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

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. also has more on this story.

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

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Court: TCA


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

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


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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Legal News
Lockett appeals suspension
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WTVC News Channel 9 reports
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Tenn. Government
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Firm hosts open house event
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