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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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
11 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
05 - TN Attorney General Opinions
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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.

APOLLO HAIR SYSTEMS OF NASHVILLE, INC. v. MICROMODEMEDICAL, LTD., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charles Watson Cross, Nashville, TN, for Appellant

Daniel P. Berexa, J. Matthew Blackburn, Nashville, TN, for Appellee Micromode Medical, Ltd.

Judge: HIGHERS

Plaintiff filed suit against two defendants, and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of one of the defendants. Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal to this Court. However, we find that this Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal because the order appealed from is not a final judgment. Therefore, we dismiss the appeal and remand the case to the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/apollohair_061509.pdf


IN THE MATTER OF: T.M., II

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Juan G. Villasenor, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee O/B/O T.M., II.

No attorney on record.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court determined Respondent Mother was relieved of her obligation to pay child support to the State for a child in the State's custody when the child had run away and his whereabouts were unknown. The State appeals. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/matteroftm_061509.pdf


ANITA FAYE STRODE v. WEYLIN TRENT STRODE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Weylin Trent Strode, for the Appellant, Pro Se.

No attorney on record.

Judge: STAFFORD

Appellant, an inmate with the Tennessee Department of Correction, appeals the trial court's denial of his Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59.02 motion for relief from a final decree of divorce. Appellant asserts that the Overton County Sheriff's Department failed to carry out a transport order to bring Appellant into court for the hearing on the divorce complaint. We vacate and remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/strodea_061509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DARRIN BONNER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert W. Jones, Shelby County Public Defender; Phyllis Aluko, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); Jennifer Johnson and Glenda Adams, Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial), for the defendant-appellant, Darrin Bonner.

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

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Darrin Bonner ("Bonner"), was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of intentionally evading arrest in a motor vehicle, a Class D felony, and was later sentenced to six years in confinement. On appeal, Bonner argues that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court erred in admitting hearsay testimony; and (3) the cumulative effect of the errors at trial deprived him of his federal and state constitutional rights. Following our review, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed; however, we remand this case for the trial court to enter a corrected judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/bonnerd_061509.pdf


WILLIAM C. BROTHERS V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William C. Brothers, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; and D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, William C. Brothers, filed a petition for habeas corpus relief in the Circuit Court for Lauderdale County (hereinafter "habeas corpus court") seeking relief from his two convictions for aggravated sexual battery. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition, and the petitioner now appeals. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we reverse the dismissal of the petition and remand with instructions for the habeas corpus court to transfer the case to the convicting court for correction of the judgments to reflect that the petitioner is required to provide a specimen for DNA analysis in compliance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-321.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/brothersw_061509.pdf


WILLIAM RAY COLLIER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William Ray Collier, Clifton, Tennessee, pro se.

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

Judge: WEDEMEYER

This matter is before the Court upon the State's motion to affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the post-conviction court properly dismissed the petition for post-conviction relief, and we conclude 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 trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/collierw_061509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSEPH A. HALE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dan T. Bryant (at trial) and L. Scott Grissom (at trial and on appeal), McMinnville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Joseph A. Hale.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavagiannis, District Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., and Thomas H. Swink, District Attorneys General Pro Tem, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Van Buren County jury convicted the Defendant, Joseph A. Hale, of second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range I offender to seventeen years in prison. The Defendant appeals, contending that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction because he was justified in using deadly force and because he committed the killing in a state of passion produced by adequate provocation; and (2) the trial court erred when it instructed the jury, precluding it from considering voluntary manslaughter. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/halej_061509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARVIN SENATHAN HALL, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Barney Witherington, IV, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marvin Senathan Hall, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr. and P. Neal Oldham, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Marvin Senathan Hall, Jr., was convicted by a Tipton County Circuit Court jury of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, and felon in possession of a handgun and sentenced as a multiple offender to four years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that (1) the trial court erred in allowing evidence of his prior felony conviction to be presented to the jury when he offered to stipulate to such, and (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/hallm_061509.pdf


MARK EDWARD HARRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; Joe Harrison, Assistant Public Defender (at trial); and Mark Edward Harris, pro se (on appeal).

