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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Feb 28, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1: D. Scott Parsley and Joshua G. Strickland, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Otto Kent Simpkins.

Attorneys 2: Rose Palermo and Elizabeth G. Tannenbaum, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Edith Wenczl Simpkins.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

Husband appeals his conviction of fourteen counts of criminal contempt for violations of the Marital Dissolution Agreement and the imposition of fourteen consecutive ten-day sentences for a total of 140 days in jail. Husband also appeals an award of attorney’s fees to Wife. We affirm the award of attorney’s fees to Wife and the finding that Husband was guilty of fourteen separate counts of criminal contempt; however, we find the imposition of the maximum sentence was excessive and employ our authority under Thigpen v. Thigpen, 874 S.W.2d 51, 54 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1993) to modify the sentence. Applying contempt sentencing principles found in In re Sneed, 302 S.W.3d 825 (Tenn. 2010) and sentencing considerations under Tennessee Code Annotated § 40-35-103 and 115(b), the sentences for twelve of the counts are reduced to four (4) days each, which will run consecutive to each other, the sentences for the two remaining counts are reduced to one (1) day each, which will run concurrent to each other but consecutive to the other twelve counts for an effective sentence of forty-nine (49) days. We also award Wife her reasonable attorney’s fees on appeal pursuant to the enforcement provision contained in the parties’ marital dissolution agreement.