Mock supreme court gets underway this week

The Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court (TISC) was installed in a ceremony on Wednesday at the Supreme Court Building in Nashville. Featured speakers were Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch and Court of Appeals Judge Frank Clement Jr., both of whom serve as special advisers to TISC and the Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge (AMC3).

Members of TISC are selected through a process that parallels the Tennessee Plan, which guides selection of Tennessee Supreme Court members. Applicants are screened by a nominating commission, which sends seven nominees to the program governor, who then must choose five. This year three returning justices -- Dan Johnson of King College, Amanda Martin of Lipscomb University and Justin Tate of The University of Memphis -- are joined by two new justices: Chase de Saint Felix of Christian Brothers University and Courtnei Secrest of Middle Tennessee State University. Johnson was elected chief justice in the court's first act.

One of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature's (TISL) signal achievements in recent years has been its new judicial program, which includes TISC and an appellate moot court competition for college students. The TBA supports TISC by helping recruit volunteers to coach participating teams.

Learn more about TISC here

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.

IN RE BRANDON T. ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Bruce N. Oldham, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Elizabeth T.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lindsey O. Appiah, Assistant Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Virginia K. Tompkins, Castalian Springs, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem.

Judge: BENNETT

Parents appeal the trial court's termination of their parental rights. Because we find that DCS failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it had made reasonable efforts to address the problems preventing the reunification of the children with their parents, we reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/brandont_090910.pdf


IN THE MATTER OF ZACHARY G.G.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Melanie Totty Cagle, Centerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Don G.

J. Jason Whatley, Sr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brandy E.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is an appeal from the trial court's denial of Father/Appellant's petition to change the primary residential parent or in the alternative to increase his parenting time. Because Father did not demonstrate that a material change of circumstances has occurred, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/zacharyg_090910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM COMFORT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Trenena G. Wilcher, McMinville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Comfort.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy E. Paduch, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa S. Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Thomas Miner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, William Comfort, pled guilty in the Warren County Circuit Court to attempted aggravated sexual battery, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's imposition of an eight-year sentence and the denial of alternative sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/comfortw_090910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PATRICK M. LONIE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Douglas Thompson Bates, IV, Centerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Patrick M. Lonie.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Michael J. Fahey, II, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Patrick M. Lonie, was charged by presentment with twelve counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and ten counts of aggravated sexual battery. In an open plea, he pled guilty to four counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. Following a sentencing hearing, he was sentenced as a Range I offender to one term of eleven years and three terms of ten years, with two of the sentences to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of twenty-one years. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in its application of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-115 to the Tennessee Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation Act of 1990, Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-17-1001, et seq., and that, as a result, he should not have received consecutive sentences. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court and remand for entry of corrected judgments to reflect the conviction offenses as especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/loniep_090910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BILLY EARL MCILLWAIN, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy Earl McIllwain, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Garry Brown, District Attorney General; and Stephanie J. Hale, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Billy Earl McIllwain, Jr., was convicted by a Gibson County jury of one count of first degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and one count of possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to employ it in the commission of an offense. He received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus six years. In this direct appeal, the Defendant's only challenge is to the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/mcillwainb_090910.pdf


JOE CLARK MITCHELL v. JAMES FORTNER, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joe Clark Mitchell, Pro Se, Only, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Joe Clark Mitchell, appeals from the dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We find the State's motion has merit. Accordingly, the motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/mitchellj_090910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAWN FOX NEWHOUSE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Roger E. Nell, District Public Defender and Sarah R. King, Assistant Public Defender, Clarksville, Tennessee; and Timothy J. Richter, Assistant Public Defender, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dawn Fox Newhouse.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jason White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Dawn Fox Newhouse, pleaded guilty to theft of services over $10,000, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-14-105(4). She was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to four years and six months and was placed on probation. The trial court subsequently found that the Defendant violated her probation and sentenced her to serve 180 days in the Robertson County Jail. The trial court later modified its order and allowed the Defendant to serve her 180 days on weekends. Several months later, the Board of Probation and Parole alleged that the Defendant violated her probation again by incurring a new arrest. After a hearing, the trial court found that the Defendant violated her probation a second time and ordered that she serve the remainder of her sentence in the Department of Correction. In this appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred by revoking her probation. After a review of the record, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by revoking the Defendant's probation. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/newhoused_090910.pdf


