May 31 deadline to apply to fill TBA board vacancy

The Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors will appoint a member to fill the vacancy created by the election of Jackie Dixon as vice president of the TBA. The appointment will be made at the board's June 5 meeting. Any member who lives or practices in the 5th District (Davidson County) is eligible for appointment. To indicate your interest in the seat, contact TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur no later than May 31. The new board member will serve until the elections, which will take place in spring 2011.
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.

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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.

MARILEE ANN PETREY JONES v. JOHN TIMOTHY JONES

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Andrew M. Cate, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Timothy Jones

Michael W. Binkley, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Marilee Ann Petrey Jones

Judge: HIGHERS

After the parties' divorce, Mother was named primary residential parent and Father was ordered to pay $3,250.00 per month child support. Father filed two petitions seeking a reduction of his support obligation, which were denied. The parties then agreed that Father would pay $2,500.00 per month support through March 1, 2014. Thereafter, Father filed a third petition to reduce support claiming decreased income and increased parenting time. Subsequently, the parties signed an agreement allowing substantially equal parenting time, which was filed with the trial court, but never signed by the trial judge. The trial court denied Father's third petition for modification, finding both that he had failed to prove a significant variance and that he was contractually bound to his $2,500.00 agreement. The trial court also awarded Mother's attorney his $15,000.00 fee. We affirm the trial court's award of attorney fees to Mother's attorney as well as its refusal to reduce Father's child support obligation due to his allegedly decreased income. However, we remand to the trial court for consideration of whether Father's child support obligation should be reduced due to increased parenting time, and for entry of the parties' Agreed Parenting Plan Order. We decline to award Mother her attorney fees incurred on appeal.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/jonesm_052110.pdf


TWO RIVERS BAPTIST CHURCH, ET AL. v. JERRY SUTTON, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Larry L. Crain, Abigail Southerland, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jerry Sutton, et al.

Mark T. Freeman, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Two Rivers Baptist Church, et al.

Judge: COTTRELL

Officers of a church appeal the trial court holding that under Tenn. Code Ann. section 48-66-102 the members of the church have a statutory right to church records. We find that the members have a right to the records described in subsection (a) of the statute since such access is unconditional and since enforcing this right does not entangle the court in religious affairs in violation of the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine. However, the members failed to articulate a "proper purpose" as required in Tenn. Code Ann. section 48-66-102(c) to gain access to those records described in subsection (b) of the statute. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's judgment in part and reverse in part.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/tworivers_052110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEMANCE MARSHALL BEASLEY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Richard Tennent, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demance Marshall Beasley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Deborah Housel, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Demance Marshall Beasley, was charged with: one count of attempted especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, see Tennessee Code Annotated sections 39-13-403(b), -12-107(a); one count of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony, see Tennessee Code Annotated sections 39-13-202(c), -12-107(a); and one count of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, see Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-102(e)(1). Following a jury trial, he was convicted as charged. In this direct appeal, he contends that: (1) the State presented evidence insufficient to convict him; (2) the trial court erred by foreclosing crossexamination of the victims regarding their drug usage; and (3) the trial court improperly instructed the jury regarding identification of the Defendant as the perpetrator of the crime. After our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/beasleyd_052110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RODERICK SAMMUAL CHADWICK

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dumaka Shabazz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roderick Sammual Chadwick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Hugh Ammerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

A Davidson County jury found the Defendant, Roderick Sammual Chadwick, guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. The trial court imposed concurrent terms of twelve years and fifteen years, respectively, for these convictions. Under the same indictment, the Defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a weapon. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to six years for this conviction, to be served consecutively to the effective fifteen-year sentence, for a total effective sentence of twentyone years in the Department of Correction. In this direct appeal, the Defendant asserts that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that consecutive sentencing was improper. Because the record on appeal does not include the necessary transcripts of what transpired in the trial court, we conclude that the Defendant has waived the issues argued on appeal. We must presume that the evidence was sufficient to support his convictions and that the sentencing ruling of the trial court was correct; therefore, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/chadwickr_052110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM LADONTE DAVIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Andrew Jackson Dearing, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Ladonte Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, William Ladonte Davis, pled guilty to possession of .5 grams or more of a substance containing cocaine with the intent to sell and conspiracy to sell cocaine, receiving sentences of eleven years and five years, respectively. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing, specifically contending that he should have been sentenced to probation or community corrections. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/davisw_052110.pdf


MARQUISE HARRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Marquise Harris, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, and 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 dismiss or in the alternative to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Petitioner, Marquise Harris, has appealed the trial court's order dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus in which Petitioner alleged that: (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) was subject to an illegal search, seizure, and arrest; and (3) he received an unconstitutional enhancement of his sentences. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the trial court was correct in dismissing the petition for habeas corpus relief and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20, 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/2010/harrism_052110.pdf


