Stafford is Trial Judge of the Year

Chancellor J. Steven Stafford of the 29th Judicial District in Dyersburg has been named Trial Judge of the Year by members of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Stafford has served in the position since 1993. He will receive his award at a dinner on Aug. 17 in Nashville. At that time, the organization also will present a lifetime achievement award to retired Tennessee Supreme Court Justice E. Riley Anderson.

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/geninfo/PRESSREL/2007/073pr.htm

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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PAUL RICHARD (DICK) DEAN and wife, VICKI MAE DEAN, v. ESTATE OF EVA STANLEY and ESTATE OF CHARLES ALLEN STANLEY, CHARLES ALLEN STANLEY CONSERVATORSHIP

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Harold G. Jeffers, Oneida, Tennessee, for appellants.

Max Huff, Oneida, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

In these estate cases, the Trial Court construed the Will of Eva Stanley and ordered her house sold and the proceeds distributed intestate. He denied executrix fees from her Estate for mishandling the Estate, but awarded claims for the conservators caring for the ward, Charles Allen Stanley. On appeal, we reverse the construction of the Will by the Trial Court, affirm the Trial Court on denying executrix fees, but reverse the Trial Court's awarding fees for the conservators' care of the ward.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/deanp_072507.pdf


KAHN DOCKERY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kahn Dockery.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Kenneth E. Douthat, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a claim for damages against the State of Tennessee filed by a former employee of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services who was fired for sexually abusing three minors. After the Tennessee Claims Commission dismissed the claim, the employee erroneously filed a notice of appeal with the appellate court clerk rather than with the clerk of the Claims Commission and did not cure this error within thirty days after the entry of the order being appealed. After this court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, the employee filed a Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(1) petition with the Claims Commission seeking re-entry of its order dismissing his claim. The Commission declined to grant the employee relief under Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(1), and the employee appealed. We have determined that the employee has not demonstrated extraordinary circumstances warranting relief from the order dismissing his claim and, therefore, that the Claims Commission did not err by declining to grant him Tenn. R. Civ. P. 60.02(1) relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/dockeryk_072507.pdf


IN RE GAVEN R.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel, for the appellant, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

Jeff McCullough, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem.

Brad W. Hornsby and Jonathan L. Miley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, William R.

Monisa J., Not Represented on Appeal.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the custody rights of the biological parents of a six-month-old infant with multiple unexplained fractures. The Tennessee Department of Children's Services filed a petition in the Rutherford County Juvenile Court seeking to have the child declared dependent and neglected on the ground that he had been physically abused by his parents. Following a hearing, the juvenile court found that the child was dependent and neglected because of his parents' physical abuse and placed the child in the custody of the Department. The parents perfected an appeal to the Circuit Court for Rutherford County. After a three-day bench trial, the trial court determined that the child was dependent and neglected but explicitly declined to find that the parents had committed severe child abuse. Even though both the parents and the Department filed notices of appeal, only the Department has taken issue with the trial court's order. The Department insists that the record contains clear and convincing evidence substantiating its claim that the child's parents committed severe child abuse. We have carefully reviewed the record and have determined that the Department failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the biological parents committed severe child abuse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/gavenr_072507.pdf


LISA DAWN GREEN and husband RONALD KEITH GREEN, minor children, Dustin Dillard Green, Hunter Green, and Kyra Green, v. VICKI RENEE JOHNSON, TABITHA CONNOR, CARROLL BLANKENSHIP, CHAD MATTHEW CORCORAN, Individually and d/b/a THE PUB, and STUART JASON MYERS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

C. Edward Daniel, and Annie S. Duncan, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant.

Dallas T. Reynolds, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee.

Judge: FRANKS

Plaintiff, as a pedestrian, was struck by a motor vehicle operated by an uninsured driver and owner. She obtained a Judgment against the uninsured driver and owner for damages and entered into a settlement with a dram shop owner for the injuries sustained in an amount in excess of $50,000.00. Her automobile liability insurance carrier afforded her with $50,000.00 of uninsured motorist coverage and filed a Motion for Summary Judgment which the Trial Court sustained on the basis of Tenn. Code Ann. section 56-7-1205 which permits the insurer to offset its liability to the insured by whatever amount of money the insured may receive from whatever source as damages. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/greenl_072507.pdf


RONALD HOWSE v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Ronald C. Howse, pro se.

Robert Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Riley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Correction.