DARRELL JOHN PENNER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry Joe Hinson, Jr., Hohenwald, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Darrell John Penner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; Stacey B. Edmonson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Perry County grand jury indicted the Petitioner, Darrell John Penner, for two counts of rape of a child. The Petitioner pled guilty to aggravated sexual battery, and the trial court sentenced him to ten years at 100% in the Department of Correction. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The post- conviction court denied relief after a hearing, and the Petitioner now appeals. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/pennerd_090910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MARGLE WARD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy D. Trapp, Smithville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Margle Ward.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Lisa S. Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Thomas J. Miner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

A Warren County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Margle Ward, of facilitation of theft of property over $1,000, a Class E felony. He was sentenced as a multiple offender to a four-year term of imprisonment and assessed $1,332.50 in fines. On appeal, Margle claims (1) the insufficiency of the evidence; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion to exclude a statement he made to Jeff Panter; (3) the trial court erred in denying his motion to exclude the testimony of Jason Ward; and (4) his sentence was excessive. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/wardm_090910.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Election 2010
Upcoming
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Friday is deadline for Bar Foundation grants
Tomorrow is the deadline to submit applications to the Tennessee Bar Foundation for its Interest On Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) grants, which fund organizations that provide civil legal services to the indigent or seek to improve the administration of justice. Applications are available online but must be returned by mail and be postmarked no later than Sept. 10. For more information, contact the foundation at (615) 242-1531 or (800) 634-2516 or by email at info@tnbarfoundation.org.
Learn more or download an application
Farmer resigns from ethics commission
Former Jackson mayor Charles Farmer has resigned from the state ethics commission due to his frustration with the board's inability to stop corruption. Farmer, who spent two years on the panel, complained that most of the commission's time is spent monitoring financial disclosure deadlines and not impacting serious laws. He also expressed frustration that the causes of most political corruption are outside the commission's scope.
The Jackson Sun reports
Nashville judges struggle to cut juror expenses
Metro Nashville judges are trying to balance budget cuts with feeding, parking and paying 5,000 Davidson County residents that are summoned for jury trials each year. A 32 percent reduction in the trial courts' jury budget has forced judges to reduce juror lunches and find cheaper parking options.
The Tennessean has more
Drug court hires new coordinator
The 21st Judicial District Drug Court has hired Brent Hessel as its new coordinator. Hessel, who recently relocated from Washington, D.C., replaces Gayle Moyer Harris who served in the position since the court's inception in 2002. In D.C., Hessel served as program director for the World Affairs Councils of America and as vice president of the DuPont Circle Project's board of directors. He is a graduate of American University's Washington College of Law as well as its School of International Service. He also has experience in non-profit management and addiction recovery.
Read more in the Williamson Herald
Nashville lawyer elected to ABA section council
At the American Bar Association annual meeting last month, Nashville lawyer Margaret M. Huff was elected to serve a three-year term on the council of the ABA's Section of Dispute Resolution. Huff already was serving as co-chair of the section's Ethics Committee and as a liaison to the ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission. Huff owns and operates the Nashville-based dispute resolution firm Margaret Huff Mediation, which offers arbitration, mediation and workplace conflict management training.
The Daily News Journal reports
Election 2010
Recall groups considering their next legal move
Groups behind the recall movement against Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield say their effort is not over and that they are contemplating what legal action can be taken to challenge a ruling this week that invalidated signed recall petitions they had collected.
News Chanel 9 covers the story
Upcoming
Family law clinic set for Saturday in Memphis
The Memphis Bar Association's Family Law Section and Butler, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada PLLC will cosponsor a legal clinic this Saturday at the Ben Hooks Library in Memphis from 9:30 to 12 noon. Free legal assistance as well as a seminar for those facing divorce also will be available. In the divorce session, individuals will learn about divorce suits and proceedings, what issues a judge has to decide, and the pros and cons of mediation versus litigation. The library is located at 3030 Poplar Ave.

Disciplinary Actions
3 Memphis lawyers reinstated
Memphis lawyers Pamela McFarland Brown, Melvin Lucius Ford and Curtis Douglas Johnson were reinstated to the practice of law on Sept. 8 after complying with continuing legal education requirements. They had been suspended on Aug. 30.

TBA Member Services
Discounts from Office Depot
Are you saving yet? Sign up for the TBA-Office Depot Program and begin saving. TBA Members receive significant discounts on office supplies from Office Depot.
Find out 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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