Jurors and technology are often not a good mix

Technology is changing the way jurors and judges relate, adding a host of new off-limits activities for the courtroom. Judges and legal experts are particularly concerned about how technology and culture are affecting jurors and a defendant's right to a fair trial. The Internet has provided easy and instant access to newspaper archives, criminal records, detailed maps, legal opinions and social-networking sites, such as Facebook, all at the anonymous click of a mouse in jurors' homes or on the tiny keyboards of their cellular phones.

The Washington Post considers the issue

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Court: TSC


Kristin M. Cabage and David A. Chapman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Excel Polymers, LLC.

Howell H. Sherrod, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellee, Richard Broyles.

Judge: LEE

In this workers' compensation case, the issues presented are whether the trial court erred in admitting the opinion testimony of the employee's treating physician on the issue of causation, whether the evidence preponderates against the trial court's ruling that the employee met his burden of proof that he suffered a compensable occupational disease as defined by Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-301, and whether the trial court erred in its disposition of the motion and suggestion of death filed by the employee's widow after the trial. We affirm the judgment of the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel and of the trial court and remand to the trial court for a determination of the employee's legal dependents and the amount of death benefits, if any, due to them under the applicable workers' compensation law.



Court: TSC



Court: TCA


James S. Smith, Jr., Rockwood, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Johnny Alan Bryant.

Martin W. Cash, Jr., Kingston, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Paula J. Bryant.


Paula J. Bryant ("Wife") filed suit seeking a divorce from Johnny Alan Bryant ("Husband") following a marriage of over twenty-one years. The parties were able to resolve all significant issues prior to trial except the amount and duration of alimony Wife would receive. Following a trial, the Trial Court awarded Wife rehabilitative alimony in the amount of $850 per month for a period of eighteen (18) months, then $500 per month for the next sixty (60) months. We affirm the Trial Court's award of rehabilitative alimony to Wife, but modify the award and order Husband to pay rehabilitative alimony to Wife for a period of twenty-four (24) months in the amount of $850 per month. As modified, the judgment of the Trial Court is affirmed.


BOB FANNON, individually and as a City Councilman for the City of LaFollette v. CITY OF LaFOLLETTE, ET AL.

Court: TCA


Jon G. Roach and Emily A. Cleveland, Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellants, City of LaFollette, Hansford Hatmaker, Mike Stanfield, and Ken Snodderly.

David H. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for Appellee, Bob Fannon.


In this action for declaratory judgment against the City of LaFollette, the City Council, and three City Councilmen, the trial court awarded the plaintiff attorney's fees, costs and discretionary costs. On appeal, the defendants argue that the trial court erred in finding the plaintiff as the "prevailing party" in the litigation and that the trial court's award was unwarranted and erroneous. We hold that the plaintiff was not a prevailing party, and therefore, the trial court erred in awarding the plaintiff attorney's fees and costs on that basis.



Court: TCCA


Benjamin L. McGowan, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mark Alan Deakins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox III, District Attorney General; and Leslie Longshore and Lance Pope, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Mark Alan Deakins, appeals the revocation of his probation, claiming that the State failed to establish a probation violation by substantial evidence. Because the record establishes that the defendant violated the terms of his probationary sentence, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender, Richard Kenneth Mabee (on appeal) and Kandi Rankin (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, William Hubert Green, alias William Herbert Green.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth T. Ryan, Associate Deputy Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and William H. Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, William Hubert Green, appeals from the Hamilton County Criminal Court's order revoking part of his probation received for an effective eighteen-year sentence for his convictions upon guilty pleas for six counts of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and two counts of burglary of a business, a Class D felony. He claims that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and in not imposing an alternative sentence. Although the record supports the partial revocation of the Defendant's probation, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation for a sentence that was being served concurrently with a sentence for which the trial court intended for the Defendant to remain on probation. We reverse the judgments of the trial court and remand the case for reconsidering the revocation determinations.



Court: TCCA


Spence R. Bruner, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Charles W. Pope, Athens, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Tallie Riley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and TaKisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Knox County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Tallie Riley, of aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, and aggravated criminal trespass. On appeal, the defendant avers that the trial court erred in permitting the assistant district attorney general to question the defendant about inadmissible prior bad acts, see Tenn. R. Evid. 404(b), and in denying his motion for mistrial. Further, the defendant alleges prosecutorial misconduct. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



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NashvillePost.com has more [subscription required]
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Thinking about starting your own practice? Then join Brentwood attorney Donna Green Wednesday at noon for the TennBarU webcast "Ten Things New Lawyers Need to Know About Starting Their Own Practice."
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