Judge: CAIN

In 1982, Appellant prisoner was sentenced to one twenty-five year determinate sentence and four five-to-ten-year indeterminate sentences, to run consecutively. In 2003, Appellant filed a declaratory judgment action in the Davidson County Chancery Court, alleging that he had been wrongfully denied the possibility of custodial parole. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Appellee the Tennessee Department of Correction. Appellant appeals such ruling. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/howser_072507.pdf


JOHN C. KERSEY, SR. v. TRUMAN JONES, ET A

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John C. Kersey, Sr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, pro se Appellant.

D. Randall Mantooth, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Truman Jones and Regina Nelson.

Judge: LEE

In this Public Records Act case, Mr. Kersey attempted to view the personnel file of a deputy at the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department by presenting a written request to one of three custodians of the department's records. The custodian did not allow Mr. Kersey to inspect the file, saying it was the policy of the Sheriff's Department for another employee, who was unavailable, to review any records requests. Mr. Kersey left the Sheriff's Department without having been allowed to view the file, nor with any indication that he would ever be permitted to do so. One week later, Mr. Kersey filed suit against the sheriff and the custodian who had refused him access to the personnel records he requested. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Defendants. On appeal, we find that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment, as there are material questions of fact regarding whether the Defendants violated the Public Records Act. Therefore, we vacate and remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/kerseyj_072507.pdf


JAMES LEVERETTE v. WILLIAM DALTON ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James Leverette, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

No attorney on record.

Judge: KOCH

This is an appeal from the dismissal of a prisoner's complaint for failure to remit the required filing fee. After being denied parole, the prisoner filed a petition in the Circuit Court for Davidson County seeking judicial review of the denial of parole. In accordance with a statutory mandate, the prisoner submitted a certified copy of his inmate trust account for a determination of the partial filing fee that would be required before his claim could proceed. However, the trial court dismissed the petition because the prisoner failed to remit any portion of the required fee. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/leverettej_072507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE, DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES, v. P.W.K., IN RE: J.B.K. DOB: 11/25/02

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

J. Wesley Edens, Bristol, Tennessee, for appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Lauren S. Lamberth, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee.

Kristen Rudder Morrell, Guardian Ad Litem, Bristol, Tennessee.

Judge: FRANKS

The parties stipulated statutory grounds for termination of parental rights, and the Trial Court found that it was in the child's best interest that the father's parental rights be terminated. On appeal, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/pwk_072507.pdf


JAMES LESTER QUALLS v. RANDY CAMP, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Eugenie B. Whitesell, Senior Counsel, for the Appellants, Randy Camp, in his official capacity as Commissioner of Personnel and Executive Secretary of the Civil Service Commission, and Quentin White, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Larry D. Woods, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, James Lester Qualls.

Judge: LEE

In this action brought under the Administrative Procedures Act, an employee of the Department of Corrections filed a grievance challenging the discipline imposed upon him for an employment infraction as unwarranted and unduly severe. The Civil Service Commission, reviewing the Administrative Law Judge's decision, entered an order containing no findings of fact, conclusions of law, or policy reasons supporting its decision, and upon the employee's appeal to the Chancery Court, the Chancellor remanded the case to the Commission with instructions to enter an order in compliance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 4-5-314. The sole issue on appeal is whether the Chancery Court erred in awarding the employee an attorney's fee of $14,920 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1988. Finding no abuse of discretion, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/quallsj_072507.pdf


MOZELLE SMITH v. RAYMOND BOWMAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Charles G. Blackard, III and Barry L. Gardner, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mozelle Smith.

Rosemary E. Phillips, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Raymond Bowman.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves a biological father's obligation to pay child support for a non-marital child who has now reached the age of majority. During her youth, the child lived with each parent at different times, and even though the issues of custody and support were before the Davidson County Juvenile Court, they were never fully or finally resolved. Three weeks before the child's eighteenth birthday, the mother filed a petition in the juvenile court seeking to change custody and to recover retroactive child support. A referee granted the mother a $25,200.50 judgment against the father, but the juvenile judge set the judgment aside and dismissed the mother's petition. The mother appealed. We have determined that the father is liable only for the child support that accrued after the mother filed her petition seeking to change custody and to recover child support.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/smithm_072507.pdf


MICHAEL MILTON VIA v. TERESA L. VIA

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jean N. Crowe, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teresa L. Via.

Appellee not represented on appeal.

