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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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
07 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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BILLY ANDERSON v. WESTFIELD GROUP

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Randolph A. Veazey, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Westfield Group.

Russell D. Hedges, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellee, Billy Anderson.

Judge: CLARK

This workers' compensation appeal involves an employer's liability for medical benefits stemming from injuries that occurred subsequent to an original compensable injury. Following a 2001work- related injury to his elbow, the employee and his employer settled the employee's claim for workers' compensation benefits. The settlement obligated the employer to pay future medical bills resulting from the elbow injury. Shortly after undergoing corrective surgery on the injured elbow in 2004, the employee burned his hand while cooking at home. While recuperating from the burn to his hand, he suffered additional injuries to his hand in a fall near his sister's home. The employee filed a petition seeking to recover medical expenses for these two injuries to his hand on the basis that the medical expenses associated with these injuries were the direct and natural consequence of the original work-related injury to his elbow. The trial court found that the medical expenses sought by the employee were the result of intervening causes, namely the employee's own negligence, and denied the petition. The Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel reversed, finding that the subsequent injuries were the direct and natural consequence of the original compensable injury and that there were no intervening causes. Upon review of the record and applicable law, we hold that the injuries to the employee's hand were due to his own negligence, and therefore, the employer is not required to pay the medical bills associated with those injuries. Accordingly, we reverse the Panel's decision and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2008/andersonb_081208.pdf


MARILYN S. BOYD v. THOMAS H. BATES, JR.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Van French, Murfreesboro, TN, Appellant

Barry B. White, Lewisburg, TN, Appellee

Judge: STAFFORD

This case arises from a post-divorce petition to modify child support. Mother/Appellant appeals, alleging that the trial court erred: (1) in relieving Husband/Appellee of one-third of the total of the children's uninsured medical expenses, (2) in applying the income shares child support guidelines, (3) in calculating Husband/Appellee's adjusted gross income, and (4) in denying Mother/Appellant's request for attorney's fees. Finding no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/boydm_081208.pdf


RODOLFO CASTRO v. PEACE OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING COMMISSION, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Michael A. Meyer, Deputy Attorney General; Lynne T. Edgerton, Assistant Attorney General; William R. Lundy, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, for the appellant, Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, et al.

Chandra Noel Targerson Flint, Philip N. Elbert, Kristen V. Dyer, for the appellee, Rudolfo Castro.

Judge: BRANDT

The Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission ("POST Commission") decertified an officer previously given preliminary certification pending a background check based upon a plea of guilty and nolo contendere to felonies that were entered and set aside in California decades ago. In decertifying the officer, the POST Commission relied upon the position that it had no discretion under its own rules, and that decertification was required. The Chancery Court reversed the POST Commission for failing to give full faith and credit to the California judgment. We hold that the POST Commission failed to adopt criteria for exceptions and waivers as required by Tenn. Code Ann. section 38-8-106. For reasons other than those used by the trial court, we affirm the judgment of the trial court, but modify the judgment to vacate the POST Commission's decision to decertify and remand the matter to the POST Commission to reconsider the officer's decertification in accordance with statutory directives.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/castror_081208.pdf


RAYMOND BELCHER v. STEPHEN DOTSON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Raymond Belcher, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Raymond Belcher, appeals the Hardeman County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the lower court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that his conviction is void or his sentence illegal, we conclude that the State's motion is well-taken. Accordingly, we affirm the lower court's summary dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/belcherr_081208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEARY LEE CHEARIS, a/k/a KARRY CHEAIRS and "RABBIT"

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kari I. Weber, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Keary Lee Chearis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Terry D. Dycus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Keary Lee Chearis, was convicted of five counts of delivery of less than .5 grams of cocaine, a Class C felony, and sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender to twelve years on each count. The trial court imposed partial consecutive sentencing for an effective sentence of twenty- four years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred in denying his motion to sever the offenses, ruling that the State properly authenticated video recordings offered as evidence, overruling his objection to the prosecutor's closing argument, enhancing his sentences beyond the statutory minimum, and imposing consecutive sentencing. Following our review, we conclude that it was error to deny the defendant's motion to sever the offenses, but such error was harmless. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in all other respects.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/chearisk_081208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TOMMY LEE CLARK

