CLE webcast: How to deal with identity theft

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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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
08 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - 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.

IN RE: ESTATE OF CORNELIUS THEODORE RIDLEY

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Melvin L. Raymond, St. Louis, Missouri, and Eva Lemeh, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, William Keith Ridley.

Mary C. LaGrone, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carolyn Fludd Ridley.

Judge: HOLDER

The issues in this appeal are whether the probate court's order construing the decedent's will was a final judgment and, if so, whether the appellee's notice of appeal was timely. We hold that the order construing the will was a final judgment and that the appellee's notice of appeal was not timely. Consequently, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and dismiss the appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/ridleyc_102908.pdf


IN RE: THE ADOPTION OF A.E., E.E., and E.E.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David Milton Sandy and Bede O. M. Anyanwu, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant.

Michael A. Carter, Milan, Tennessee, for the appellee.

Judge: FARMER

This case involves a parental termination proceeding where Father originally consented to termination of his parental rights, but now appeals on the ground that his surrender was procedurally deficient and made under duress. Father also alleges that the trial court erred when it failed to grant him leave to conduct discovery on opposing counsel and when the trial court failed to recuse itself. On appeal we find no error; the trial court properly granted Mother's petition to terminate parental rights, Father failed to present any proof that he was under duress when he consented to the motion to terminate or that he was entitled to depose opposing counsel, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant's motion for recusal. We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/ae_102908.pdf


IN RE: D. F., S. F., T. F., L. F., A. F., A. F., D. F., K. F., Children Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy B. Epperson, Pinson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Father.

Carl E. Seely, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mother.

Lanis L. Karnes, Guardian ad Litem for the minor children.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: FARMER

This is a termination of parental rights case. The juvenile court terminated Mother's parental rights to her eight children based on persistence of conditions and upon finding that she is incompetent to adequately provide for their care and supervision. Father's parental rights were terminated based on persistence of conditions. Both Mother and Father appeal. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/df_102908.pdf


MIKE SETTLE v. RICKY BELL, WARDEN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Mike Settle, appellant, pro se.

No appearance on behalf of the appellee.

Judge: SUSANO

Mike Settle, a prisoner, was apparently convicted in 1996 of a felony committed while on parole. In 2007, he filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, alleging procedural violations by the Board of Paroles purportedly affecting the date of his eligibility for parole. The trial court dismissed the case sua sponte because Mr. Settle failed to attach a copy of his felony conviction to his petition, as required by Tenn. Code Ann. section 29-21-107 (2000), and indeed "failed to include any part of the record in the case in which he was convicted." Mr. Settle appeals. We affirm the court's judgment, though on different grounds. We find that Mr. Settle's complaint, on its face, simply does not fall within the ambit of habeas corpus relief. Dismissal on the pleadings was therefore appropriate.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/settlem_102908.pdf


TIMOTHY GILES TINNIN v. JENNIFER MICHELLE STAMPS
CORRECTION: Corrected opinion removes references to the names, ages and school of the Tinnins' children


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James H. Drescher, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Giles Tinnin.

D. Scott Parsley and Michael K. Parsley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jennifer Michelle Stamps.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court increased Father's child support obligation upon determining Father's earning capacity had increased from $75,000 in 1999 to $250,000 in 2006. Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 27-3-128, we remand for further findings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/tinnint_CORR_102908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARIO BATEMAN a.k.a. MARIO WOODS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Claiborne H. Ferguson (at trial and on appeal) and Christopher Mitchell (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Bateman a.k.a. Mario Woods.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Betsy Lynn Carnesale and Douglas Gregory Gilbert, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Mario Bateman, a.k.a. Mario Woods, was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The defendant appeals his conviction and argues that the trial court erred by (1) admitting the victim's dying declarations in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation, (2) permitting the prosecution to inquire into a witness's prior felony convictions on direct examination, and (3) allowing a witness to read his entire statement to police on redirect examination. 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/batemanm_102908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JESSEE LEE CANTER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender, and Richard A. Tate, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jessee Lee Canter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Kent L. Chitwood, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Jessee Lee Canter, was convicted on his no contest plea of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, evading arrest, a Class E felony, and driving on a revoked license after driving privileges have been revoked for a second or subsequent conviction of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. sections 39-13-102 (2006) (aggravated assault); 39-16-603 (2006) (evading arrest); 55-50-504 (2004) (amended 2007) (driving on a revoked license). The trial court sentenced the defendant to serve six years in the Department of Correction as a Range I offender for aggravated assault, two years of probation as a Range I offender for evading arrest, and six months in jail with forty-five days to serve before release on probation for driving on a revoked license. The sentences for the felony convictions were imposed consecutively, and the driving on a revoked license conviction was imposed concurrently with the aggravated assault conviction. In this appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred in imposing incarceration for the aggravated assault conviction. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/canterj_102908.pdf


