland, Kingston, Tennessee, for the appellee, Donna Hatmaker Fraley, formerly Pierce.

Judge: SUSANO

In this post-divorce case, Donna Hatmaker Pierce ("Wife") asked the court to find Robert Jerrold Pierce ("Husband") in contempt for his purported failure to ensure that Wife received her proper share of his retirement benefits under the parties' Marital Dissolution Agreement ("MDA"). The MDA awarded Wife "one-half of the value of husband's retirement accounts with Boilermakers Union and National Guard" that accrued during the marriage. Wife argues that the phrase "retirement accounts with . . . National Guard" was intended to include Husband's "Civil Service" retirement annuity, which he earned from a full-time weekday job that was connected to, but distinct from, his weekend National Guard duty at a nearby location. Husband points out that the National Guard retirement account and the Civil Service annuity are separate accounts, and argues that the MDA did not grant Wife any portion of the Civil Service account. After a bench trial, the court adopted Wife's interpretation and awarded her one-half of the Civil Service account. Husband appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/pierced_062608.pdf


REGINOL L. WATERS v. GAIL RAY, COMMISSIONER, TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Reginol Waters, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael Moore, Solicitor General, Pamela S. Lorch, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, Commissioner of Tennessee Department of Correction.

James I. Pentecost and Jon A. York, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Glen Tuner.

Judge: FARMER

Petitioner, an inmate with the Department of Correction, filed a declaratory judgment action alleging Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-25-143 had been unconstitutionally retroactively applied to his inmate trust account to reimburse the State for costs arising from the prosecution of Petitioner. In his complaint, Petitioner named the Warden of the Hardeman County Correctional Facility and the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction as Defendants. The trial court granted the Warden's motion to dismiss and awarded summary judgment to the Commissioner. Petitioner filed a Rule 59 motion to alter or amend and a premature notice of appeal to this Court. The trial court dismissed Petitioner's Rule 59 motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Petitioner appeals. We vacate the order of the trial court dismissing Petitioner's Rule 59 motion for lack of jurisdiction, and remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/watersr_062608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MITCHELL EADS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Wesley D. Stone, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mitchell Eads.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Jared R. Effler and Amanda Cox, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

In an eight-count indictment, the defendant, Mitchell Eads, was charged by the Claiborne County Grand Jury with two counts of theft of property over $10,000, three counts of burglary, one count of vandalism over $500, one count of theft of property over $1000, and one count of vandalism over $1000. The trial court granted the defendant's motion to sever the first five counts of the indictment, and the defendant was subsequently convicted in separate jury trials of three counts of burglary, two counts of theft of property over $1000, and one count of vandalism over $1000, all Class D felonies, for which he received an effective sentence of twenty-four years as a career offender. In a timely appeal to this court, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his convictions and argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress his statement, in denying his request for disclosure of the identity of a confidential informant, in refusing to issue a jury instruction on absent material witness, in imposing the fines fixed by the jury, and in imposing an excessive sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court and remand for entry of corrected judgments in Counts 6, 7, and 8 to reflect the $5000 fine imposed in each count.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/eadsm_062608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHANNON ALAN GRIFFIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Daniel J. Ripper, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shannon Alan Griffin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, District Attorney General; and Bates Bryan, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Shannon Alan Griffin, was charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault involving use of a deadly weapon, and two counts of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury after twice hitting his landlord with his car. The jury found the defendant guilty of all four counts of aggravated assault but could not reach a verdict on the two counts of attempted first degree murder. The trial court merged the four aggravated assault counts into two convictions and, as to the attempted first degree murder counts, declared a mistrial and ordered a new trial. Pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 10, the defendant appeals from the trial court's decision, arguing that he may not be retried on the attempted first degree murder counts because there did not exist manifest necessity for a mistrial and a retrial would violate the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Following our review, we affirm the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/griffins_062608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAWN MARIE HOBBS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dawn Marie Hobbs.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; James F. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant pled guilty to two counts of identity theft, two counts of fraud, and two counts of theft of property of $500 or less. The total effective sentence is three years with the manner of service to be determined after a sentencing hearing. Defendant also pled guilty to two failure to appear charges and was sentenced to two consecutive two year sentences, suspended by agreement. Following the sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that Defendant serve her three-year sentence incarcerated. Defendant has appealed arguing that the trial court erred by denying her request for an alternative sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hobbsd_062608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NEDDIE MACK LAWSON, I

