Lawmakers delay judicial selection review

Over the summer, lawmakers engaged in a tedious committee process that keeps government working and prevents dozens of agencies each year from fading out of existence. But one entity that has yet to be reviewed is the Judicial Selection Commission. The Tennessean reports on how the commission's state of limbo puts Tennessee in the middle of a national debate on judicial selection. In a related article, the paper looks at the rising cost of judicial elections and the amount of money pouring into campaigns around the country.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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DIANE DOWNS EX REL. RYAN CODY DOWNS v. MARK BUSH ET AL.
With Concurring/Dissenting Opinion


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Donald N. Capparella, Charles P. Yezbak, III, and Amy J. Farrar, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Diane Downs.

C. Benton Patton and Christopher M. Jones, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mark Bush.

W. Bryan Brooks and Alisha M. Toll, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ryan F. Britt.

R. Kreis White, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jerry Dane Eller.

Barry L. Howard and Melissa Bradford Muller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee Scott Hurdle.

Samuel R. Anderson, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Amicus Curiae, The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Judge: BARKER

We granted the plaintiff's application for permission to appeal in this wrongful death case to determine whether the trial court properly granted summary judgment to each of the defendants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment. Although the parties have raised several issues in this appeal, the central issue is the nature of the legal duty, if any, owed by the defendants to the plaintiff's decedent. The decedent was socializing and consuming alcohol with the defendants. While riding in a four-door pick-up truck with the defendants, he became ill. The defendants stopped the truck on the side of an interstate highway so the decedent could vomit. After resuming the trip, the decedent rode in the bed of the truck and, for reasons unknown, exited it. After exiting the truck, he was struck by two vehicles and subsequently died. Upon careful review of the record and applicable authority, we conclude that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the defendants placed the decedent in the bed of the truck. Similarly, we conclude that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether the decedent was helpless and whether the defendants took charge of him. Lastly, we hold that none of the defendants stood in any special relationship with the plaintiff's decedent and consequently they did not assume any affirmative duty to aid or protect him. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/downsr_091008.pdf

HOLDER concurring and dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/downsr_ConDiss_091008.pdf


RICHARD HUNTER, ET AL. v. NATIONWIDE MUTUAL FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Richard Hunter and Roxanne Hunter, Franklin, Tennessee, pro se.

Christian M. Garstin, Nashville, Tennessee, attorney for appellee, Nationwide Insurance Company.

Judge: DINKINS

Appellants, Richard and Roxanne Hunter, filed a breach of contract action against Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Appellee, in Circuit Court for Williamson County seeking compensation under their insurance policy for damage allegedly caused by hail. Following a trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Nationwide. Finding material evidence in support of the jury's verdict, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/hunterr_091008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MONICA BUTLER, JESSICA PICKETT, AND SHERYL ANN MARSHALL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Depew and Jon Tucci, Assistant District Public Defenders, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellees, Monica Butler, Jessica Pickett and Sheryl Ann Marshall.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence R. Whitley, District Attorney General; and Thomas Dean, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendants, Monica Butler, Jessica Pickett, and Sheryl Ann Marshall, were each charged with one count of theft of services from Gallatin Housing Authority valued between $1,000.00 and $10,000.00. The Defendants underreported their income to obtain public housing at a lower rate. The Defendants moved to dismiss the indictments, arguing that these circumstances were not within the purview of the theft of services statute. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-14-104. The trial court granted the motion, concluding that occupancy of a residence pursuant to a lease term was not a service under the plain meaning of the statute. The State appeals. Following our review of the record, the order of the Sumner County Criminal Court dismissing the indictments is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/butlerm_091008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RAYMOND MCNEIL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Matthew T. Colvard (at trial), and Michael T. Fort (on appeal), Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raymond McNeil.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew Hamilton Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Derek K. Smith, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Raymond McNeil, appeals from his Williamson County Circuit Court conviction of Class D felony evading arrest, alleging that the evidence was insufficient and that the trial court erred in the admission of certain evidence at trial. The defendant challenges neither his conviction of driving on a revoked license nor his 12-year effective sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/mcneilr_091008.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES ROBARS SARTIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jessica Greene, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, James Robars Sartin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Patricia Cristil, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, James Robars Sartin, pled guilty to one count of observation without consent. Pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 40-35-313, the trial court granted the Defendant judicial diversion and placed the Defendant on supervised probation for eleven months and twenty-nine days. On the last day of the probationary period, the State filed a motion to revoke the Defendant's judicial diversion. At the subsequent hearing, the court revoked the Defendant's judicial diversion, entered a judgment of conviction, and sentenced him to eleven months, twenty-nine days of unsupervised probation. It is from this judgment that the Defendant now appeals. After reviewing the record, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/sartinj_091008.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Court rejects quick appeal of English-only decision
The Tennessee Supreme Court today denied a request for expedited appeal of a Davidson County chancellor's ruling that an English-only initiative would not appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. The Court of Appeals issued the same ruling yesterday. With the likelihood that a normal appellate process will not be completed in time for the November election, advocates now say they will seek a special election late this year or early next year. Read about the Supreme Court order in the Nashville Post or read about the Court of Appeals order in the Tennessean.

