Bredesen orders moratorium on executions

Gov. Phil Bredesen ordered a three-month moratorium on executions in Tennessee this afternoon, issuing orders to state Correction Commissioner George Little to make a comprehensive review of the step-by-step procedures for carrying out both death by lethal injection and the electric chair and use any and all means necessary to develop new protocols. The goal is to ensure both consistency and state accountability in carrying out executions. The order also grants reprieves until May 2 to four death row inmates whose executions were scheduled before May 2. Read the governor's statement:

http://www.tennesseeanytime.org/governor/viewArticleContent.do?id=969

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

IN RE: ESTATE OF CORINNE E. BURG

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James S. Stephens, Manchester, Tennessee for the Appellants, George Daniel Burg and Edward Allen Burg.

Mark Stewart, Winchester, Tennessee for the Appellee, Joe David McBee.

Judge: SWINEY

Joe David McBee ("Defendant") filed a petition seeking to have the August 4, 1997 Last Will and Testament of Corrine E. Burg ("the Will") admitted to probate. The General Sessions Court of Franklin County ("General Sessions Court") entered an order admitting the Will to probate. George Daniel Burg and Edward Allen Burg ("Plaintiffs") filed a petition seeking to have the Will set aside alleging, in part, that the Will was the product of fraud and undue influence exerted upon Corrine E. Burg by Defendant. The General Sessions Court entered an order certifying the issues relating to the validity of the Will to the Circuit Court for Franklin County ("Circuit Court") for trial. Plaintiffs also filed a petition in the Chancery Court for Franklin County ("Chancery Court") seeking an accounting and the return of assets that Defendant allegedly transferred to himself from Ms. Burg's accounts prior to Ms. Burg's death. The Chancery Court case was consolidated with the Circuit Court case and the consolidated case was tried in Circuit Court. After trial, the Circuit Court entered an order finding and holding, inter alia, that no confidential relationship existed and, in the alternative, that Defendant had rebutted the presumption of undue influence. The Circuit Court dismissed Plaintiffs' petition. Plaintiffs appeal to this Court. We reverse as to the Circuit Court's decision that no confidential relationship existed, and affirm the judgment in all other respects including that Defendant rebutted the presumption of undue influence.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/burgg_020107.pdf


LAURA JOHNSON v. CLOVER BOTTOM DEVELOPMENT CENTER, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Rebecca T. Garland, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Laura Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Steven B. McCloud, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Clover Bottom Development Center, and State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities.

Judge: CLEMENT

An employee of Clover Bottom Development Center appeals the summary dismissal of her action under the Tennessee Handicap Act. The employee alleged she was the victim of discrimination due to her medical limitations. The trial court dismissed the action finding the employee failed to sshe sustained an adverse employment action, an essential element of her claim. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/johnsonl_020107.pdf


SATURN CORPORATION v. RUTH JOHNSON, COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE FOR THE STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Brad H. Buchanan, Assistant Attorney General, for the Department of Revenue for the State of Tennessee.

Frank N. Stockdale Carney and Katharine A. Jungkind, Memphis, Tennessee; and James E. Gaylord and Paul D. Krivacka, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Saturn Corporation.

Judge: CLEMENT

The Department of Revenue appeals the Chancellor's ruling that the "surcharge" imposed on self- insured employers by Tenn. Code Ann. Section 56-4-207(a) on deemed workers' compensation premiums is part of a premium tax for purposes of the tax credit provided pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. Section 56-4-217(a). The Department contends the surcharge is not a tax but a "fee" earmarked for the administration of the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Agency and may not be applied as a credit towards franchise and excise tax liabilities. Finding the surcharge to be a fee rather than a premium tax, we reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/saturncorp_020107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICKY RONALD CRAWFORD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Wallace, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Ronald Crawford.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Barry Staubus and Robert H. Montgomery, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Sullivan County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellant, Ricky Ronald Crawford, of two counts of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court sentenced him to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment. In this appeal, the appellant claims that the trial court erred by (1) allowing a State witness to testify about the appellant's extramarital affair, (2) not granting the appellant's motion to suppress his statements to police, and (3) ordering consecutive sentencing. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by allowing the jury to hear about the appellant's extramarital affair but that the error was harmless and affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/crawfordr_020107.pdf


