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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
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
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.

Frankie Blankenship v. Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc., et al.

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Mark J. Romaniuk and Jeffrey S. Beck, Indianapolis, Indiana and Mary Dee Allen, Cookeville, TN for the appellants, Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc. and Ace American Insurance Co.

James P. Smith, Jr., Crossville, Tennessee for the appellee, Frankie Blankenship.

Judge: WADE

Frankie Blankenship sought reconsideration of her workers' compensation award after her employer, Masterbrand Cabinets, Inc., discontinued its operations. The trial court granted a multiplier of 6 times her permanent partial disability rating of 3 percent. In accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) (2008), the appeal by the Employer has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Panel for findings of fact and conclusions of law. Because the trial court specifically accredited the testimony of the Employer and properly addressed each of the factors pertinent to an award upon reconsideration, our scope of review is limited. The judgment is, therefore, affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2009/blankenshipf_101609.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JACKIE LYNN FOSTER, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Bruce E. Poston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jackie Lynn Foster, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Philip H. Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Jackie Lynn Foster, Jr., was indicted for first degree premeditated murder. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of the lesser included offense of second degree murder, a Class A felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to twenty-three years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the trial court erred in its sentencing determinations, and that the trial court erred in its admission of certain evidence. We conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's conviction of second degree murder, and that Defendant waived his issue concerning the admissibility of evidence by not filing a timely motion for new trial. Although the trial court erred in applying one enhancement factor in determining the length of Defendant's sentence, we further conclude that the sentence imposed by the trial court was justified. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/fosterj_101609.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ZACHARY DESMOND NEIL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Leslie S. Hale, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Zachary Desmond Neil.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Welles, Jr., District Attorney General; and J. Lewis Combs, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Zachary Desmond Neil, appeals the trial court's revocation of his community corrections sentence and the imposition of a sentence of confinement. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/neilz_101609.pdf


ANTONIO J. PARKER v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Antonio J. Parker, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

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

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Antonio J. Parker, appeals the trial court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he alleged four grounds for relief: (1) that his guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary; (2) he was denied the right to present witnesses on his behalf; (3) his juvenile transfer hearing was unconstitutional; and (4) his confession was unconstitutional. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/parkera_101609.pdf


JOSE JORDAN RODRIGUEZ v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William E. Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jose Jordan Rodriguez.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rachel Sobrero and Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Jose Jordan Rodriguez, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the petitioner pled guilty to possession of a weapon with intent to employ it during the commission of an offense, a Class E felony, and possession with intent to sell over 26 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the petitioner, as agreed, to concurrent sentences of one year and eight years for the respective convictions. The court further ordered that the sentences be served in confinement. On appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he contends counsel was ineffective in failing to adequately advise him of the consequences of entering the guilty pleas. Following review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/rodriguezj_101609.pdf


ROY ALLEN SCOTT v. JIM WORTHINGTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Roy Allen Scott, Petros, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Roy Allen Scott, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Morgan County Criminal Court, alleging that his convictions are void. The habeas corpus court denied the petition, and the petitioner now appeals. In response, the State filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the habeas corpus court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. After review, we conclude that the petition was properly denied. 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/scottr_101609.pdf


Condemnation of Easement by Private Corporation for Pipeline

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-10-16

Opinion Number: 09-165

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_165.pdf

County School Systems State Mandated "Step Raise"

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-10-16

Opinion Number: 09-166

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_166.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Murfreesboro clinic helps with estate planning
More than 50 clients received free legal assistance at an estate-planning clinic for emergency personnel last weekend in Murfreesboro. Sponsored by the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee & the Cumberlands and the Rutherford Cannon County Bar Association, the event drew 13 attorneys and two paralegal volunteers who assisted 58 clients with about 100 documents. Another Celebrate Pro Bono Month clinic is being held Saturday in Cleveland. Sponsored by Legal Aid of East Tennessee, the event will be from 10 a.m. to noon at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. For more information contact Nancy Pagano.
Learn more about other upcoming Celebrate Pro Bono Month events and activities
Memphis city attorney resigns, seeks other post
Memphis City Attorney Elbert Jefferson turned in a resignation letter to Mayor-elect A C Wharton today, but asks the mayor to "consider my continued service to the City in some capacity which you may feel appropriate." Following his landslide electoral win, Wharton had said he would release a list of lawyers today who will go to the city attorney's office and "evaluate the shop and the mission."
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
Judge blocks motion on foster care rates
An advocacy group cannot halt a new state law it claims pressures judges to keep children out of foster care even when it might be best for the children. U.S. District Court Judge Todd Campbell today denied a request from attorneys for Children's Rights, a New York-based nonprofit that successfully sued the Department of Children's Services in 2001 over issues of care.
WREG has more on the story
Cohen adds support to LSC bill
U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) has joined in sponsoring a bill that would reauthorize the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The Brennan Center for Justice reports that the legislation would also raise the authorized funding level of LSC to $750 million, substantially higher than the current $390 million appropriation. In addition, the Act would roll back certain legal services funding restrictions, including collecting attorneys' fees, permitting legal aid attorneys to bring class-action suits, and allowing lobbying with non-federal funds.

Politics
Wharton wins Memphis mayoral race in a landslide
Former Shelby County public defender and two-term county mayor A C Wharton won 60 percent of the vote in the Memphis mayoral special election Thursday, easily outpacing a field of 24 opponents. Wharton, 65, becomes the city's first new mayor in nearly 18 years, replacing the controversial Willie Herenton.
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
Legislative News
Expect $1 billion plus in state budget cuts, official says
New state revenue projections suggest Tennessee may have to slash as much as $350 million more from its budget next year on top of $753 million in already planned reductions. "I really think you need to expect and can treat these $1 billion to $1.1 billion in base reductions ... as permanent," Jim White, executive director of the legislature's Fiscal Review Committee, told House leaders on Thursday. "State government is going to be smaller and different after we complete this budget year."
The Chattanooga Times Free Press has more
TBA Member Services
TBA expands insurance services for members
The TBA Member Insurance Solutions Program has been expanded to offer assistance to members in meeting their health, life, disability and other insurance needs. Working with Graham Swafford III of Capital Financial Group, the TBA is now able to provide members with exclusive benefits, personalized service, and pricing discounts. Services and products offered include: disability income insurance, business overhead expense insurance, group life, long-term and short-term disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, and group health, dental and vision insurance along with other employee related benefits.
Learn more about TBA Insurance Solutions now

 
 
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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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