MARTIN CHARLES JONES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Albert J. Newman, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Martin Charles Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Patricia Cristil, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Martin Charles Jones, pled guilty to nine counts of criminal exposure to HIV, Class C felonies, and to three counts of statutory rape, Class E felonies. He received a total effective sentence of seventeen years to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The petitioner's convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal. See State v. Martin Charles Jones, No. E1999-01296-CCA-R3-CD, 2001 WL 30198 (Tenn. Crim. App. at Knoxville, Jan. 12, 2001), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Sept. 10, 2001). The petitioner now appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief and argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, the petitioner argues that (1) counsel failed to order the petitioner to undergo a mental evaluation; (2) petitioner's guilty plea was unknowingly and involuntarily entered; and (3) his sentence violated his Sixth Amendment protections and the United States Supreme Court's decisions in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) and Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, the judgment of the post-conviction court denying post-conviction relief is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/jonesm_102908.pdf


MARVIN ANTHONY MATTHEWS v. TONY PARKER, WARDEN (STATE OF TENNESSEE)

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Marvin Anthony Matthews, Pro Se, Henning, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Marvin Anthony Matthews, appeals the lower court's denial 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, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We grant the state's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/matthewsm_102908.pdf


ANWAR PROBY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Anwar Proby, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, and Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Anwar Proby, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief as time-barred. On appeal, the petitioner characterizes his petition as a motion to reopen and argues that it was timely filed because it was filed within one year of our supreme court's holding in State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733 (Tenn. 2007) ("Gomez II"), which the petitioner claims announced a new rule of law that is entitled to retroactive application. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the post-conviction court's dismissal pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Review of the record indicates that the petition in this case was not a motion to reopen but, rather, the first petition for post-conviction relief filed in this case. Because the petitioner has failed to establish that the petition was timely filed or that a recognized exception to the rule applies, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the Shelby County Criminal Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/probya_102908.pdf


KENTRAIL STERLING v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brett B. Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kentrail Sterling.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Kentrail Sterling, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his "Amended and Supplemental Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, and/or Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis, and/or Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus," as well as his "Additional Amended and Supplemental Petition to Reopen Petition for Post-Conviction Relief." The lower court summarily dismissed the petition, finding that: (1) it was outside the statute of limitations for both post-conviction and error coram nobis relief; (2) the issues raised had been previously determined or were waived; and (3) the convictions were not void. On appeal, the petitioner asserts that the lower court erred in dismissing his "petition for post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing" because "due process claims nessetates [sic] setting aside the statute of limitations." Following review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/sterlingk_102908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARIO WARD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mark Mesler, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal), and Edward Bronsten and Paul Springer, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Mario Ward.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, 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: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Mario Ward, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of criminal attempt to commit voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, and aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and was subsequently sentenced to concurrent six-year sentences as a Range II offender. On appeal, the defendant raises the single issue of whether the evidence is sufficient to support the convictions. Following review of the record, we affirm the judgments of conviction as entered.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/wardm_102908.pdf