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael G. Hatmaker, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Neddie Mack Lawson, I.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Amanda Sammons, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Neddie Mack Lawson, I, was convicted of misdemeanor DUI, his third offense. On appeal, the defendant argues that because he was indicted for felony DUI, fourth offense, and because the offense was committed more than one year before the filing of the indictment, he cannot be convicted of misdemeanor DUI because the misdemeanor conviction was barred by the statute of limitations. 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/lawsonn_062608.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RHEUBIN M. TAYLOR, II

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steve Strain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

B. Stewart Jenkins and Daniel K. Habenicht, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Rheubin M. Taylor, II.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Rheubin M. Taylor II, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, felony reckless endangerment, attempted voluntary manslaughter, and reckless aggravated assault which the trial court merged with the attempted voluntary manslaughter conviction. The trial court sentenced the defendant as a Range I, standard offender to four years, suspended to supervised probation with twelve months to be served on house arrest. At the hearing on the defendant's motion for a new trial, the trial court granted judicial diversion to the defendant. The State appeals, arguing that the trial court's grants of judicial diversion and probation are not supported by the record and should be reversed. The defendant argues that the trial court's sentencing determinations should be upheld and that the trial court erred in applying one sentencing enhancement factor. We conclude that, in granting judicial diversion, the trial court did not make sufficient findings to permit appellate review. Accordingly, we reverse the order of the trial court and remand for resentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/taylorr_062608.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Supreme Court Report
Passages
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Judge dismisses Ford motions
U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell this morning denied motions by former state Sen. John Ford to disqualify two federal prosecutors and dismiss the charges against him, ruling that the issues did not rise to the level required for disqualification or dismissal. With that decision, the trial is on track to begin next Monday.
Read about the defense arguments in the Commercial Appeal
Herenton says 'justice system' out to get him
A day after charges against former Memphis, Light, Gas and Water Division chief Joseph Lee III were dropped, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton blasted the Memphis business community, justice system and media for trying to run him out of office "by any means necessary." He cited the recently dropped case against Lee, whom he appointed four years ago, as evidence of a justice system skewed by race and politics.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Court removes 5 death row inmates from rolls
The Tennessee Supreme Court announced yesterday it has removed five inmates from the state's death row. They include Richard Austin, who died in prison earlier this month; Paul House, who will get a second trial in the slaying of a Union County woman; Richard Taylor, whose conviction was reversed by the state Court of Criminal Appeals; and Ronald Harries and Wayne Lee Bates, who both had death sentences overturned in recent years. WMC-TV News 5 in Memphis reported the story.

Slain lawyer's wife arrested for violating protection orders
The wife of slain lawyer James Cannon was arrested in Nashville yesterday on three counts of violating an order of protection -- one for each of her children -- when police found the children with her during their investigation into the death of her estranged husband. Cannon had secured orders of protection for his family after Kelley Cannon tried to take their youngest child in violation of a judge's ruling giving the father sole custody.
Read the latest in the case from the Tennessean
6th Circuit goes electronic
Effective June 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has implemented the ECF system for the electronic filing of court documents. A comment period on the move runs through Sept. 1.
For more information or to file a comment visit the court's web site
Rainey Kizer ready for downtown move
Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell PLC has offices in Jackson and East Memphis, but over the next few weeks it will open a new office in the Morgan Keegan Tower in downtown Memphis. The new office will replace the east Memphis location. Firm member Russell "Rusty" Reviere shared news about the move and his career with the Daily News' Law Talk.
Read about it here
Legislative News
Child rape ruling could mean longer sentences
Tennessee state Sen. Ray Finney sponsored a measure authorizing the death penalty for child rapists during the last session, but said today he likely will pursue longer prison sentences for such offenders now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled capital punishment unconstitutional for child rapists. Efforts to make child rapists eligible for the death penalty failed in the legislature last year, largely over cost concerns.
The News Sentinel reports
Supreme Court Report
Court reduces Exxon Valdez award
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday drastically reduced the $2.5 billion punitive damages award in the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster to $500 million, saying that punitive damages may not exceed what the company has already paid to compensate victims for economic losses. The court also noted that punitive damages should be "reasonably predictable" in their severity. Exxon had asked the court to reject the punitive damages judgment entirely, saying it already has spent $3.4 billion in fines, penalties, clean-up costs and claims. Dissenters argued that Congress, not the court, should consider such restrictions.
The Leaf Chronicle has this AP story
Passages
Nashville lawyer dies
Nashville lawyer Jere Montgomery died on June 17 at the age of 57 after a long battle with cancer. A native of Paris, Tenn., Montgomery taught in the Nashville public school system in the mid-1970s, then returned to school to seek her law degree. She graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1979 and practiced real estate law in Nashville. No services are being announced at this time. Donations in her memory may be made to the domestic violence center Homesafe Inc., located at 127 S. Water Ave., Gallatin, TN 37066.

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