TRAVIS JAY LESTER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

A. Ensley Hagan, Jr., Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Travis Jay Lester.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jason Lawson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The Petitioner, Travis Jay Lester, pled guilty in the Wilson County Criminal Court to introduction of contraband into a penal facility, resisting arrest, and two counts of assault. He received a total effective sentence of four years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Subsequently, the Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner now appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/lestert_052110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SIDNEY LEONARD PIGG, III

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sidney Leonard Pigg, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Sidney Leonard Pigg, III, was convicted by a Marshall County jury of Class D felony theft of property. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-14-103. The trial court imposed a three-year sentence for this conviction, which was to be suspended following service of sixty days. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/piggs_052110.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALD LEE STEWART

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Christopher P. Westmoreland, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald Lee Stewart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Marshall County Circuit Court Jury found the appellant, Ronald Lee Stewart, guilty of aggravated burglary, theft, and vandalism. The trial court sentenced the appellant as a Range III persistent offender to a total effective sentence of thirteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant argues that his convictions "violate[] the Sixth Amendment because of juror fatigue" and that the trial court erroneously found him to be a persistent offender. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/stewartr_052110.pdf


MAURICE DARNELL TYLER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David M. Hopkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Maurice Darnell Tyler.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Kathy Morante, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Petitioner, Maurice Darnell Tyler, was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and received a total effective sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Subsequently, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and Petitioner now appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/tylerm_052110.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Flood Impact
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Court to review four criminal cases
The Tennessee Supreme Court granted review in four criminal cases this week. Two cases involve joinder of offenses including what should be a definitive ruling on mandatory joinder. The other cases address search and seizure questions and child abuse prosecutions. Read about them on the
Raybin and Perky Tennessee Supreme Court Hot List
CASA will move into late Judge Rollins' office
The office building of the late Judge John Rollins in downtown Manchester will soon be the home of the CASA Works program. "It has sat empty since John's death," said his widow. "I would rather see it used for this than empty and lonely." Afundraising luncheon for CASA, an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates, will be June 15 at the Tullahoma Business Center, 41 Wilson Ave. For information call 931-580-7377.
The Tullahoma News has more
Retrial and sentencing postponed in Palin email case
U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips has postponed a retrial for David C. Kernell on an identity theft charge until Kernell has exhausted all appeals. The decision effectively postpones Kernell's sentencing hearing on the two charges on which a jury agreed he was guilty -- misdemeanor illegal access of a computer and felony obstruction of justice. The same jury deadlocked on the identity theft charge.
The News Sentinel has more
Editorial: Judges shouldn't constrain government with no way to pay for it
In an editorial, The Times Free Press laments when judges overrule elected officials, citing California's budget crisis where Gov. Schwarzenegger now "cannot reduce spending on social programs to make them more efficient" because of a court ruling. "Unaccountable courts," the paper says, "are making it far harder than necessary for states to stave off disaster."
Read the editorial
Court: Afganistan detainees not the same as Guantanamo Bay detainees
Detainees at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their imprisonment the way detainees in Guantanamo Bay have, a federal appeals court ruled today.
WATE.com carried this AP story
Legislative News
Attorney general weighs in on voter registration bill
Legislation that requires new voters to show proof of citizenship when they register would violate a federal law meant to get more people to vote, the state attorney general said in an opinion. A voter-registration bill that has cleared the Senate would break the so-called Motor Voter Act, a 17-year-old law that requires states to let people register to vote at state agencies and by mail, Attorney General Robert Cooper said. But the bill does not necessarily violate the U.S. Constitution or the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Cooper's office said.
The Tennessean has the story
Flood Impact
Help for flood victims
A toll-free legal assistance line is available for victims of recent storms and flooding in the counties that have been designated as federal disaster areas. Victims facing legal issues may call (888) 395-9297. Victims who qualify for assistance will be matched with Tennessee lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help.
Volunteer to help or learn more about recovery efforts
Disciplinary Actions
Lockett suspended on top of previous suspension
The Tennessee Supreme Court this week issued a second suspension of Knoxville lawyer William S. Lockett Jr. based on his recent guilty plea in the United States District Court Eastern District of Tennessee to willful failure to file an income tax return. Lockett had earlier been suspended based upon his guilty plea in the Criminal Court of Knox County to theft over $10,000. The court also told the Board of Professional Responsibility to consolidate the two matters and institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline to be imposed as a result of the convictions.
Download the BPR news release
TBA Member Services
First Tennessee is TBA's preferred provider
First Tennessee has crafted a package of discounts to meet the specific needs of Tennessee Bar Association members.
Find savings on merchant credit services, checking and savings, financial planning and more

 
 
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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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