Gov. candidates slated for Health Law Forum

The two main candidates for governor -- Republican Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter -- have both agreed to address the region's largest gathering of health care lawyers at the TBA's Health Law Forum, Oct. 7-8 in Cool Springs. The two candidates will each speak for 30 minutes during programming on Oct. 7. Now in its 22nd year, the Health Law Forum is recognized as one of the premier health law programs in the country.

Learn more about this year's TBA Health Law Forum

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - 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.

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOEL RICHARD SCHMEIDERER
With Appendix


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Claudia S. Jack, District Public Defender; Shipp Weems and Michelle VanDeRee, Assistant Public Defenders, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joel Richard Schmeiderer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Assistant Attorney General; Joel Douglas Dicus and Patrick Butler, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HOLDER

In this capital case, the defendant, Joel Richard Schmeiderer, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder in connection with the strangling death of a fellow inmate. The jury imposed a sentence of death for the murder based on two aggravating circumstances. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. On automatic appeal pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(a)(1), we designated the following issues for oral argument: 1) whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying the defendant's motion for a second continuance; 2) whether this denial of a continuance violated the defendant's constitutional right to present mitigation evidence during the sentencing phase; 3) whether the trial court erred by allowing the State to introduce into evidence and argue a non-statutory aggravating circumstance during the sentencing phase; 4) whether the prosecutor's closing argument during the sentencing phase constituted plain error mandating reversal; and 5) whether the sentence of death is disproportionate or invalid under the mandatory review of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(c)(1). Having carefully reviewed the record and relevant legal authority, we conclude that none of the errors alleged by the defendant warrant relief. With respect to issues not herein specifically addressed, we affirm the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Relevant portions of that opinion are published hereafter as an appendix. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/schmeidererj_091410.pdf


Appendix
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/schmeidererj_APX_091410.pdf


VICTOR J. THOMAS, M.D., et al., v. PEDIATRIX MEDICAL GROUP OF TENNESSEE, P.C.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stephen D. Barham and Jacob C. Parker, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Pediatrix Medical Group of Tennessee, P.C.

Joe A. Conner, Susan E. Rich, and John M,. Phillips, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Victor J. Thomas, M.D., and Lizbeth A. Kennedy, M.D.

Judge: FRANKS

In this declaratory judgment action, plaintiffs asked the Trial Court to declare null and void certain restrictive covenants in their employment contracts with defendant. Defendant moved to dismiss the action and enforce the arbitration agreement contained in the employment contract between the parties. The Trial Court refused to order arbitration and ruled that in the interest of judicial economy, the Court should decide the issues raised in the declaratory judgment action. On appeal, we reverse the Trial Court's refusal to order arbitration and remand, directing the Court to stay the proceeding and order the parties to arbitrate the issues arising from the contracts of employment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/thomasv_091410.pdf


MYRNA WHEELOCK, ET AL. v. JESSE THOMAS DOERS, M.D., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Terry G. Vann, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellants, Myrna Wheelock, Lester Wheelock, and Cortney L. Caldell.

F. Michael Fitzpatrick and Rachel P. Hurt, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Parkwest Medical Center.

Judge: MCCLARTY

In this appeal, the plaintiffs contend that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/wheelockm_091410.pdf


ROBERT ALLEN CRAWFORD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Allen Crawford, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; and Dennis Brooks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Robert Allen Crawford, appeals the Washington County Criminal Court's denial of post-conviction relief and claims that his convictions of first degree murder, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated burglary, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment were the results of the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Following an evidentiary hearing on the petitioner's timely petition for post-conviction relief, the criminal court denied relief. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the order of the criminal court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/crawfordr_091410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES EDWARD FARRAR, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John H. Norton, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Edward Farrar, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Chuck Crawford, District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, James Edward Farrar, Jr., appeals the revocation of his probation, alleging that the State presented insufficient evidence to establish that he violated the terms of his probationary sentence. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/farrarj_091410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ASO HASSAN NEJAD A.K.A. DIAKO NEJAD AND AKO HASSAN NEJAD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brett M. Gipson (on appeal) and Dumaka Shabazz (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Aso Hassan Nejad, a.k.a. Diako Nejad.

David M. Hopkins (on appeal) and Paul Walwyn (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ako Hassan Nejad.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Robert E. McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Brothers Ako Hassan Nejad and Aso Hassan Nejad were found guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, a Class A felony, and each received a twenty-five-year sentence as a Range I, standard offender. Ako Nejad was also found guilty of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony, and received an additional consecutive sentence of twelve years. On appeal, the defendants claim that: the evidence was insufficient to support their convictions; their indictments were insufficient; a mistrial should have been declared after a witness testified that one of the brothers was a gang member; certain inculpatory evidence was improperly admitted; newly discovered evidence discredits the State's theory of motive; and their sentences were excessive. We reject each of these claims and affirm their convictions and sentences.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/nejada_091410.pdf