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Janine Myatt, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Mark Edward Harris, appeals from the Sullivan County Criminal Court's denial of his "Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence," the substance of which is that the trial court, upon revocation of the petitioner's probation, failed to award him credit for time served in the court's revocation and confinement order. Because the trial court determined that it awarded the defendant credit for all time served, it dismissed the motion. We dismiss the appeal from the order of the criminal court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/harrism_061509.pdf


ALBERT F. KELLY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Albert F. Kelley, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Albert F. Kelly, proceeding pro se, presents a Rule 3 appeal from the Shelby County Criminal Court's summary denial of his motion to reopen his post-conviction petition. In his motion to reopen, the petitioner asserted a new rule of constitutional law and relied upon Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S. Ct. 2348 (2000); Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004); Cunningham v. California, 549 U.S. 270, 127 S. Ct. 856 (2007); and State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733 (2007) ("Gomez II"), to support his argument that he is entitled to have his sentence reduced to the minimum within the range, as the trial court, not the jury, found applicable enhancement factors. The post-conviction court summarily denied the petition, finding that the petitioner had failed to assert a valid statutory basis for a motion to reopen a post-conviction petition. Following the denial, the petitioner filed a Rule 3 notice of appeal in the Shelby County Criminal Court. Because the petitioner has failed to comply with the statutory requirements for appealing the denial of a motion to reopen, this court is without jurisdiction to review the merits of the issue presented. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/kellya_061509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JASON MALONE and HAROLD ROBINSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry E. Fitzgerald, Memphis, Tennessee, for Appellant Harold Robinson; Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; Garland Erguden, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Brent Walker, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason Malone.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Paul Hagerman, Assistant District Attorney General; and Scot Bearup, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendants Jason Malone and Harold Robinson, along with co-Defendant Johnny Miller, were indicted and tried jointly for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Defendant Miller's case is not part of this appeal. Following the jury trial, Defendant Malone was found guilty of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, in count one of the indictment, and the lesser included offense of criminal trespass, a Class C misdemeanor, in count two. Defendant Robinson was found guilty of aggravated robbery in count one, and not guilty of aggravated burglary in count two. The trial court sentenced Defendant Malone as a Range II, multiple offender, to nineteen years for his aggravated robbery conviction, and to a concurrent sentence of thirty days for his criminal trespass conviction. The trial court sentenced Defendant Robinson to sixteen years for his aggravated robbery conviction. In their appeal, Defendant Malone and Defendant Robinson challenge the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/malonej_061509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAN MATUREN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender, and Garland Erguden and Dianne Thackery, Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Dan Maturen.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Dan Maturen, appeals the order of the Shelby County Criminal Court revoking his probation. The defendant, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, pled guilty to aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and received a four-year suspended sentence. Subsequently, a probation violation warrant was filed alleging that the defendant had violated the terms and conditions of his probation. Following a hearing, his probation was revoked, and he was ordered to serve the balance of his sentence. On appeal, although conceding that he violated the conditions of probation, the defendant argues that the State's interests in punishment, deterrence, and insuring restitution to victims would be best served by reinstating his probation. Finding no abuse of discretion in the revocation, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/maturend_061509.pdf


BRANDON MCCASLIN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ralph I. Lawson, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandon McCaslin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; and C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Brandon McCaslin, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Specifically, Petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective because he failed (1) to challenge certain prospective jurors during voir dire; (2) to object to the State's admission of evidence that Petitioner had a prior conviction for the unauthorized use of a vehicle; (3) to request the trial court to instruct the jury on the use of impeachment evidence; and (4) to preserve and raise issues on appeal other than the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/mccaslinb_061509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. THOMAS DEWAYNE MOFFATT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and James Cannon, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Charles S. Kelly, Sr., Dyersburg, Tennessee (at hearing), for the appellee, Thomas Dewayne Moffatt.

