Ramsey questions Chief Justice's remarks to Kiwanis Club

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today questioned whether state Supreme Court Chief Justice Janet Holder is violating judicial ethics by "lobbying" for the state's system for selecting top judges. Holder has been vocal in her, and the court's, support for merit selection and retention of appellate judges. A speech by Holder to the Memphis Kiwanis Club on Tuesday prompted Ramsey to question if Supreme Court justices should be speaking out on the issue. "They're saying we don't need politics in this, yet what are they doing? Lobbying. Ironic," he said. He also raised the issue of whether the activity violates judicial ethics. Read more of Ramsey's comments in Tom Humphrey's blog.

Holder responded that there is nothing improper about her defense of the selection system. "Canon 4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct specifically permits, and even encourages, judges to speak out on issues involving the law, the legal system or the administration of justice, just as I was doing when I addressed my own Kiwanis Club this week," she said.

TBA President Buck Lewis agreed saying "It's entirely appropriate under the Code of Judicial Conduct for the Chief Justice -- and in fact any judge -- to comment on matters affecting the administration of justice. And arguably, the Chief Justice has an extra responsibility as head of a separate but co-equal branch of government to address the selection of judges."

Read more in the Nashville Scene

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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JACK COLLIER v. GREENBRIER DEVELOPERS, LLC, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

L. Caesar Stair, III, C. Scott Taylor and Margo J. Maxwell, Knoxville, TN, for the Appellant Jack Collier.

Thomas H. Dickenson and Oliver D. Adams, Knoxville, TN, for the Appellees Greenbrier Developers, LLC,; Executive Realty Partnership, L.P.; Gerald Franklin, Trustee; and Kenneth Whaley.

Judge: STAFFORD

This case was filed under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act, Tenn. Code Ann. section 66-3-101 et seq., seeking to void four quitclaim deeds that were filed in connection with a real estate transaction. The contract for the sale of real property was originally entered by and between the Appellant, who is the sole member of an LLC, and the Appellees. Appellant then assigned his interest in the contract to the LLC. The trial court granted Appellees' Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12.02(6) motion upon its finding that Appellant was in privity with the LLC and thus bound by the transaction. We reverse and remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/collierj_041609.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ZENDALL EDWARD CAMPBELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael G. Hatmaker, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Zendall Edward Campbell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General, and Michael O. Ripley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Zendall Edward Campbell, was indicted by the Campbell County Grand Jury for one count of first degree murder and one count of aggravated assault. After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of second degree murder and aggravated assault. Appellant was sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty years. On appeal, Appellant complains that: (1) the trial court improperly denied Appellant the opportunity to admit the statements he gave to police immediately following the incident and after his arrest; (2) the trial court erred by failing to include reckless endangerment as a lesser included offense of aggravated assault; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction for second degree murder. After a review of the record, we determine that the trial court properly excluded Appellant's statements, instructed the jury properly on the lesser included offenses of aggravated assault, and the evidence was sufficient to support the second degree murder conviction. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/campbellz_041609.pdf


JON LEE FIELDS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Frank Deslauriers, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jon Lee Fields.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

On March 28, 2007, the petitioner pled guilty in the Tipton County Circuit Court to initiation of the manufacture of methamphetamine and was sentenced to twelve years to be served concurrently with a sentence imposed in Lauderdale County. On July 9, 2007, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that he had not been afforded a hearing on his request for alternative sentencing, as he was told he would have. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court found that the petition was without merit. After our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/fieldsj_041609.pdf


JERRY JEROME PRIMM v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dumaka Shabazz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jerry Jerome Primm.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Jerry Jerome Primm, of first-degree felony murder, second-degree murder, and especially aggravated kidnapping. The trial court merged the second degree murder conviction with the felony murder conviction and ordered the Petitioner to serve a life sentence at one hundred percent as a violent offender. For his especially aggravated kidnapping conviction, the trial court sentenced the Petitioner to serve a twenty-year sentence consecutive to his life sentence. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed the Petitioner's convictions and sentences. The Petitioner then filed a post-conviction petition claiming he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at his trial. The post-conviction court denied relief, and the Petitioner now appeals claiming the post-conviction court erred when it dismissed his petition. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/primmj_041609.pdf