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Susan D. Korsnes, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal), and Joseph T. Howell, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Tommy Lee Clark.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Tommy Lee Clark, was convicted of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony; attempted aggravated burglary, a Class D felony; and possession of a deadly weapon other than a firearm with the intent to employ it during the commission of a dangerous offense, a Class E felony. The trial court sentenced him to fifteen years, twelve years, and six years, respectively, and ordered that each sentence run consecutively for an effective sentence of thirty-three years. On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated burglary because the State presented no proof regarding his intent to commit a theft; (2) the indictment for attempted aggravated burglary was defective because it did not state an essential element of the offense; (3) the trial court erred in holding that a box cutter is a deadly weapon; and (4) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/clarkt_081208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKY CLIFTON CRUTCHER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Flanagan and Dale M. Quillen, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Clifton Crutcher.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Michael J. Fahey, II, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Ricky Clifton Crutcher, appeals the sentencing decision of the Hickman County Circuit Court ordering that his sentences be served in confinement. Following the defendant's guilty pleas to vehicular homicide (Class B felony) and four counts of vehicular assault (Class D felony), he received an effective ten-year sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he raises the single issue of whether the trial court erred in denying an alternative sentence, either probation or split confinement. After review of the record before us, we affirm the sentence as imposed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/crutcherr_081208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRANDON DAILEY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William C. Barnes, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brandon Dailey.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Brent Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The State of Tennessee appeals the sentencing decision of the Maury County Circuit Court. After his probation was revoked, the defendant, Brandon Dailey, entered a plea of guilty to the sale of more than .5 grams of cocaine, a Class B felony. Thereafter, the court sentenced him to ten years imprisonment and ordered that his sentence run concurrently with his prior sentences. On appeal, the state argues that the trial court erred in imposing sentence without considering enhancement and mitigating factors and for failing to state on the record its reasons for the sentence in contravention of procedure established by the Sentencing Reform Act. Upon a full review of the record, arguments of counsel and applicable law, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a new sentencing hearing consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/daileyb_081208.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TORIAN DILLARD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism (on appeal) and Cornelius K. Bostick (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Torian Dillard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Hagerman and Dean DeCandia, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Torian Dillard, was convicted of aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to twenty years as a Range II, violent offender. He argues that the trial court erred by allowing the victim to testify with her back to him and by reseating a juror against whom he had exercised a peremptory challenge. He also contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/dillardt_081208.pdf


MARCUS STALLWORTH v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Matthew Ian John, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marcus Stallworth.

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

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Marcus Stallworth, pled guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Court to aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault and received a total effective sentence of ten years incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Subsequently, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. After a hearing, the post-conviction court found that the petitioner failed to prove his claims, and the petitioner now appeals that ruling. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/stallworthm_081208.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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Legal News
Drag racing plea anticipated
A plea is anticipated in Selmer Thursday in the case against Troy Critchley, who was charged with six counts of reckless vehicular homicide and 22 counts of aggravated assault after his car ran into a crowd at a charity drag racing event, the Administrative Office of the Courts reports. The hearing will be at 1:30 p.m. with Judge Weber McCraw presiding.

Mukasey will not pursue criminal charges in hiring cases
Attorney General Michael Mukasey, speaking this morning before the ABA's House of Delegates, said he has rejected the idea of criminally prosecuting former Justice Department employees who improperly used political litmus tests in hiring decisions. The wrongdoing violated federal civil service law, but not criminal law, he said.
Read more from the New York Times
The ABA's House of Delegates, meeting in New York City, also approved recommendations relating to expanding military members' access to the courts, encouraging bipartisan commissions to evaluate prospective judicial candidates and urging the U.S. government to expand its interaction with the International Criminal Court.
Read about this and more from the ABA
Blue Cross of Tennessee to pay $2.1 million
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, headquartered in Chattanooga, will pay the U.S. $2.1 million to settle allegations of violating the False Claims Act. The company allegedly failed to adjust the cost-to-charge ratios for many New Jersey hospitals in a timely manner between 2000 and 2002 that resulted in overpayment by Medicare.
See the Chattanoogan for more
Despite worker buyouts, state gives raises
Although the state of Tennessee is cutting its payroll by more than 2,000 employees and $64 million because of the economy, more than 3,000 raises were given between Jan. 1 and July 1. This number includes 146 judges who get pay hikes required under the constitution. Those increases went to dozens of circuit and criminal court judges, chancellors and justices of the Supreme Court.
Here's the Tennessean's analysis of the salary data
3 join TJC board
Three new members have joined the board of the Tennessee Justice Center, the Nashville Post reports. They are: David Canas, a shareholder with H3GM; Christopher Coleman, an associate at Lieff Cabraser; and Alexandra MacKay, a member of Stites & Harbison. They join re-elected board members David Esquivel of Bass Berry & Sims, Bill Farmer of Farmer & Luna and retired Supreme Court Justice Riley Anderson.

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Still need CLE hours to meet your 2007 requirements before the upcoming compliance deadline? The TBA's TennBarU has more than 100 online video and text courses available 24/7 to help.
Find out more or register now
Upcoming
Anderson investiture set for Friday
An investiture ceremony for S. Thomas Anderson as U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee has been set for Aug. 15 at 11 a.m. at the Memphis City Hall Council Chambers at 125 N. Main Street. A reception will follow at the Memphis City Hall of Mayors, first floor.

Hearing set for Monday on Supreme Court vacancy
The Judicial Selection Commission on Monday will begin the process to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the retirement of Chief Justice William M. Barker. The public is invited to attend the hearing to express approval of or objections to any suggested nominee. The applicants are: Paul Campbell III of Chattanooga, Vance W. Cheek Jr. of Johnson City, Sharon G. Lee of Knoxville, John Westley McClarty of Chattanooga, Nancy Miller-Herron of Dresden, R. Culver Schmid of Knoxville, and D. Bruce Shine of Kingsport. Monday's meeting will be in Nashville's Legislative Plaza, Hearing Room 12, at 10 a.m. CDT.

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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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