Morford appointed acting deputy attorney general

President Bush today appointed Craig S. Morford, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, to be acting deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice. Morford, who has been serving in Nashville on an interim basis since September, will replace Paul J. McNulty who is leaving the department later this summer. Morford's departure has been expected since Nashville lawyer Ed Yarbrough was appointed last week to take over the U.S. Attorney's office in Nashville. The Nashville Post reports on the story.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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IN RE C.I.J.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David L. Stewart, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kasondra Johns

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Amy T. McConnell, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services

Judge: CAIN

This case concerns the termination of a mother's parental rights to her minor child, such child having been in the custody of the state since his birth in 2004. At trial, the Department of Children's Services introduced medical records regarding the 2002 premature delivery of a stillborn child to the mother. The medical records show that the mother tested positive for cocaine at the 2002 birth. The mother also tested positive for cocaine twice immediately before the birth of C.I.J. After a trial, the Juvenile Court terminated the mother's parental rights. The mother appealed the introduction of the medical records into evidence, as well as the termination of her parental rights. The Department maintained that such records were introduced strictly to refute the mother's testimony that she had never used cocaine. The mother argued that the Department did not follow the procedures set forth in Tenn. Code Ann. section 68-11-401 et seq., and therefore the records constituted inadmissible hearsay. We affirm the judgment of the Juvenile Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/cij_071807.pdf


JAMES W. CLARK, JR. v. SOUTH CENTRAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James W. Clark, Jr., appellant, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Kellena Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction, George Little, and Carolyn L. Jordan

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal by a prisoner challenges the dismissal of a petition for writ of certiorari. The petitioner was incarcerated in a correctional facility located in Wayne County, Tennessee. After a prison disciplinary board found him guilty of engaging in an unauthorized transaction, the inmate filed a petition for common-law writ of certiorari in the Chancery Court for Davidson County, seeking judicial review of the disciplinary proceedings. The trial court dismissed the petition without prejudice for failure to comply with Tennessee Code Annotated section 41-21-805, which requires inmates who proceed in forma pauperis to provide the court with specific information about the inmate's prior lawsuits. The inmate now appeals. We affirm on different grounds, finding that the inmate filed his petition in the wrong county and that the trial court therefore lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate this matter. The case is remanded for further proceedings as may be necessary.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/clarkj_071807.pdf


JOHNNY L. MCGOWAN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Johnny McGowan, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Arthur Crownover, II, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: CAIN

A maximum security inmate of the Department of Correction, in administrative segregation, filed suit for damages against the State of Tennessee relying on Tenn.Code Ann. sections 9-8-307(a)(1)(E) and 9-8-307(a)(1)(N). The State filed a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 12 Motion to Dismiss which was granted by the Claims Commission. Inmate appealed. The action of the Claims Commission is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/mcgowanj_071807.pdf


JAMES WILLIAM TAYLOR v. GEORGE LITTLE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James William Taylor, Only, Tennessee, pro se

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Arthur Crownover, II, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, George Little, Commissioner, Department of Correction

Judge: CAIN

Appellant and inmate in the Department of Correction filed a declaratory judgment action asserting various deficiencies in the judgment of the trial court convicting him of first degree murder and sentencing him to life in prison. He asserts that the murder conviction should not have been used in the calculation of his prison sentence. The trial court granted summary judgment to Defendant, George Little, the Commissioner of Correction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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


ROBERT EARL JOHNSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul Bruno, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Earl Johnson

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Dan Hamm and Lisa Naylor, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: THOMAS

In January 1998, a Davidson County grand jury indicted the petitioner, Robert Earl Johnson, on one count of first degree premeditated murder. In November 1998, following a jury trial in Davidson County Criminal Court, the petitioner was convicted on the sole count of the indictment and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This court affirmed the conviction on appeal. See State v. Robert Earl Johnson, No. M2000-01647-CCA-R3-CD, 2001 WL 1180524 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 8, 2001). In December 2002, the petitioner filed a pro se petition for post- conviction relief. Counsel was appointed in January 2003, and following another change in counsel, an amended petition was filed in December 2005. In July 2006, following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the petition. The petitioner appeals, alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his due process right to a fair trial was violated. After reviewing the record, we conclude that the trial court properly denied the petition and therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/johnsonr_071807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES KELLEY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brett B. Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Kelley