ROBERT CLAY PRIEST v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. Huddleston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Clay Priest.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Tammy Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Robert Clay Priest, who pleaded guilty in the Blount County Circuit Court to multiple offenses and was sentenced to 29 years' confinement, appeals from that court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he claims that he was mentally incompetent to enter into a plea agreement, that the trial court failed to ask him to enter a guilty plea, and that the post-conviction court erroneously excluded his expert witness. We discern no error and affirm the order of the circuit court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/priestr_091410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES REGINALD UNDERWOOD, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. LaGuardia, Kingsport, Tennessee (on appeal); and Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender, and William Andrew Kennedy, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Charles Reginald Underwood, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Amber Massengill and Laura Rayment, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Charles Reginald Underwood, Jr., pled guilty to three counts of third offense driving on a revoked or suspended license, a Class A misdemeanor; violation of the seat belt law, a Class C misdemeanor; and speeding, a Class C misdemeanor. See T.C.A. sections 55-50-504 (Supp. 2009); 55-9-603(2008); 55-8-302 (2008). The Defendant also entered a best interest guilty plea pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970), to facilitation of a false report of child abuse, a Class A misdemeanor. T.C.A. section 37-1-413 (2005). At the sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of three years, eleven months, and twenty-five days, to be served on split confinement involving six months of jail service followed by probation conditioned upon community corrections participation. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in imposing confinement and in denying his motion to reduce his sentence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/underwoodc_091410.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Election 2010
Supreme Court Report
Upcoming
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Isolation a factor for immigrants lacking counsel
A national survey by Heartland Alliance's National Immigrant Justice Center found a shocking lack of lawyers available to immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Among the findings, 80 percent of detainees were held in facilities that had more than 100 detainees for every full-time non-governmental organizations (NGOs) attorney providing legal services, and more than a quarter of detainees were in facilities where the ratio was 500 or more detainees per NGO attorney.
The Blog of Legal Times reports
What's your opinion of the bankruptcy court? Tell them
Attorneys who have practiced in the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee are asked to complete a survey, to assess the performance of each of the bankruptcy judges and the clerk's office. The original deadline has been extended to Sept. 30.
Access the online survey
Memphis group gives expert medical witness training
Nurses and doctors now have a place in Memphis to go that teaches them to become expert medical witnesses in court cases. The company's founder, Elizabeth Rudolph, is a Vanderbilt University-trained nurse and attorney.
Read about the company in the Commercial Appeal
Harbison execution set for February
The Tennessee Supreme Court today set the execution date for Edward Harbison for Feb. 15, 2011.
Download the order from the Administrative Office of the Courts
Irick motions filed
Briefs have been filed with the Supreme Court appealing the Knox County Criminal Court's Judgment of Billy Ray Irick's competency to be executed.
Download them from the Administrative Office of the Courts
Civil Rights Museum will use informant's photos anyway
Revelations concerning the late photographer Ernest Withers' work as an FBI informant won't affect plans to use some of his photographs in the proposed redesign of the National Civil Rights Museum. "We're still planning on using some of his photographs," said Beverly Robertson, executive director of the museum.
The Commercial Appeal has the story
Election 2010
Candidates debate tonight in Cookeville
A televised gubernatorial debate has never happened outside a major metropolitan area, but tonight (Sept. 14) contenders for the governor's seat -- Republican Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter -- will debate in Cookeville at Tennessee Technological University. The debate will air on NewsChannel 5 at 7 p.m. Central time, or watch it online.

Supreme Court Report
Breyer says court is not
'9 junior varsity politicians'
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is a guest today on National Public Radio's Fresh Air, discussing his new book, Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View. In the interview he explains that he interprets the Constitution as a living document, in opposition to some of his colleagues -- including Justice Antonin Scalia -- who see it as a static and literal set of rules that do not change over time.

During a recent talk at the National Archives, Breyer also said the biggest obstacle to understanding the high court is that "more and more people think that what's important to [the court] is political and that this is nine junior varsity politicians." But "that isn't what goes on," he said.
Tri-Cities.com reported this AP story
Upcoming
TBA Academy: Special admissions ceremony to Supreme Court
A limited number of Tennessee attorneys this year will experience the honor of being admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court as part of the 27th Annual TBA Academy. Don't miss this opportunity. The Tennessee Bar Association has arranged a private swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, Dec. 8. In addition, participants in the TBA Academy will be invited to a welcome reception and dinner -- hosted by TBA President Sam Elliott -- a breakfast and tour of the Supreme Court, and a celebration luncheon at a Capitol Hill landmark after the swearing-in ceremony.
Sign up now to ensure your place
Disciplinary Actions
Lawyers suspended for CLE violations
On Sept. 7, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended 122 lawyers for failing to complying with mandatory continuing legal education requirements during 2009. Attorneys who since have complied with the rule are noted as reinstated.
See the list of all attorneys suspended
TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
Visit the site

 
 
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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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