Judge: WILLIAMS

This appeal involves the question of whether a passenger in a car may be subjected to a pat-down search following a traffic stop if officers suspect the presence of a weapon. The appellee, Thomas Dewayne Moffatt, was indicted by an Obion County grand jury for possession of more than .5 grams of Schedule II cocaine with intent to sell or deliver within 1000 feet of a park (a Class B felony) and tampering with evidence (a Class C felony). He was the passenger in a car which was stopped for a traffic violation, and officers testified that, based upon their belief that a weapon was present, both the driver and the passenger were asked to exit the vehicle with the intent to conduct a pat-down search for weapons. The appellee filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized, the drugs, asserting that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search him. After hearing testimony at the motion to suppress hearing, the Obion County Circuit Court, relying upon Johnson v. State, 601 S.W.2d 326 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1980), concluded that "there was nothing amiss" and that the officers were not entitled to conduct the pat-down search. Because the State was unable to prosecute the case without the suppressed evidence, the charges against the appellee were dismissed. The State now appeals the denial of the motion to suppress. Following review of the record, we conclude that the trial court erred in granting the motion as the evidence presented preponderates against the court's findings. As such, we reverse the court's decision granting the motion, and the case is remanded to the trial court for further action consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/moffattt_061509.pdf


Procedure for Local Approval of Landfills Under Tenn. Code Ann. section 68-211-703

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-06-11

Opinion Number: 09-115

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_115.pdf

HB2189: Constitutionality of Population Bracket Exemptions

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-06-11

Opinion Number: 09-116

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_116.pdf

Reducing Number of Members of County Commission

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-06-11

Opinion Number: 09-117

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_117.pdf

Validity of Local Ordinance Prohibiting Firearms in Establishment with Beer Permit

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-06-12

Opinion Number: 09-118

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_118.pdf

Regulation of Municipal Traffic Schools

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-06-12

Opinion Number: 09-119

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_119.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Judicial Selection, Retention
Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Judicial Selection, Retention
Editorial: W. Va. case is a 'lesson for Tennessee lawmakers'
An editorial in today's News Sentinel points out the consequences of judicial elections by detailing the decision involving West Virginia Chief Justice Brent Benjamin. Benjamin was elected in 2004 in a campaign in which Don Blankenship spent about $3 million to oust the incumbent and help Benjamin win. The court later overturned a $50 million ruling against Blankenship''s company, Massey Energy. "The lesson for Tennessee lawmakers considering a change in the way the state's top judges are selected," the paper writes, "is to stay away from direct elections and the influence of money on campaigns for judicial office."
Read the editorial
Analysis: Issue divided within parties
The Commercial Appeal analyzes the recent decisions made over judicial selection, saying that "it broke into open warfare two weeks ago" in the legislature. "Most Democrats and moderate Republicans basically favored retaining the current system, but neither side had the votes to do everything it wanted."
Read the story
Legal News
AG sues lawyer Sneed for UPL
A Nashville attorney who was suspended in March has been sued by the Tennessee Attorney General for the unauthorized practice of law. The lawsuit, filed by Bob Cooper on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs, alleges that, in spite of a suspended law license, Michael H. Sneed has continued to practice law. In a news release, the attorney general's office asks consumers to contact that office if they know of instances where he was paid for legal work after Feb. 24.
NashvillePost.com has the story
Busing background helps lawyer get schools order dismissed
Memphis lawyer Valerie Speakman, who grew up "poor in North Little Rock and being bused to a far-off affluent high school," feels that background helped her in her recent work in the Shelby County school system's 46-year-old desegregation case. On May 21, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati dismissed the order.
Read about her work in the Commercial Appeal
Lockett ouster tabled until next week
Knox County Commission's Finance Committee today postponed action with no discussion on one proposal to remove county Law Director Bill Lockett from office, the News Sentinel reports. That resolution would allow the commission to ask that Lockett's situation be make known to the state attorney general to allow him to investigate the situation, and ask the attorney general to bring an ouster suit if he finds cause to do so. It was tabled before being sent to the full commission for consideration on June 22. On May 26 Lockett told the county Pension and Retirement Board that he took clients' money intended for his former law firm before becoming law director last August.
Find out more
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer reinstated
Charles Philip Carter of Knoxville was reinstated to the practice of law June 10. He was suspended Feb. 15, 2002, for non-compliance with mandatory continuing legal education requirements, according to the Tennessee Commission on CLE & Specialization.

Lawyer censured
On June 8, J. Stephen Hurst, licensed in Tennessee, received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court, for violating Rules of Professional Conduct 4.4(a) and 8.4(d). While in court representing parents from whose custody DCS had removed children, he stepped on the toe, bumped with his stomach and spit in the face of a Department of Children's Services worker.
Download the BPR release
TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
Visit the site

 
 
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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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