Republican judicial election plan emerges

Details of a Senate Republican leadership judicial election plan began to emerge today on Capitol Hill. The first bill in a three-bill package to implement the plan could be heard as early as 8 a.m. tomorrow in the Senate Government Operations Committee. The plan does away with any merit selection mechanism for screening candidates to fill vacancies, instead giving the governor complete discretion to appoint anyone meeting only minimal age and law practice requirements to the trial, intermediate and supreme courts. The plan offers retention elections for the intermediate appellate courts only, with a restructured evaluation commission to evaluate the appeals court judges. Members of the Tennessee Supreme Court filling out terms would run in contested elections in 2010 and 2012. In 2014, all members of the Supreme Court would face contested elections. The plan apparently includes an as yet unreleased constitutional amendment that could restore retention elections but eliminate the possibility of screening of candidates for appointment by the governor.

Read the details of the first proposal

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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JOSEPH ATECA v. TERESA PRICE ATECA

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Amy J. Farrar and Donald Capparella, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teresa Price Ateca.

Paul A. Rutherford and Wende J. Rutherford, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joseph Ateca.

Judge: FARMER

Mother appeals the trial court's order modifying primary residential parent status and naming Father primary residential parent of the parties' minor child. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/atecaj_042809.pdf


IN THE MATTER OF K. L. D. R.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

W. Brian Stephens, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the Appellant, L. L. R.

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

Judge: COTTRELL

Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights on the grounds that the Indian Child Welfare Act was not complied with and that there was insufficient evidence to support the grounds supporting termination. We find the ICWA to be inapplicable under the exception recognized as the Existing Indian Family Doctrine. Alternatively, even if the ICWA is applicable, we find it was not violated. Finally, the record supports the termination, both as to grounds, including severe abuse and as to best interests. We affirm the termination of Mother's parental rights.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/kldr_042809.pdf


ANTWONE J. TERRY v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Antwone J. Terry, Mountain City, TN, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Jennifer L. Brenner, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, TN, for Appellee

Judge: HIGHERS

The appellant filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the chancery court, seeking review of prison disciplinary proceedings. The trial court dismissed the petition because it was not notarized or otherwise sworn, as required by statute. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/terrya_042809.pdf


PAUL O. DICKENS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Guy R. Dotson, Jr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Paul O. Dickens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Trevor H. Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Paul Dickens, appeals the Rutherford County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of attempted voluntary manslaughter (a Class D felony), reckless endangerment (a Class E felony), and two counts of coercion of a witness (a Class D felony). He was subsequently sentenced to an effective term of twenty-eight years in the Department of Correction. In this appeal, the petitioner asserts that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial based upon (1) trial counsel's action of proceeding to call the petitioner as a witness at trial knowing that the petitioner had not received his medication for panic attacks and (2) trial counsel's failure to move to sever the two counts of coercion of a witness. He also raises as an issue whether the trial court erred in ruling that his amendment to his post-conviction petition failed to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-106(d). Following review of the record, we find no reversible error and affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/dickensp_042809.pdf


TIMMY L. DULWORTH v. RICKY BELL, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Timmy L. Dulworth, Pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, Ricky Bell.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

In 1987, a Macon County jury convicted the Petitioner, Timmy L. Dulworth, of assault with intent to commit first degree murder and of armed robbery, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Petitioner's convictions were set aside, and he subsequently pled guilty to the same crimes and received an effective thirty-seven year sentence. In 2008, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus relief, which the habeas court summarily dismissed. On appeal, the Petitioner claims the habeas court erred because: (1) the trial court lacked jurisdiction to amend his June 6, 1994, judgments; (2) the amended judgments omitted his pretrial jail credits; and (3) the trial court imposed illegal sentences because the sentences were longer than the statutory minimums but no evidence of enhancement factors was introduced. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/dulwortht_042809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KIMBERLY C. HODGE
CORRECTION appears on page fourteen (14), within the third paragraph at line 14, wherein [874]


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert D. Massey, Pulaski, Tennessee (at trial), and Ryan D. Brown, Columbia, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Kimberly C. Hodge.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michael Bottoms, District Attorney General; Joel Douglas Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Kimberly C. Hodge (hereinafter "Hodge"), was convicted by a Lawrence County jury of theft of property valued over $60,000. She received a ten-year sentence to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. In this appeal, Hodge raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support her conviction; (2) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion to suppress, (3) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion to continue; (4) whether the trial court erred in refusing to allow counsel to question prospective jurors regarding the voluntariness of her statement; (5) whether the trial court erred in allowing a lay witnessí identification of a handwriting sample; (6) whether the trial court erred in admitting duplicate copies of records; (7) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion for a mistrial; and (8) whether her sentence is excessive. Upon review, we affirm the conviction but modify the sentence to eight years.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/hodgek_Corr_042809.pdf


