Opinion FlashSeptember 08, 2003
Volume 9 Number 163
Following this index are summaries of each case, including its name, first paragraph, author's name, and the names of attorneys for the parties of each opinion.This Issue (IN THIS ORDER):
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Howard H. Vogel
ROBERT FRED JONES, JR., ET AL. v. VICK IDLES Court:TSC Attorneys: Jerry Shattuck, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vick Idles. Terrill L. Adkins, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Robert Fred Jones and Virginia Leigh Jones. Judge: ANDERSON First Paragraph: We granted this appeal to determine whether the chancellor correctly granted a new trial after finding that the jury's allocation of ninety percent of the fault to the plaintiffs and ten percent of the fault to the defendant was against the weight of the evidence and that the evidence supported "a defense verdict for both sides." A majority of the Court of Appeals concluded that the chancellor correctly granted a new trial on both the plaintiffs' claim and the defendant's counterclaim and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. After reviewing the record and applicable authority, we agree with the Court of Appeals and hold that the chancellor properly granted a new trial after finding that the jury's allocation of fault was against the weight of the evidence in his role as the thirteenth juror. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/jonesrobert.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT TAIT Court:TSC Attorneys: N. Craig Brigtsen, III, and Terry D. Smart, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Tait. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Kim R. Helper, Assistant Attorney General; and Stephen P. Jones, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee. Judge: BIRCH First Paragraph: We granted this interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure to determine whether, in a prosecution commenced by an arrest warrant for driving under the influence of an intoxicant, the resulting indictment may charge the defendant for offenses that can be inferred from the arrest warrant. The arrest warrant charged the appellant, Robert Tait, with driving under the influence of an intoxicant, and the grand jury indicted him for that offense (count one) and for driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of .10 percent or more (count two). The trial court dismissed the second count, finding that it described a new and additional charge and was, therefore, barred by the applicable one-year statute of limitations because its prosecution had been commenced more than one year after the conduct occurred. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed, concluding that the second count merely constituted an alternative theory for conviction and did not charge an offense distinct from that for which the appellant was initially charged. After reviewing the record and controlling legal authority, we hold that the language of the warrant sufficiently tolled the limitations period for count two. Therefore, we affirm the holding of the Court of Criminal Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/taitrobert.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEREMY WHITE Court:TSC Attorneys: Mark S. McDaniel, Jef Feibelman, and Susan M. Clark, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeremy White. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Lee Coffee and Alanda Dwyer, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: ANDERSON First Paragraph: We granted review to determine whether the Court of Criminal Appeals erred in concluding that defense counsel's dual roles as part-time assistant district attorney and defense counsel in this case created a conflict of interest requiring removal of counsel. The trial court found that defense counsel must be disqualified under the facts of this case because a "perceived" conflict of interest existed that could not be waived by the defendant. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed on the ground that an actual conflict of interest existed. After reviewing the record, we conclude that counsel's dual roles as prosecutor and defense counsel created an actual conflict of interest that required disqualification. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC/whitejeremy.wpd
SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Court:TSC - Rules http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TSC_Rules/certlist_0908.wpd
WANDA HOBSON v. THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE Court:TCA Attorneys: Michael H. Sneed, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Wanda Hobson. Ann O'Connell, Kellie Haas and John L. Kennedy, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Judge: FARMER First Paragraph: Plaintiff initiated this action alleging breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, and pursuant to the Governmental Tort Liability Act. The trial court dismissed the action for failure to state a claim. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/hobsonwanda.wpd
SHIRLEY P. SECREST v. TERA C. HAYNES, ET AL. Court:TCA Attorneys: C. Tim Tisher, Columbia, Tennessee, for the Appellant Shirley P. Secrest. Edwin Z. Kelly, Jr., Jasper, Tennessee, for the Appellees Tera C. Haynes and Terry Haynes. David W. Carter, Columbia, Tennessee, for the Appellee Kenneth W. Smith. Judge: SWINEY First Paragraph: The appeal involves a claim for property damages by Shirley Secrest ("Secrest" or "Plaintiff") against Kenneth Smith and Tera Haynes, who were driving separate vehicles involved in a multi- vehicle accident with a vehicle owned by Plaintiff. After a trial, the Trial Court concluded that while the driver of Plaintiff's vehicle was not at fault and that either one or both of the Defendants were at fault, the complaint nevertheless should be dismissed because: (1) Plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Kenneth Smith was negligent; and (2) Plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Tera Haynes was negligent. Plaintiff appeals, claiming the Trial Court was required to allocate fault to Smith and/or Haynes once it concluded that Plaintiff was not at fault and either one or both of the Defendants were at fault. We affirm. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCA/secrests.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES RUBEN CONYERS Court:TCCA Attorneys: William B. "Jake" Lockert, III, and Wade Bobo, Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Ruben Conyers. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Carey Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: OGLE First Paragraph: The appellant, James Ruben Conyers, was convicted by a jury in the Houston County Circuit Court of especially aggravated burglary, a Class B felony; especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony; and attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the appellant to an effective sentence of eighty years incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant raises numerous issues relating to the sufficiency of the evidence, the admission of evidence, the sufficiency of the indictment, the jury instructions, and sentencing. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we find no merit to the appellant's contentions. However, we recognize as plain error that the appellant's conviction for especially aggravated burglary was prohibited under Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-14- 404(d) (1997). Accordingly, we modify the conviction to aggravated burglary and reduce the appellant's sentence for this conviction to ten years incarceration, for a total effective sentence of eighty years. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/conyersjr.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SIPHACHANH SIPPY SYHALATH Court:TCCA Attorneys: Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee and Richard J. Brodhead, Lebanon, Tennessee (on appeal), G. Frank Lannom, Lebanon Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Siphachanh Sippy Syhalath. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; P. Robin Dixon, Jr., Assistant Attorney General; Howard Lee Chambers, District Attorney General Pro- tempore; and Douglas Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: WEDEMEYER First Paragraph: The Wilson County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant for one count of especially aggravated robbery, two counts of aggravated robbery, and two counts of aggravated assault. Following the trial court's denial of the Defendant's Motion to Suppress evidence, the Defendant pled guilty, reserving a certified question of law. The issues before us on appeal are: (1) whether the certified question of law is dispositive of this case; and, if so (2) whether police had reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant's vehicle; and (3) whether the police had probable cause to take the Defendant into custody and to search the Defendant's vehicle. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/syhalathss.wpd
STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RALPH LAMAR WILLIAMS ALIAS RALPH DANIELS Court:TCCA Attorneys: David R. Barrow, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ralph Lamar Williams alias Ralph Daniels. Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; P. Robin Dixon, Jr., Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Lila Jayne Statom, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee. Judge: TIPTON First Paragraph: A Hamilton County Criminal Court jury convicted the defendant, Ralph Lamar Williams, of four counts of aggravated rape, a Class A felony; one count of rape, a Class B felony; and one count of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced him as a violent offender to life without parole for each conviction. The defendant appeals, claiming that the prosecutor improperly suggested to the jury during closing argument that the defense bore the burden of establishing the defendant's innocence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court. http://www.tba.org/tba_files/TCCA/williamsralphlamar.wpd
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