Judge: CAIN

Husband and Wife were married in 1984. Husband served in the military for the duration of the marriage, retiring in 1995. The parties separated in 1998, and Husband filed for divorce in 2004. Wife, after being involved in a car accident several years earlier, receives Supplemental Security Income. The trial court awarded child support to Husband, the primary caretaker of the parties' minor child, based on Wife's potential earning capacity. Further, the trial court, by way of fairly convoluted calculations, awarded Wife only 12.5 percent of Husband's military pension. Wife appeals. We reverse the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/viam_072507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM T. CARTER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, Shelby County Public Defender; and Karen Massey, Assistant Public Defender (at trial); and Tony N. Brayton, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal), for the Appellant, William T. Carter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and James Lammey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: Witt

A Shelby County jury convicted the defendant, William T. Carter, of premeditated first-degree murder, see T.C.A. section 39-13-202(a)(1) (2006), felony murder, see id. section 39-13-202(a)(2), and aggravated robbery, see id. section 39-13-402(a)(2). On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence regarding all three convictions. He also asserts that the trial court erred in finding that he qualified as a dangerous offender regarding the aggravated robbery conviction and that the trial court erred in ordering him to serve the aggravated robbery sentence consecutively to his first-degree murder conviction. We affirm the judgments of the trial court; however, we remand for the execution of a proper merger of the first degree murder findings of guilt.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/carterw_072507.pdf


ANTHONY KESHUN GOODS v. TONY PARKER, Warden
With Dissenting Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the Appellant, State of Tennessee.

Patrick R. McGill, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Anthony Keshun Goods.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The State appeals the habeas court's grant of a petition for habeas corpus relief filed by the Petitioner, Anthony Keshun Goods. The Petitioner alleged in his petition that his sentence was illegal because he was sentenced to concurrent terms when the law required him to be sentenced to consecutive terms. On appeal, the State contends the statutory requirement of consecutive sentences does not apply to the Petitioner, his petition is not yet ripe, and the remedy set out by the habeas court is improper. Finding no error in the judgment of the habeas court, we affirm the grant of habeas corpus relief and remand the case to the Shelby County Criminal Court for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/goodsa_072507.pdf

HAYES DISSENTING
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/goodsa_dis_072507.pdf


DENNIS JARRETT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dennis Jarrett, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe VanDyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The petitioner, Dennis Jarrett, filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging the ineffective assistance of counsel as grounds for relief. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition as time-barred. The petitioner appeals the dismissal, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/jarrettd_072507.pdf


LARRY JOHNSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Scot Bearup, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Larry Johnson, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to request an instruction on second-degree murder as a lesser-included offense of premeditated first-degree murder and did not raise the trial court's failure to give such instruction as an issue in the motion for new trial. Following our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/johnsonl_072507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. GUY MARTIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Melanie E. Taylor, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Guy Martin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and David Pritchard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Guy Martin, was found guilty by a jury of aggravated robbery and intentionally evading arrest in a motor vehicle. As a result, the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of nine years. Following the denial of a motion for new trial, Appellant initiated this appeal. On appeal, Appellant argues that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. As part of his argument that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions, Appellant challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress the photographic lineup as unduly suggestive. Because the photographic lineup was not unduly suggestive and there was evidence presented from which a rational juror could conclude that Appellant committed aggravated robbery and intentionally evaded arrest in a motor vehicle, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/marting_072507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JUSTIN MATHIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Coleman W. Garrett and William Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Justin Mathis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Reginald Henderson and Valerie Smith, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Shelby County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellant, Justin Mathis, of first degree premeditated murder, and the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment. On appeal, the appellant claims that (1) the trial court erred by allowing an expert to testify about the appellant's potential gang membership; (2) the trial court erred by allowing the State to introduce into evidence a picture of a gun stored in a witnesses' cellular telephone; (3) the trial court erred by allowing into evidence a photograph of the victim's heart; (4) the trial court erred by instructing the jury on criminal responsibility for the conduct of another; and (5) the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/mathisj_072507.pdf


RICKEY WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry M. Sargent, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rickey Williams.

