Casada backs off of judicial election bill

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, today agreed to delay consideration of his bill calling for the popular election of state Supreme Court judges, although this afternoon he told WPLN that his bill is not dead. Under pressure from fellow Republicans, including Gov. Bill Haslam and the two speakers, Casada said he would wait until the end of the session to bring up his bill, but added that the proposal might then include the election of justices from five geographic districts and the continuation of gubernatorial appointment of appellate judges. Haslam and the speakers want a constitutional amendment to formalize the current system of judicial appointments and retention elections.

The Associated Press reports

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Court: TWCA


Robert M. Asbury, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teton Transportation, Inc.

David D. Noel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Todd White.


Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employee alleged that he injured his back at work. His employer denied the claim. While the trial court found that the employee was not a credible witness, it found that he had sustained a compensable injury based upon the testimony of an independent lay witness and the treating physician. The trial court awarded 78% permanent partial disability benefits. The employer has appealed, asserting that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding of compensability. We affirm the judgment.


Court: TCCA


Lynn Gary Fryer, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se (on appeal), and Susan B. Korsnes, Jackson, Tennessee (at trial).

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Lynn Gary Fryer, pled guilty in the Madison County Circuit Court to aggravated assault, for which he was given a seven-year probationary sentence. Thereafter, the trial court revoked the appellant's probation and ordered him to serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's revocation of his probation. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Hammond.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Madison County Circuit Court jury convicted the petitioner, David Hammond, of rape, and he was sentenced to twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Thereafter, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the petitioner now appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Francis King, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ernest W. Mays.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Billy Miller, Jr., and Sarah Wojnarowski, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Ernest W. Mays, pled guilty, in two separate cases, in the Dickson County Circuit Court to: (1) two counts of selling cocaine less than .5 grams, a Class C felony; (2) conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping, a Class C felony; (3) simple assault, a Class A misdemeanor; and (4) retaliation for past action, a Class E felony. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the defendant was to receive an effective sentence of ten years, as a Range II offender, with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that the sentence be served in confinement. On appeal, the defendant contends that the court erred in denying him an alternative sentence. Following review of the record before us, we conclude no error occurred and affirm the sentences as imposed.


Court: TCCA


Joseph A. McClusky, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Criss Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Goodman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

After his conviction for second degree murder was upheld on appeal, Petitioner, Criss Williams, sought post-conviction relief on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, the trial court's alleged improper jury instructions, and the trial court's alleged misapplication of enhancement factors. See State v. Criss Williams, No. W1999-00823-CCA-R3-CD, 2001 WL 278111, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Mar. 9, 2001), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. June 18, 2001). The parties waived a hearing on the post-conviction petition and submitted the petition on the record. The post-conviction court determined that Petitioner failed to prove that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and, therefore, denied post-conviction relief. On appeal, we determine that the issue of whether the trial court should have charged lesser included offenses has been waived because it was not raised on direct appeal. We further determine Petitioner has failed to prove that trial counsel's failure to object to the absence of instructions on lesser included offenses and appellate counsel's failure to raise the issue on appeal was prejudicial to his case or amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

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TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-02-07

Opinion Number: 12-11


General Assembly News
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General Assembly News
Judicial diversion bill approved in Senate
The Senate gave final approval on Monday night to legislation sponsored by Sen. Ken Yager, R-Harriman, that makes state or local officials who have committed a crime during their term of office ineligible for consideration of either pre-trial or judicial diversion. The bill, SB 2566, now goes to the House where it is sponsored by Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville. It is scheduled for a hearing in the House Judicial Subcommittee on Wednesday.
The Chattanoogan reports
Rep. Todd case goes to Grand Jury
State Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, waived a preliminary hearing in Davidson County General Sessions Court today on DUI and weapons charges, and a judge sent his case to the Davidson County grand jury. Todd, who sponsored a bill to allow handgun permit holders to take their weapons inside establishments that serve alcohol, was arrested Oct. 11 in Nashville on drunken driving and gun charges.
Read more in the Tennessean
Legal News
More states move to keep foreign laws out of courtroom
Twenty-one states are considering measures that would prohibit judges from applying the laws or legal codes of other nations in a wide variety of cases. Three states -- Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona -- recently added versions of such laws to the books, while a fourth -- Oklahoma -- worked a similar change into its constitution in 2010. The movement is motivated largely by a handful of organizations that claim Islamic Sharia law and, to a lesser degree, laws of other nations, are creeping into courtrooms and American life, especially in divorces and child-custody disputes.
The Wall Street Journal has details
Politcal parties win ballot suit
A federal judge has ruled in favor of Tennessee's Green and Constitution parties' suit that claimed laws on the books violated the state constitution by making it unreasonably hard for third parties to get their names on the ballots. "This is a great victory for voters in the state, because now we've made it easier for new parties to form," said Alan Woodruff, a Johnson City attorney who represented the parties.
The Johnson City Press has the story
Two apply for Moon's seat; deadline is Friday
Hamilton County Chief Magistrate Larry Ables and prosecutor Lila Statom on Monday applied for consideration for the interim appointment to replace the late General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon. Candidates have until Friday at noon to submit applications.
The Chattanoogan has more
9th Circuit says Prop 8 is unconstitutional
A federal court of appeals today ruled California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians. Proposition 8 was the voter initiative that in 2008 defined marriage in California as a union between a man and a woman.
The Tennessean has this AP story
Occupy Murfreesboro hearing delayed
A hearing for Occupy Murfreesboro protesters was again rescheduled this morning after a representative of the city asked the court for more time to review a motion to dismiss filed by attorneys for the protestors. Protesters are now set to appear in court March 8.
The Tennessean has the story
Opinion: Dickens loved and hated lawyers
Today is the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, who included lawyers in 11 of his 15 novels. This opinion piece examines Dickens' life, intertwined with the law in both fact and fiction. At 15, Dickens was hired as an "attorney's clerk," serving subpoenas, registering wills, copying transcripts. He later became a court reporter and enrolled as a law student twice. In his writing he often depicted lawyers as proud, unrepentant, amoral mouthpieces, working in dimly lit, moldy offices "like maggots in nuts." Happy birthday, Mr. Dickens.
Read it in The New York Times
A story in yesterday's issue about the death of Nashville criminal defense lawyer William P. Redick incorrectly listed the name of one of his many honors for his work opposing the death penalty. In 1992 Redick was the first recipient of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' (TACDL) Death Penalty Award. Arrangements remain incomplete at this time.

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