JESSE LANE DABBS v. JACK MORGAN, WARDEN and the STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joe H. Walker and Walter B. Johnson, II, Office of the Public Defender for the Ninth Judicial District, for the appellant, Jesse Lane Dabbs.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; J. Scott McCluen, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Jesse Lane Dabbs, appeals from the order denying his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The petition fails to establish a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the state's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/dabbsj_020107.pdf


JOSEPH JACKSON, Jr., v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph Jackson, Jr., Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; David N. Pritchard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Joseph Jackson, Jr., of two counts of attempted first degree murder, and the trial judge imposed two twenty-year sentences to be served concurrently. The Petitioner filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus relief, which was dismissed by the habeas court without a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends he could not have been convicted for these two criminal attempts under statutory law and the underlying judgment is therefore illegal and void. Finding no reversible error exists, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/jacksonj_020107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEVARIAS MANDRELL LOCKE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Mark C. Scruggs, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Devarias Mandrell Locke.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Ronald L. Davis, District Attorney General; and Sean Duddy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Pursuant to a bench trial in the Williamson County Circuit Court, the appellant, Devarias Mandrell Locke, was found guilty of two counts of selling .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance. On appeal, the appellant challenges the cooperating individual's "perjury" during the bench trial and the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/locked_020107.pdf


THOMAS WAYNE OVERBAY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gene Gilmer Scott, Jr., Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Thomas Wayne Overbay.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and James Franklin Goodwin, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Thomas Wayne Overbay, appeals from the Sullivan County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Overbay is presently serving an effective forty-eight-year sentence in the Department of Correction for convictions of four counts of aggravated sexual battery and ten counts of rape of a child. In this post-conviction action, the petitioner claims that he was not afforded the effective assistance of counsel in the conviction proceedings. Upon appellate review, we conclude the lower court did not err in denying post-conviction relief and affirm its judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/overbayt_020107.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHEIL ELLSWORTH SHEPPARD AKA

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William K. Cather (at trial and on appeal) and Shelly Thompson (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Micheil Ellsworth Sheppard aka Michael E. Sheppard.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, District Attorney General; and Howard L. Chambers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Micheil Ellsworth Sheppard, was convicted of one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated robbery, one count of theft by possession, and three counts of aggravated rape. He received a total effective sentence of 120 years. On appeal, the defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion to strike certain jurors for cause; (2) whether the evidence was sufficient to support one of his convictions of aggravated rape; and (3) whether the trial court imposed a disproportionate and unduly harsh sentence. Following our review, we affirm the defendant's convictions and sentences.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/sheppardm_020107.pdf


Offenses Against Animals: Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-201, et. seq.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-01-31

