Process set for filling 15th Judicial District vacancy

The Judicial Selection Commission will meet on Feb. 10 in Lebanon to initiate the process of filling the vacancy in the 15th Judicial District Criminal Court created by the death of Judge James O. Bond. All interested candidates should submit a completed Applicant Questionnaire and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) background application -- both of which are available on Administrative Office of the Courts' web site -- no later than Jan. 21. The district covers the counties of Jackson, Macon, Smith, Trousdale and Wilson.

Learn more on the AOC web site

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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CHARLES EDWARD CARPENTER, SR. v. MARY ALICE BOBO CARPENTER
CORRECTION: On page 2, first line of third paragraph "lived together" is changed to "dated" and page numbers adjusted


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. J. Spence, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Edward Carpenter, Sr.

Daniel Loyd Taylor and John N. Bean, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mary Alice Bobo Carpenter.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a divorce case. The parties had a long-term marriage and enjoyed a high standard of living. The parties then filed for divorce. At the conclusion of the trial, the trial court adopted the wife's proposal for the distribution of marital property and ordered the husband to pay the wife substantial alimony in futuro and attorney's fees. The husband now challenges the distribution of marital property as well as the award of alimony and attorney's fees. Regarding the distribution of the marital estate, the husband argues that the trial court overvalued his law practice, undervalued the wife's counseling business, and failed to give the husband credit for several tax liabilities that he assumed. He further argues that the trial court awarded the wife an excessive amount of alimony and attorney's fees. We affirm in part as modified, determining that the facts as found by the trial court were supported by a preponderance of the evidence, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in the distribution of marital property and award of alimony. We reverse the award of attorney's fees.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/carpenterc_corr_010709.pdf


DAVID CANTRELL v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN, AND THE STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David Cantrell, Wartburg, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and John H. Bledsoe and Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorneys General, for the appellees, Howard Carlton and State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

Petitioner, David Cantrell, appeals from the Morgan County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Because the petitioner failed to comply with the procedure defined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 29-21-107, we affirm the habeas corpus court's dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/cantrelld_010709.pdf


ALDEN JOE DANIEL, JR. v. JACK MORGAN, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. Vogel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Alden Joe Daniel, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; John H. Bledsoe, Special Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner was originally indicted on multiple sex offenses and felony failure to appear. A Morgan County jury found the Petitioner, Alden Joe Daniel, Jr., guilty of felony failure to appear but deadlocked as to his eight other sex offense charges. Before a retrial on the sex offenses and before a judgment of conviction was entered on the felony failure to appear conviction, the Petitioner pled guilty to multiple counts, and the parties agreed that the judgment of conviction arising from the jury trial would reflect that the Petitioner was convicted of misdemeanor failure to appear rather than felony failure to appear. The Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief claiming that his convictions were void because he had been convicted by a jury of a felony but the trial court agreed to allow that conviction to be reduced to a misdemeanor. Further, he asserted that the reduction of this charge from a felony to a misdemeanor was a material element of the plea agreement, and he sought habeas corpus relief from all of his judgments. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition after a hearing. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/daniela_010709.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NICHOLAS TODD HILT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lee Ortwein, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nicholas Todd Hilt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; and William H. Cox, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Nicholas Todd Hilt, was indicted for first degree murder, felony murder, attempted first degree murder, rape of a child, and aggravated child abuse in connection with the death of his girlfriend's five-year-old son. After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty by a Hamilton County Jury of second degree murder, felony murder, rape of a child, and aggravated child abuse. The trial court merged the convictions for second degree murder and felony murder. The jury sentenced Appellant to life without the possibility of parole for the felony murder. At a later sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Appellant to twenty-five years for rape of a child and twenty-five years for aggravated child abuse. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently to each other and to Appellant's life sentence. Appellant has appealed, raising the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court improperly determined that Appellant was competent to stand trial; (2) whether the trial court improperly denied the motion to sever the charge for rape of a child; (3) whether the trial court improperly denied the motion for judgment of acquittal; (4) whether the State was improperly allowed to admit evidence of a prior bad act; (5) whether the jury properly weighed the aggravating factor and mitigating factors in sentencing Appellant to life without the possibility of parole; and (6) whether the trial court improperly denied Appellant's motion to strike the aggravating factor. After a thorough review of the record and the issues, we find no error of the trial court requiring reversal. Consequently, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/hiltn_010709.pdf


MICKEY JEFFRIES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jake Erwin (at hearing) and Claiborne H. Ferguson (on appeal), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mickey Jeffries.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Mickey Jeffries, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by his failure to adequately communicate a plea agreement to him. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/jeffriesm_010709.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DOYLE WINSLOW SMITH
CORRECTION