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Kirby May, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, James Kelley, was convicted of reckless driving, a Class B misdemeanor, at a bench trial in the Shelby County Criminal Court. He was given a six-month sentence, of which he was ordered to serve thirty days in the workhouse. He appeals, claiming the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/kelleyj_071807.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KELLOM TIMBS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for appellant, Kellom Timbs

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and William Copeland, Assistant District Attorney General, for appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: THOMAS

The defendant, Kellom Timbs, appeals as of right his conviction for reckless aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, a Class D felony, imposed as a result of his jury trial in Franklin County Circuit Court. He received a sentence of two years as a Range I, standard offender to be served on probation upon the completion of eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail. He argues that there is insufficient proof to support his conviction, that the trial court erred in denying judicial diversion and that the trial court erred in not granting him full probation. Upon a full consideration of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court as modified.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/timbsk_071807.pdf


Implementation of Property Tax Freeze

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-07-17

Opinion Number: 07-108

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-108.pdf

Applicability of Property Tax Freeze Act to Special School Districts

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-07-17

Opinion Number: 07-109

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-109.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Bakers will end legal battle
Jerry and Louise Baker said Tuesday they will stop all legal action to retain custody of 8-year-old Anna Mae He, a child they've raised since she was a month old. In a harshly worded 10-page statement, attorney Larry Parrish said He is a martyr for a judicial system that treats children as "chattel or prize animal[s]."
The Commercial Appeal recaps the stormy legal battle
Consumers eligible for predatory lending damages
Hundreds of Tennessee consumers are eligible for a share of $2.7 million in restitution from Ameriquest Mortgage Co. and its affiliates as part of a national predatory lending settlement. The agreement resolves allegations that Ameriquest and its affiliates misrepresented the terms of home loans.
The Memphis Daily News has more
Paper calls for DUI reform
In an editorial today, the Jackson Sun calls on the general assembly to make DUI reform a top priority when it reconvenes in January. Specifically, the paper says that legislators should adopt the recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on DUI including increasing drug and alcohol treatment, authorizing administrative license revocation and dealing more swiftly with repeat offenders.
Read the opinion piece
Editorial: more accountability for judges needed
In an editorial yesterday, the Lebanon Democrat called for increasing accountability standards for state judges, including requiring annual public disclosure of appeals filed; rate of appeals upheld or overturned; number of complaints filed; and how complaints were resolved. For criminal court judges, the paper also called for disclosure of specific sentencing statistics. Today, State Senator Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, indicated her support for increased accountability and her willingness to look at the issue next term. Read the editorial
Read Beavers' comments
New officers at Hawkins county bar
The Hawkins County Bar Association has named new leadership for the bar year: Mark S. Stapleton of Rogersville will serve as president; Allen Coup with May & Coup in Mount Carmel will serve as vice president; and Daniel Boyd with Boyd & Boyd in Rogersville will serve as secretary/treasurer.

Memphis officers may face excessive force charges
Three Memphis police officers accused of using excessive force against employees at a South Memphis hair salon will be investigated by county prosecutors for possible criminal charges.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Suit against FedEx claims discrimination
Four Arab-American men claim in a lawsuit filed against FedEx Corp. that their supervisors subjected them to religious and ethnic slurs, called them terrorists and gave them less lucrative delivery routes. The suit seeks damages similar to a discrimination case filed last year by drivers of Lebanese descent.
Learn more in the Memphis Daily News
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Free online legal research
Online legal research is now available free to all Tennessee Bar Association members through an agreement with Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm. The new TBA member benefit is national in scope and offers TBA members unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing -- all at no cost. Log in with your TBALink password.
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