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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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - 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.

TORREY L. FRAZIER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
CORRECTION On page two, within second paragraph at second line, the word "inadmissable" has been changed to "inadmissible"; On page nine, within first full paragraph at line five, "insure" has been changed to "ensure"


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Jeffery Scott Griswold, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Torrey L. Frazier.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Matthew Bryant Haskell and Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorneys General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Frank A. Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WADE

Upon his conviction for second-degree murder and affirmance by the Court of Criminal Appeals, the petitioner, represented by retained counsel, filed a post-conviction petition asserting several different grounds for relief. The State conceded that the trial court should grant a delayed appeal for the purpose of filing an application for permission to appeal to this Court. In accordance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 28, the remaining issues were stayed. When this Court denied permission to appeal, retained counsel continued to represent the petitioner throughout the evidentiary hearing as to the various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The trial court denied relief, and the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. We granted the application for permission to appeal to consider the question of conflict of interest. Because the petitioner is entitled to conflict-free counsel under the Post- Conviction Procedure Act of 1995 as augmented by Supreme Court Rules 28 and 8, the cause is remanded for a determination of whether the petitioner had knowingly and voluntarily waived that right. If not, he is entitled to substitution of counsel, the opportunity to amend the petition, and a new evidentiary hearing on all issues presented.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/fraziert_CORR_022310.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES, v. Christie H., et al., IN THE MATTER OF: R.H. and J.H., Children Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William Roberson, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christie H. Daryl A. Colson, Livingston, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Judge: FRANKS

The parents of the two minor children in a trial in Circuit Court, were found to have committed severe child abuse by knowing or failing to protect the children from sexual abuse by a grandparent and the children were dependent and neglected. That Judgment by the Circuit Court awarded legal custody to the Department of Children's Services. No appeal was taken from that Judgment. Approximately a year and a half later, the parents filed a Rule 60.02 motion in Circuit Court, seeking an opportunity to reopen the period for filing an appeal from that Judgment to the Court of Appeals. After an evidentiary hearing, the Circuit Court ruled that the parents were not entitled to the relief they sought under Rule 60.02. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Circuit Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/christieh_022310.pdf


IN RE JUSTINE P. ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

C. Michael Cardwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daisy P. Dennis L. Nordhoff, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio L.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Elizabeth C. Driver, Senior Counsel; for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Judge: BENNETT

The trial court terminated the parental rights of mother and father to their four children. Because there was clear and convincing evidence to support the trial court's decision, we affirm that decision.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/justinep_022310.pdf


WILLIAM W. REED v. BILL MCDANIEL and AHMAD ELSEBAE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Art D. Wells, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, William W. Reed.

Roger A. Staton, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bill McDaniel.

Christopher H. Crain, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ahmed Elsebae.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a premises liability case. Plaintiff/Appellant sustained injuries after a fall through the second-story floor of a water-damaged building. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants/Appellees, finding that the danger was open and obvious, that Defendants/Appellees had warned of the danger, and that Plaintiff/Appellant was at least 50% at fault for his own injuries, thus negating his negligence claim under McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn.1992). Finding no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/reedw_022310.pdf


DEBRA CORPIER STOCKMAN v. GAYLON LAMAR STOCKMAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Thomas Wesley Hardin and Wesley Mack Bryant, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gaylon Stockman.

Paul A. Bates, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Debra Corpier Stockman.

Judge: DINKINS

In this divorce proceeding, Husband challenges the trial court's awards of spousal support, child support, and attorney's fees. Finding that the evidence preponderates against the court's findings regarding the parties' voluntary underemployment, those findings are reversed and the award of child support is vacated and remanded for reconsideration; the award of spousal support is also vacated in part and remanded for reconsideration. Finding that the court abused its discretion in setting the amount of attorney's fees awarded, that award is vacated and remanded for reconsideration.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/stockmand_022310.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. AUBREY CLARK BAKER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Aubrey Clark Baker, pro se.

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

Judge: SMITH

The Appellant, Aubrey Clark Baker, appeals the trial court's denial of his motion for a reduction of sentence. Because the Appellant's motion was not timely filed, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/bakera_022310.pdf


MICHAEL BILLS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellant, Michael Bills.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Michael Bills, appeals from the Madison County Circuit Court's denial of post-conviction relief from his conviction for possession with the intent to sell one-half gram or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. In his appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel (1) failed to call two witnesses to testify at trial and (2) failed to properly prepare a defense. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/billsm_022310.pdf


MONOLETO D. GREEN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

H. Scott Saul, for the appellant, Monoleto D. Green.

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

Judge: SMITH

The Appellant appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petitions for habeas corpus and error coram nobis relief. Finding no error in the trial court's orders, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/greenm_022310.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT LEE GREEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

S. Joanne Sheldon, Newport, Tennessee (on appeal and at trial), and Keith E. Haas, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Robert Lee Green.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, James B. Dunn, District Attorney General, and Amanda H. Lowe, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Robert Lee Green, appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/greenr_022310.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES SHARP

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Christine W. Stephens and Brett A. Schubert, Memphis, Tennessee, attorneys for the appellant, Charles Sharp.