JOE CLARK MITCHELL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joe Clark Mitchell, Pro Se, Only, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

This matter is before the Court upon the State's motion to affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Petitioner has appealed the habeas corpus court's order summarily dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the habeas corpus court was correct in summarily dismissing the habeas corpus petition and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/mitchellj_042809.pdf


TIMOTHY D. QUALLS v. RICKY J. BELL, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Timothy D. Qualls, Pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

In 2003, the Petitioner, Timothy D. Qualls, pled guilty to second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to serve eighteen years. The Petitioner file a petition for habeas corpus relief, and the habeas court denied his petition. On appeal, the Petitioner alleges the habeas court erred because: (1) the trial court sentenced the Petitioner in contravention of his constitutional rights; and (2) the trial court sentenced the Petitioner in contravention of state statutes. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/quallst_042809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. FRED RAMOS
CORRECTION appear on page seven, within the last paragraph at line two, T.C.A. 29-2-102 was changed to T.C.A. 29-9-102(2), and on page eight within the first paragraph at line two, the word "principals" was changed to "principles".


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Geoffrey Coston, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Fred Ramos.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Douglas T. Bates, III (pro tem for contempt); Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Braden H. Boucek, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Fred Ramos ("Ramos"), an attorney, was convicted by the Williamson County Circuit Court of criminal contempt and sentenced to ten days in the county jail. On appeal, Ramos argues: (1) the trial court erred by ordering him to act as surety for costs for his client; (2) the trial court erred when it enforced the order before it became final; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (4) the trial court improperly sentenced him to ten days in jail; (5) he was entitled to a jury trial. Finding no reversible error, the conviction of the trial court is affirmed. However, we modify Ramos' sentence and partially reinstate his ability to practice law.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/ramosf_CORR_042809.pdf


Constitutionality of "Equal and Fair Parenting Act"

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-04-28

Opinion Number: 09-66

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_66.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Deadline extended for 13th district seat
The deadline to apply for the 13th Judicial District Circuit Court vacancy has been extended from today until May 5, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts. As of today, the following people have applied for the vacancy, created by the resignation of Judge John Turnbull effective June 15: Amy V. Hollar of Livingston and Lillie Ann Sells of Cookeville.

FCC can ban fleeting expletives, high court says
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the power of the Federal Communications Commission to ban so-called fleeting expletives in live broadcasts. At issue is an FCC policy adopted in March 2004 that bans "isolated or fleeting" use of four-letter words during daytime and evening broadcasts. In a 5-4 opinion, the Supreme Court said the FCC policy switch was not arbitrary or capricious.
ABAJournal.com connects you to more information
Carpenter talks to grand jury in Herenton case
Memphis attorney Charles Carpenter appeared today before a federal grand jury investigating business dealings by Mayor Willie Herenton. Carpenter and two others were called to the grand jury, which has been investigating a $91,000 payment that Herenton's private real estate firm received in 2006.
The Commercial Appeal reports
'Mothers of the Year' honored by Tenn. Justice Center
Five mothers will be honored by the Tennessee Justice Center May 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the Nashville office of Stites and Harbison law firm. The reception is open to the public. "The Tennessee Justice Center is a lifesaver," Vicie Motz of Greeneville said. "The Center really cares about our family and will do what it takes to make sure my kids get the care they need." Motz, one of the honorees, is the mother of three adopted special needs children. Her fight over medical care for her 12-year-old son Trevor prompted the Justice Center recognition.
The Greeneville Sun has the story
Death row inmate Cone to get new hearing
The United States Supreme Court granted a new hearing in federal court for a Tennessee death row inmate who was deprived of key evidence at his trial. The justices on Tuesday ordered a review of the death sentence given to Gary Bradford Cone, who was convicted of beating an elderly couple to death in 1980.
The Tennessean carried this AP story
Legislative News
Senate panel approves Ethics Commission spending plan
A state Senate panel today unanimously advanced the Tennessee Ethics Commission's spending plan for the upcoming budget year. The panel's chairman, Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, says he will continue to seek to merge the commission into the state Registry of Election Finance. Of the proposed merger, Gov. Bredesen said last week that he doesn't "think it's a natural partnership."
The News Sentinel carried this AP story
During the Ethics Commission hearings, its executive director, Bruce Androphy, provided testimony to the committee as its members were deciding whether to renew the commission's budget. He explained that in the commission's two-year existence it had handled a total of 30 to 40 complaints. In what NashvillePost.com describes as a "train wreck" for Androphy, commission member Linda W. Knight pointed out that since 2006 not one complaint has been found to have had "probable cause" requiring action by the commission.
Find out the details from NashvillePost.com [subscription required]
Politics
Judiciary's ranking Republican Specter to switch parties
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he's changing political parties. Specter announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to
The Fix, a blog of the Washington Post.
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at (800) 368-2734
or get an online rate quote

 
 
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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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