New judges on the job following commission votes
The Dyer County Commission on Monday selected Jason Hudson as the county's new general sessions, juvenile and probate court judge. Last night, the Blount County Commission chose Assistant District Attorney Robert Headrick as its new general sessions judge, division IV. The Dyersburg State Gazette reports on Hudson's appointment, while Blount Today covers Headrick's selection.

Supreme Court rules against ALCOA in asbestos suit
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled yesterday in favor of a Maryville resident who sued ALCOA and Breeding Insulation, charging that she was exposed to harmful asbestos dust and fibers from her father, who worked at the company. The case was dismissed in Blount County Circuit Court, but the Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed that decision and the high court agreed. The case now goes back to the trial court. Download the majority opinion and Justice Holder's concurring and dissenting opinion or read more about the case in the Daily Times

U.S. supremes seek input on child rape penalty
The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the parties in Kennedy v. Louisiana for briefs on whether the court should reconsider its decision that it is unconstitutional to impose the death penalty in cases of child rape. After that ruling was handed down, a military law authorizing the death penalty for such crimes came to the attention of the court. The court will take the briefs under advisement and rule on Sept. 29 whether to rehear the case.
The Washington Post has the story
Holder urges balanced lives
Addressing students at the University of Tennessee College of Law last week, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice Holder urged them to maintain balance in their lives for more productive and happy careers. During the speech she also revealed a formula she used while in law school, and recently re-implemented in her life: "Work till 6 on Friday and go back to it on Sunday afternoon." She also advised prospective judicial clerks to write interesting cover letters and resumes, according to a press release from the school.
Read more here
Bredesen names 2 to Post-Conviction Defender Commission
Gov. Phil Bredesen today named two Knoxville attorneys to the Post-Conviction Defender Commission. Ursula Bailey of Stacy, Whitt & Coper and Lynn T. Tarpy of Hagood, Tarpy and Cox will join the commission, which is responsible for appointment of the Post-Conviction Defender and oversight of the Office of the Post-Conviction Defender.

Legislative News
Death penalty testimony covers range of issues
In testimony yesterday, Innocence Project founder Barry Scheck urged lawmakers to standardize certain police procedures and allow crime scene DNA to be tested against a national database of offenders. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade and Chief Justice Janice Holder also testified about ways to train attorneys in capital cases, and Wade defended the state's three-tier appeals process, rejecting the idea of bypassing the Court of Appeals. Learn more about their testimony in the Tennessean and on Nashville Public Radio

Upcoming
Lawyer Pamela Samuels Young signs mystery Sept. 13
Toyota in-house employment lawyer Pamela Samuels Young will sign her book, Murder on the Down Low, Sept. 13, 2 to 4 p.m. at the law offices of Waller Lansden, 511 Union Street, in Nashville. This is Young's third book, which features an African American woman lawyer as the main character. The event is hosted by Cheryl Mason, vice president of litigation at HCA; Waverly Crenshaw, partner at Waller Lansden; Mariah Wooten, federal public defender; and Agenia Clark, executive director of the Girl Scouts. Call Melissa Seay at (615) 850-8171 for more information.

TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
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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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