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen Ross Johnson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Doyle Winslow Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General, and Leland Price, Robert L. Headrick, Marsha Mitchell, and William H. Wallace, Jr., Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Doyle Winslow Smith, was convicted of three counts of rape of a child, all Class A felonies, and one count of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. He was sentenced to twenty-two years on each Class A felony conviction and ten years on the Class B felony conviction. The sentences ran concurrently for a total effective sentence of twenty-two years. The defendant presents eight issues on appeal. He contends that: the evidence was insufficient; he was denied access to certain exculpatory evidence; the trial court had proper authority to appoint a special master to review evidence; the State failed to provide him with constitutionally sufficient particularization prior to trial as to the time of the alleged offenses; he received ineffective assistance of counsel; the trial court erred in instructing the jury; he was sentenced improperly; and the cumulative errors committed warrant reversal. After careful review, we reverse and remand for a new trial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/smithd_corr_010709.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Practice Management
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Brockovich, NY lawyer in Harriman for spill visit
Erin Brockovich, the nation's most famous environmental plaintiff, will make her first public appearance in connection with the Dec. 22 TVA ash spill at a press conference Thursday at 2 p.m. in Lenoir City. On Friday, she will be joined by a lawyer from the New York firm of Weitz & Luxenberg for a public meeting at 6 p.m. in Harriman. That event will be held in the gym of Roane State Community College. Roane County Attorney Tom McFarland is helping to coordinate the visit and said at least 500 people are expected to attend. For more information contact Nellie Barnard at (800) 438-9786 or nbarnard@weitzlux.com.
Read more from the News Sentinel
TennCare seeks relief from court order
TennCare officials have asked a federal judge for relief from a two-decade-old lawsuit so money can be redirected as state budget cuts are made. The 1987 court order prohibits the state from redetermining eligibility of those who originally were enrolled in TennCare when they became eligible for Social Security (SSI) benefits, but later no longer qualified for SSI. Under the court order, the state is barred from disenrolling these individuals.
Read more from the Memphis Business Journal
Scene names Ramos Nashvillian of the year
The Nashville Scene today named Gregg Ramos, an attorney with the firm of North, Pursell, Ramos & Jameson, Nashvillian of the Year for his tireless work to make Nashville a better place for people of all races and backgrounds. The son of a Mexican immigrant, Ramos has made a name opposing the pending "English Only" charter amendment, but it is his broader work on behalf of the city's disadvantaged that impressed the magazine.
Read more online
Shelby Co. sessions courts closed Friday
The six divisions of Shelby County General Sessions Civil Court will be closed Friday for the funeral of Judge Anthony Johnson. Johnson died of a heart attack last week. All cases will be continued for one week. Mental health hearings at Memphis Mental Health Institute, however, will be held as usual. Questions should be directed to the clerk's office at (901) 545-4030, according to the Memphis Daily News.

State says hearing on plot waste of time
Federal prosecutors in West Tennessee say two men charged with threatening President-elect Barack Obama are wasting time with claims they were improperly indicted. The two contend they were indicted by a federal grand jury with too few white people on it and that the charges should be dropped. In a filing Monday, prosecutors said the men have no legal grounds for their claim and that holding a hearing on their arguments would be a waste of time. The Memphis Daily News reported the story.

Fisk appeals art ruling
Fisk University today asked a panel of the Tennessee Court of Appeals to declare that a New Mexico museum representing the estate of late artist Georgia O'Keeffe has no right to a 101-piece collection O'Keeffe donated to the school in 1949. Fisk attorney John Branham also argued that the cash-strapped school should be allowed to revive a $30 million deal to sell an equal stake in the collection to an Arkansas museum. The school is appealing a Nashville chancery court's decision that the school may not sell or share the collection.
The Memphis Daily News has more
Dickson CAC plans expansion
The Child Advocacy Center for the 23rd Judicial District has provided services to 200 abused children and their non-offending family members in Dickson County since July. Now the center has big plans for the new year including creating a forensics exam room, expanding mental health services and opening an office in Ashland City. It is also seeking volunteers to staff the offices so hours can be extended. For more information call Kim Stringfield at (615) 789-3035. The Tennessean carried the story.

Love for Smokies still alive for judge
Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade first fell in love with the Great Smoky Mountains as a child and has remained committed to the national park throughout his life. As the nation celebrates the 75th anniversary of the park this year, Wade spoke with News Sentinel columnist Greg Johnson about his mountain memories.
Read more here
Practice Management
Billable hours take hit
In an opinion piece in the current issue of Forbes Magazine, Evan Chesler, the presiding partner at New York City's Cravath, Swaine & Moore, calls for the end of the billable hour. Meanwhile, Morgan Lewis & Bockius has announced that billable hours will no longer be used to determine year-end bonuses. What does all this mean? Read Chesler's column or
Learn about Morgan Lewis' policy from the National Law Journal
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer censured
On Jan. 5, Charles G. Currier of Knoxville was censured for being "grossly negligent and in willful contempt" for having failed to file appellate briefs in two criminal cases. Currier was sentenced to five days in jail but avoided the sentence by filing the briefs by the final date set by the court. His case, however, was referred to the Board of Professional Responsibility for disciplinary action.
Read the board's release
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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