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

Judge: SMITH

The Shelby County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Charles Sharp, for one count of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, four counts of rape, one count of sexual battery by an authority figure, and one count of vandalism. An initial trial resulted in an acquittal for all charges except the especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. At the second trial, a key witness was unavailable. Over the objection of Appellant, her redacted testimony from the first trial was read to the jury and presented as evidence. The jury convicted Appellant as charged. He was sentenced to nine years as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, Appellant argues that his constitutional right of confrontation was violated by the State's presentation of the previous testimony of this witness, that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the trial court erred in sentencing Appellant to nine years as a Range I, standard offender, and that the trial court erred in denying probation. After a thorough review of the record, we have determined that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the verdict and that Appellant was properly sentenced. However, the State failed to adequately prove that it had made a good faith effort to locate the missing witness' testimony from Appellant's first trial violated Appellant's constitutional right to confront the witness. Therefore, this case is reversed and remanded for a new trial.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/sharpc_022310.pdf


Traffic Cameras

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-02-23

Opinion Number: 10-17

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2010/ag_10_17.pdf

Authority of Judge Exercising General Sessions Court Jurisdiction to Expunge Defendant's Criminal Record

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-02-23

Opinion Number: 10-18

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2010/ag_10_18.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Court of the Judiciary
Upcoming
TBA Member Services
TennBarU CLE

Legal News
Comment deadline for nominating commission candidates is Wednesday
Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting comments on the Judicial Nominating Commission applicants. To see information about each applicant and to comment,
click here.
Three names go to the governor for 11th district seat
The Judicial Nominating Commission today sent three candidates to Gov. Phil Bredesen to fill the judicial vacancy in the 11th Judicial District. They are: Jeffrey Atherton of Harrison, Arthur Grisham of Chattanooga and Joe Manuel of Hixson. The governor may now appoint one of these candidates.

High court defines 'headquarters'
The U.S. Supreme Court may have made it more difficult for tort lawyers to bring lawsuits in plaintiff-friendly state courts with today's ruling that a company's principal place of business is typically its headquarters. The 9-0 ruling, authored by Justice Stephen G. Breyer, said a company should be considered a citizen of a state where its "nerve center" is located. The "nerve center" test will be used to establish diversity jurisdiction, allowing more lawsuits to be tried in federal rather than state courts.
ABAJournal.com connects you
Going once, going twice: Fisk is free to sell paintings
The Tennessee Supreme Court has said that Fisk University can sell its world-renowned Georgia O'Keeffe collection, by declining to hear the long-running dispute between the cash-strapped university and the painter's estate. O'Keefe's estate has held that the collection should be returned intact to New Mexico.
Learn from the Tennessean
Defendant in death penalty case sues judge
A man charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse has filed a federal lawsuit against the judge in charge of his case. Howard Hawk Willis says Judge Lynn Brown violated a number of his constitutional rights, particularly his right to an attorney. Willis has been jailed since his arrest in October 2002 and has been appointed several attorneys to represent him. But each time the attorney/client relationship between Willis and his lawyers has broken down and become irreparable. Brown subsequently instructed that Willis must represent himself in the case in which the state is seeking the death penalty.
The Johnson City Press reports
Possible shut-down of Tweeting from court
A judiciary rules committee in Maryland plans to adopt a statewide policy next month that would likely prohibit people from taking communications devices -- including cell phones and computers -- into Maryland courthouses. A Baltimore judge last month banned posts to sites such as Twitter from the Circuit Court. The rule targeted media, but it affected everyone. This new ban would be much wider,
The Baltimore Sun reports.
Legislative News
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
Court of the Judiciary
Disciplinary counsel presses Dumas for discovery
Joseph S. Daniel, disciplinary counsel for the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary, filed a memorandum yesterday in support of a recent motion to compel and a response to a motion to quash a subpoena in the matter regarding General Sessions Court Judge Gloria Dumas. Daniel asserts that there is no valid reason Dumas cannot comply with earlier requests for discovery, saying she has caused delay and shown "obstreperous recalcitrance in meeting her obligations."
Download the memo
Upcoming
Roberts Court examined by the Amercian Constitution Society
The Nashville Chapter of the American Constitution Society will host "The Roberts Court and The Constitution in 2020," featuring Suzanna Sherry, Herman O. Lowenstein Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School; and William P. Marshall, William Rand Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law. The event is March 1, noon to 1 p.m., at Bass, Berry & Sims PLC, 150 Third Ave., Suite 2800, Nashville. This is a free event and open to the public.
Learn more
TBA Member Services
Ship directly from Microsoft Office Outlook with FedEx QuickShip
Now you can ship your FedEx packages directly from the Microsoft Office Outlook application -- and save money doing it. It's a fast and convenient way to easily access some of the most popular features on fedex.com using Microsoft technology. That's why you should Think FedEx First.
Take advantage of your member discounts on select FedEx shipping services and FedEx OfficeSM business services
TennBarU CLE
2010 Mid-Winter CLE Blast this Friday
Still need CLE credits before the March 1 deadline? Come to the Tennessee Bar Center Friday for the TBA's first Mid-Winter CLE Blast. The TBA's TennBarU will present 11 hours of continuous programming, starting at 7 a.m. The program features some of the best TennBarU programs from 2009 presented with moderators. All are certified as live programs offering dual credit. Sign up now or anytime at the Tennessee Bar Center.
See a full schedule of the courses

 
 
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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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