Opinion Number: 07-11

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-11.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Knox Term Limits
Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Knox Term Limits
Commissioner appoints 12; critics blast process
The Knox County Commission appointed 12 new county officeholders Wednesday in a meeting punctuated by numerous backroom recesses, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. The commission, thanks to a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling upholding the Knox County Charter and its term limits, was charged with appointing the sheriff, trustee, county clerk, register of deeds and eight commissioners.
Read more
Newspaper criticizes 'backroom deals'
The Knoxville News Sentinel condemns the process used by the Knox County Commission for filling eight commission seats and four countywide offices, calling the resulting government entity "a members-only club."
Read the editorial
Lawsuit seeks to invalidate appointments just made
Two hours after the Knox County Commission swore in the last of 12 replacements for outgoing officeholders, Knoxville lawyer Herbert S. Moncier filed a lawsuit on behalf of four plaintiffs seeking to nullify the appointments. A complaint filed in Knox County Chancery Court alleges that commissioners violated the state's Open Meetings Act, otherwise known as the Sunshine Law.
The News Sentinel has more
Impact may spread beyond Knox County
Shelby County officials are starting to wonder about the potential for sweeping changes to its county government on the heels of a recent state Supreme Court ruling. The high court ruling dealt with Knox County's term-limits provision, which was upheld. But the court also found that Knox County's charter -- its governing document since 1990 -- was flawed, making the government "de facto." That charter was modeled after Shelby County's charter.
Read what they're saying in the Commercial Appeal
Legal News
Appalachia vote fraud defendants sentenced
Circuit Judge Tammy McElyea on Wednesday slashed by a full year the time a retired mail carrier will have to serve in jail and sentenced former Appalachia Mayor Ben Cooper to two years behind bars in a series of hearings that signaled the final curtain for the 2004 Appalachia election fraud scandal. The changes in the sentences went against what a jury had already decided. "I may never do this again," McElyea said of deviating from a jury's recommendations, but she said the case cried out for a semblance of balance compared to more culpable defendants.
The Kingsport Times-News has the story
Adams & Reese launches firm-wide pro bono service
Law firm Adams & Reese is requiring all of its attorneys to conduct 10 hours of free legal work per year for 2007, a requirement that will increase to 20 hours the next year. The firm kicked off the initiative by announcing a partnership with Appleseed, a network of 17 public interest law centers across the country.
The Memphis Business Journal has the story
New bar presidents named
A number of local bar associations in the state have named leaders for the coming year. New presidents include Matthew C. Haralson, Blount County Bar Association; Robert R. Asbury, Campbell County Bar Association; Craig Northcott, Coffee County Bar Association; Timothy A. Davis, Fifteenth Judicial District; Ted Crozier, Montgomery County Bar Association;Britton Jared, Putnam County Bar Association; William Kroeger, Robertson County Bar Association; Mitchell Keith Siskin, Rutherford/Cannon County Bar Association; and Bryan Bradley Martin, Washington County Bar Association. For a complete list of officers elected and contact information for each,
visit the TBA's resource page
Justice to release secret documents on spy program
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Wednesday he will turn over secret documents detailing the government's domestic spying program, ending a two-week standoff with the Senate Judiciary Committee over surveillance targeting terror suspects, the Associated Press reports. President Bush secretly authorized the spying program after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, allowing the National Security Agency to bypass court review and conduct domestic surveillance of people suspected of links to terrorism. The program, which a federal judge last August declared unconstitutional, monitors phone calls and e-mails between the United States and other countries when such a link is suspected.
The News Sentinel has more
New interactive civil rights exhibit unveiled
In 2004, an oral history project called "Voices of the Civil Rights" launched a 40-city tour across 22 states to record the stories of thousands of ordinary folks involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The end result of that project is now a permanant part of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
Find out more from WREG
Legislative News
Bill aims to rename building for Horton
Washington D.C.'s downtown federal building housing government agencies and the U.S. District Courts will be renamed in memory of Judge Odell Horton if a bill introduced Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., is signed into law. Horton, who died last February at 77, was the first black federal district judge in Memphis when he was sworn in in 1980 after his nomination by President Carter. Cohen's bill, his first solo legislative effort, would add Horton's name to the building named for the late longtime Memphis Congressman Clifford Davis, who died in 1970.
Read about it in the Commercial Appeal
Stay current on legislation with TBA updates
With legislators focused on choosing leaders and reorganizing, few bill have been introduced so far this session. The TBA watch and action lists, however, already carry some items of note.
Check out TBA legislative updates
TBA Member Services
The disciplinary process explained; now all in one place
Learn about the attorney disciplinary process in Tennessee through a 14-month series of Tennessee Bar Journal articles now available in one convenient online location. Writer Stacey Shrader outlines the details of disbarments, suspensions, censures, disability inactive status, admonitions, reprimands, reciprocal discipline and more in this primer on attorney discipline.
Access the articles here

 
 
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