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

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Rickey Williams, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction for first degree premeditated murder and resulting life sentence. On appeal, he contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that the trial court gave an erroneous jury instruction on the definition of 'knowing." Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/williamsr_072507.pdf


Dissemination of Information by Governmental Agencies in Languages Other than English

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2007-07-25

Opinion Number: 07-112

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2007/ag_07-112.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Passages
Correction
Politics
TBA Member Services

Legal News
House Judiciary approves contempt citations
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines today to issue contempt citations to White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House legal counselor Harriet Miers. Both are being targeted for failure to comply with subpoenas related to the firings of federal prosecutors.
Murfreesboro Daily has the AP story
Court of appeals selection process gets underway
The Judicial Selection Commission will meet on July 31 in Nashville to begin the process of filling a vacancy on the Court of Appeals, middle division. A public hearing will be held at the downtown Sheraton Hotel beginning at 10 a.m. Twenty-two candidates are vying for the nomination.
Visit the AOC's website for more
UT must give student names to recording industry
Federal Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton has approved the recording industry's request to subpoena the identities of 33 University of Tennessee students suspected of illegal file sharing, the News Sentinel reported this afternoon.

News Sentinel receives threatening letter
On July 3, the Knoxville News Sentinel received a threatening letter identical to letters received by three other papers. Now the FBI wants to fingerprint reporters and editors. The paper said it will cooperate but won't force anyone to be fingerprinted.
Read more
Schools to stop drug testing
Tennessee students have been tested for drugs since 1986, but an AG opinion issued this month finds that random drug testing violates a state law that requires reasonable suspicion of drug use before testing. The opinion doesn't bar schools from drug testing, but it could leave them open to court challenges, according to the state board of education's legal counsel. Download the opinion
Learn more in the News Sentinel
Ford sues landlord
Former Memphis City Council member Edmund Ford is suing Lynley Churchwell, the landlord of his mortuary business, to stop her from evicting him. Churchwell's husband was indicted earlier this month for lying to a grand jury about whether Ford received a break on his monthly rent in return for helping him secure special-use permits from the city.
The Memphis Daily News has more
Two bars name new officers
The Cumberland County Bar Association has chosen Susan Hyder with Bean Smith Burnett Patton in Crossville as its president for the 2007-2008 bar year. In Williamson County, new bar officers have been named as well. Mark Puryear with Puryear Newman & Morton PLLC in Franklin steps into the president's role, while Karen Beyke, attorney for the city of Franklin, becomes vice president and president-elect. Jack Welch, with the Franklin firm of Sidwell & Barrett, assumes the role of secretary and Kim Helper, assistant district attorney for the 21st Judicial District, takes on the job of treasurer.

Legislative News
Tennessee Waltz has changed capital culture
A comprehensive ethics law passed in the wake of the Tennessee Waltz investigation has done much to change the atmosphere in the state capital, lawmakers say. One in particular believes the new culture will prompt colleagues to not "look the other way" when they see unethical conduct in the future.
The Memphis Daily News looks at the impact of the case
Passages
Prisoner advocate Harmon Wray dead at 60
Harmon Wray died July 24 from stroke complications. His ministry with Nashville's Edgehill United Methodist Church, the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church and Vanderbilt University provided inspiration for those who knew and loved him. For many years, Wray was a volunteer for the Visitor On Death Row program, which fostered friendships between the public and those on death row. Visitation will be Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Edgehill United Methodist Church. A memorial service will also be held at the church on Saturday at 10 a.m. Condolences may be sent to: Judy Parks, 1109 Graybar Lane, Nashville, TN 37204.
Read more about Wray in the City Paper
Correction
The July 24 edition of TBA Today incorrectly stated the home state of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specter represents the state of Pennsylvania.

Politics
Tennesseans give $1 million to presidential campaigns
Tennesseans have given more than $1 million to presidential candidates according to disclosure reports filed through July 15. And some officials say that figure is likely to double once Fred Thompson files a campaign disclosure report.
The Daily News looks at where the money is going
Ford Jr. hosts DLC in Nashville
Harold Ford Jr., head of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), is bringing the group to Nashville this week for a policy conference. But despite suggestions to the contrary, no major presidential candidates are planning to attend. The Memphis Daily News reports on the conference and what pundits are saying about the absence of presidential hopefuls.
Read more
TBA Member Services
Student loans at low rates through SunTrust
The TBA and SunTrust Bank now have a Partnership Program to help alleviate the burden of student loans. Members and their families can consolidate their federal student loans at a special low fixed rate - right now as low as 5.375 percent. In addition, those with consolidation loans greater than $10,000 are eligible to reduce their interest rate by another 1.5 percent for on-time payments and automatic debit payments.
Learn more

 
 
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