GOP picks General Assembly leaders

Republican members of the Tennessee State House and Senate elected their leaders this week. Today, members of the Senate re-elected Sen. Ron Ramsey of Blountville as speaker and Sen. Mark Norris of Collierville as majority leader. Sen. Bo Watson of Hixson lost a race for caucus chair, but won the post of caucus floor leader. Finally, Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro won the caucus seat formerly held by Sen. Diane Black, who resigned to serve in the U.S. Congress. Read more about the Senate elections on Chattanoogan.com.

Yesterday, House Republicans selected their leaders. Rep. Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga was elected majority leader, defeating Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol. McCormick initially sought the party's nomination for speaker of the House but threw his support to Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin. Casada was defeated for that position by Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville. Party members also elected Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma as their nominee for speaker pro-tempore. Others elected yesterday were Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland as assistant majority leader, Rep. Vince Dean of East Ridge as floor leader, Rep. Mark White of Memphis as assistant floor leader, Rep. Debra Maggart of Hendersonville as caucus chair, Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville as caucus vice chair, Rep. Barrett Rich of Somerville as whip, Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport as secretary and Rep. Joey Hensley of Howenwald as treasurer. Chattanoogan.com also has more on this story.

The legislative session is scheduled to begin at noon on Jan. 11

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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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: GABRIEL J.M., JEFFREY DARRYL CRANFIELD, v. LORI JANE MARTIN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Lori Jane Martin, Greenville, North Carolina, pro se.

Lisa M. Mack, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeffrey Darryl Cranfield.

Judge: FRANKS

Petitioner filed to establish his parentage of the child born to defendant, Lori Jane Martin. He asked to have his parentage established, that he share parenting time, and expressed the desire to provide child support, as well as pay half the medical expenses for the mother and child. He also asked that the child then bear his last name. In a series of motions, the mother moved to relocate to Hawaii, which the Trial Court denied. She then moved the Court to allow her to move to North Carolina to allow her to pursue a graduate degree. The Trial Court then allowed this move, and entered a series of orders relating to visitation, travel, etc. The mother appealed to this Court and we remand to the Trial Court because the remaining issues that the petitioner raised in his Petition have not been ruled upon by the Trial Court. The appeal was premature.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/cranfieldj_120910.pdf


LUIS CASTANON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Luis Castanon, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

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

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Luis Castanon, filed a petition pursuant to the Post-Conviction DNA Analysis Act of 2001, Tennessee Code Annotated sections 40-30-301-313. Petitioner sought DNA testing of evidence in the trial resulting in his convictions for four counts of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated burglary. The State filed a response in opposition to the petition, and the trial court summarily dismissed the petition, concluding that Petitioner had not satisfied the statutory requirements to authorize DNA testing. In this appeal, Petitioner asserts that the trial court erred by summarily dismissing the petition and by failing to require the State to submit proof that "DNA evidence" no longer existed. After a thorough review of the record and the briefs of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/castanonl_120910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL MARTEZ RHODES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. David Wicker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Martez Rhodes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Katrin Miller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Michael Martez Rhodes, pursuant to a plea agreement, entered an Alford "best interest" plea of guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual battery, a Class C felony. The agreement provided for a four-year sentence for each conviction, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences for a total effective sentence of eight years, to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying probation and in imposing consecutive sentences. After careful review, we affirm the judgments from the trial court. However, we note the transcript shows an Alford "best-interest" guilty plea. The judgment reflects a plea of nolo contendere. We remand for a correction of the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/rhodesm_120910.pdf


LARRY C. THOMPSON, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry C. Thompson, Jr., Pikeville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rachel Sobrero, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Larry C. Thompson, Jr., has appealed from the trial court's order which denied Defendant's "Motion to Reopen and Suspend Sentence." The sentence which Defendant sought to "reopen" and suspend was entered May 10, 2004. The motion to "reopen" and suspend the sentence was not filed until over five years later in July 2009. After a review of the record and the briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/thompsonl_120910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JERMARIO DIVINE WARFIELD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David A. Collins (on appeal) and Tyler Yarbro (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jermario Divine Warfield.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Robert Homlar and Benjamin J. Ford, III, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Jermario Divine Warfield, pled guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, in exchange for a three-year sentence with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that the defendant serve his sentence in confinement, which he now appeals. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/warfieldj_120910.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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Legal News
Lockett appeals suspension
Former Knox County law director Bill Lockett, who pleaded guilty to taking more than $60,000 in client fees meant for his former firm, has appealed suspension of his law license. Lockett resigned from office in April and remains on state and federal probation. He filed the disciplinary appeal in chancery court, calling the suspension "arbitrary and capricious" and "unsupported by the evidence." The Board of Professional Responsibility has not filed a response or set a hearing yet.
Learn more in the News Sentinel
Ponzi schemes cost Middle Tennesseans $20 million
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee announced this week that Ponzi schemes in the region have resulted in $20 million in unintended losses. U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin said, "Investment fraud continues to pose a significant threat to the economic stability of the U.S. economy," and noted that his office will "aggressively investigate and prosecute" such cases.
The Nashville Business Journal has more on the story
Shelby general sessions court to open satellite office
Within a few weeks, the Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk's Office plans to open a satellite location in the Hickory Ridge Mall -- just a few doors away from where two other government offices opened recently. To start with, the office will handle simple transactions such as accepting court-ordered payments. But the long-term goal is to enable mall visitors to do almost everything they can do at the court's main office, including filing lawsuits.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Chattanooga prosecutor honored by DOJ
The U.S. Justice Department recently recognized a local assistant U.S. attorney for his work prosecuting former Hamilton County sheriff Billy Long. Chattanooga lawyer Gary S. Humble was honored for superior performance at the annual Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys Director's Awards Ceremony. Humble prosecuted Long in 2008 on drug conspiracy, firearms, money laundering and extortion charges. Long was convicted, removed from office and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
WTVC News Channel 9 reports
Myar's legacy remembered
During last week's annual meeting of the Memphis Bar Association, attorneys remembered the legacy of Sam A. Myar Jr. -- the namesake of the association's award given annually to a young lawyer. Myar died in 1959 at the age of 39. He was a partner at McCloy, Myar & Wellford, where he focused on corporate and tax law, and was on the faculty of the old Southern Law University, now part of the University of Memphis School of Law. Bar leaders remembered Myar as an outstanding and principled lawyer. This year's award went to Craig C. Conley with Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC.
The Memphis Daily News has more
Paper offers profile of lawyer
The Memphis Daily News examines the career success and motivation of attorney Greg Duckett, who works as senior vice president and corporate counsel for Baptist Memorial Health Care. A native Memphian, Duckett earned his law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
Read the full piece
Tenn. Government
First Lady-elect names chief of staff
Crissy Haslam, wife of Gov.-elect Bill Haslam, has named former Assistant Campaign Manager Christi Gibbs as her chief of staff. Gibbs joined the Haslam campaign in the fall of 2009 and helped with political organization, communication strategy and outreach. She previously worked at private-equity firm Cressey & Co. and as associate director of the National Economic Council during the Bush Administration.
The Nashville Post has the news
Upcoming
Firm hosts open house event
Adams and Reese LLP invites members of Nashville's legal community to a holiday open house Dec. 21 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The firm, which recently moved into new office space, is located on the 27th floor of the Fifth Third Center at 424 Church Street. RSVP to Brooke Ponder at brookeponder@arlaw.com or (615) 259-1022.

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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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