STOKLEY J.U. WAY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brad L. Davidson, Newport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stokley J. U. Way.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Joe C. Crumley, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Stokley J. U. Way, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. After a thorough review of the record and the parties' briefs, the judgment of the post-conviction court denying relief is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/ways_102908.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Practice Management
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Interim judge named in Benton County
The Tennessee Supreme Court has appointed former Circuit Court Judge Julian Guinn to fill a vacant seat on Benton County's General Sessions Court. Guinn will serve as interim judge until legal issues against currently suspended Judge Ronald E. Darby are resolved. No decision has been made yet as to who will cover Darby's responsibilities as juvenile court judge or judge for the cities of Camden and Big Sandy, reports the Camden Chronicle.
Read more
Darby hires defense lawyer
In related news, Benton County General Sessions Judge Ronald Darby has hired Huntingdon attorney Ben Dempsey to represent him and defend him against two counts of official misconduct. Accusations against Darby include that he used drug court probationers under his supervision to perform labor on his private property. Darby was arraigned last Friday. He will appear in court next on Dec. 4 for motions.
The Carroll County News-Leader has the story
Supreme Court in Memphis on election day
The five-member Tennessee Supreme Court will be in Memphis next Tuesday to swear in new attorneys and hear oral arguments in three cases. It will be the court's first visit to the city since all vacancies have been filled. From Memphis, the justices will travel to Jackson to swear in new attorneys and hear arguments in three other cases on Wednesday.
The Memphis Daily News looks at the cases under consideration
11 apply for magistrate posts
The Hamilton County Commission has received applications from 11 individuals seeking to hold the position of county magistrate, and is set to vote next Wednesday after interviewing all contenders on Tuesday. Among those applying are current magistrates Larry Ables, Marty Lasley and Yolanda Mitchell, and new applicants Christina Cooper, Bob Davis, David Hawley, Wes Kliner, Parke Masterson, Charles Paty, Gordon Petty and Christine Mabe Scott.
Read more at Chattanoogan.com
Ethics panel spares lobbyists
The Tennessee Ethics Commission decided yesterday not to penalize two lobbyists who were accused of making improper campaign contributions to state legislators when it found that neither David Fowler (a lobbyist for Family Action of Tennessee) nor Chuck Laine (a lobbyist for Tennessee Real Estate Commission) "knowingly" made the prohibited donations.
The News-Sentinel reports
White named to court historical society
Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and UT law professor Penny J. White has been named a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society's board of directors. The board is charged with preserving historical information for all appellate courts in Tennessee and promoting a better understanding of the role of the judiciary in society. Professor White also was recently named to serve on the Center for Judicial Independence Advisory Committee of the American Judicature Society. That organization works to maintain the independence and integrity of the courts and to increase public understanding of the justice system.

Blog analyzes 9 pending Tenn. Supreme Court cases
Raybin & Richter's Hotlist has been updated with nine new cases before the Tennessee Supreme Court. Follow this and other legal blogs from the TBA's Information Central web page.
Go directly to the hotlist
Practice Management
Tips for firms in troubled economic times
Law firms hoping to survive troubled economic times will be willing to discount fees, offer alternative billing arrangements, step up diversity initiatives and work hard at deepening relationships with clients reports the defense bar group DRI. During a conference last week in New Orleans, panelists discussed these and other issues facing firms for the foreseeable future.
The National Law Journal reports
Disciplinary Actions
Greeneville attorney censured
Francis X. Santore Jr. of Greeneville was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on Oct. 13. Santore left a voice mail message on the phone of a defendant -- who had evaded service of process for several months -- advising her to accept service and contact the attorney for the uninsured motorist insurance carrier. The voice mail was angry and expletive-ridden, included a threat to have the defendant arrested, and could be construed as threatening physical harm.
Read the BPR release
Chattanooga lawyer suspended
On Oct. 21, Chattanooga lawyer Kevin Lee Featherston was suspended for 90 days by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court, effective Oct. 31. Among other violations, Featherston breached his fiduciary duty to his law firm by failing to report income and expenditures he received through a jointly owned title company to his fellow law firm shareholders.
Read the BPR release
Nashville attorney moved to disability inactive status
By order of the Tennessee Supreme Court filed Oct. 22, the law license of Bryan Edwards Larson, a Nashville attorney, was transferred to disability inactive status pursuant to Section 21 of Supreme Court Rule 9 for an indefinite period of time.
Read the BPR release
Chattanooga lawyer reinstated
Chattanooga lawyer Michael Joseph Mahn was reinstated to the practice of law by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court entered Oct. 22. He was temporarily suspended on Sept. 22 for failing to respond to a complaint of misconduct.
Read the BPR release
Memphis lawyer reinstated, censured
On Oct. 22, Terry Allen Scott of Memphis was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Scott submitted a conditional guilty plea for neglecting a client's divorce. Also, the Tennessee Supreme Court dissolved Scott's temporary suspension imposed by order filed March 19, which was for failing to respond to a complaint.
Read the BPR release
Lawyers reinstated after completing CLE
Brian L. Davis of Mississippi and Ramsdale O'Deneal, Jr. of Jackson, Tenn., have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with Tennessee requirements for continuing legal education.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2007 CLE violations
TBA Member Services
Discounts from Office Depot
Are you saving yet? Sign up for the TBA-Office Depot Program and begin saving. TBA Members receive significant discounts on office supplies from Office Depot.
Find out more

 
 
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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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