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

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CORRECTION: On page 2, first line of third paragraph "lived together" is changed to "dated" and page numbers adjusted

Court: TCA


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


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