JASON SETTLES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jason Settles, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Tracye N. Jones, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Jason Settles, pled guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Court to attempted first degree murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and two counts of aggravated assault. He received a total effective sentence of 13.5 years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Subsequently, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief which the post-conviction court summarily dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which post-conviction relief could be granted. After the petition was dismissed, the petitioner filed a "Motion for Reconsideration to Re-Open Post Conviction Petition." The post-conviction court denied the motion. On appeal, the petitioner challenges the dismissal of both his original petition and his motion to amend or reopen his post- conviction petition. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/settlesj_041609.pdf


ALLEN JEAN STEPHENS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Allen Jean Stephens, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The Petitioner, Allen Jean Stephens, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the State's motion is meritorious. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/stephensa_041609.pdf


Constitutionality of County or City Exemptions by Population Bracket

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-16

Opinion Number: 09-53

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_53.pdf

Liability of State for Failing to Change Signs in State Parks Regarding Guns

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-16

Opinion Number: 09-54

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_54.pdf

Board of Regents Master Intergovernmental Cooperative Purchasing Agreement

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-16

Opinion Number: 09-55

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_55.pdf

Applicability of Tennessee's Scrap Jewelry and Metal Dealers Act of 1980

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-16

Opinion Number: 09-56

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_56.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

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Watch TBA.org for bar results
Results from the February Tennessee bar exam will be available Friday on the TBA Link web site. Results will be posted as soon as they are released by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners, usually just after noon.
Watch TBA.org for bar results
Appeals court upholds release of arrest records
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Nashville police may continue releasing arrest records of people before they are convicted. In an order issued today, the court affirmed a decision from 2007, which struck down a 1974 decree barring Nashville police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation from publicizing certain arrest records. The appeals court relied on a 2004 state law that allows TBI to disclose arrest records.
The News Sentinel has the story
Download the opinion
Gas companies settle price-gouging complaints
The Tennessee Attorney General's Office announced yesterday it settled price-gouging allegations against 16 companies and individuals who own 27 gas stations in East and Middle Tennessee. Under the settlement agreement, store operators at the various retailers will pay civil penalties totaling $40,000 and restitution to consumers of more than $73,400.
Read the AG's statement
DOJ reins in wiretapping
The U.S. Justice Department confirmed yesterday it had reined in the National Security Agency's domestic wiretapping activities after learning the agency improperly accessed American phone calls and e-mails while eavesdropping on foreign communications. Justice officials reportedly discovered the problems during a routine review. The Senate Intelligence Committee announced yesterday it would hold closed-door hearings on the matter.
The New York Times broke the story
Obama releases CIA memos
The Obama administration today released censored versions of legal memos that guided harsh CIA questioning of terror suspects. The memos show that Justice Department lawyers authorized the use of techniques such as sleep deprivation, facial slaps and placing a suspect in a cramped box with a stinging insect. In releasing the material, Attorney General Eric Holder assured intelligence officials who relied on the legal advice that they would not be prosecuted. The memos were released in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Bloomberg News reports
Legislative News
Rowland investigation committee calls 3 witnesses
The committee of the Tennessee General Assembly investigating whether Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro, lived in the 34th district she was re-elected to in November 2008 voted yesterday to call three witnesses, and subpoena them if necessary. The committee wants to hear from a Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reporter, the detective who investigated the case, and the Rutherford County voting registrar. The committee chair said if witnesses do not come in voluntarily by Monday, the committee would issue subpoenas. The committee is expected to meet at 9 a.m. Monday at the Capitol.
WPLN Nashville has the story
Voter citizenship bill fails
A proposal that would require proof of citizenship to register as a Tennessee voter failed in the House Elections Subcommittee yesterday on a 3-3 vote. The proposal would have required people seeking to register to vote to document their citizenship with driver's licenses, passports or birth certificates. Current state law requires voters to check a box on the application affirming under threat of perjury they are citizens.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Texting while driving ban advances
A proposal to outlaw texting while driving is advancing in the Tennessee House after approval by the House Budget Subcommittee. The bill, which would impose a $50 fine for reading or writing text messages while driving, now goes to the House Finance Committee. The Senate companion bill advanced to a floor vote yesterday as well.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
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Baker hosts seminar for franchise businesses
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC will host the spring lunch meeting of the International Franchise Association's Franchise Business Network on Thursday, April 23, at 1 p.m. EST. The event, which will focus on sustaining a business during the credit crunch, will take place in Baker's Nashville office and be simulcast to its Chattanooga, Knoxville and Memphis offices. It is open to interested franchisees, franchisors and suppliers. Participation is free and lunch will be provided, but reservations are required by April 17. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Laura Ellis at (615) 726-5550 or lellis@bakerdonelson.com

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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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