U.S. top court to review constitutionality of lethal injection

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to consider the constitutionality of lethal injections in a case that could affect the way inmates are executed around the country. The high court will hear a challenge from two inmates on death row in Kentucky -- Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr. -- who sued the state in 2004, claiming lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Until now, the justices had never agreed to consider the fundamental question of whether the mix of drugs used in Kentucky and elsewhere violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Read the story on Law.com:

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1190710978656

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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CHARLES JONES, ET AL. v. KITE/CUPP LEGENDS GOLF DEVELOPMENT CO., ET AL.This is a corrected opinion.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Brian Patrick Dunigan, Timothy L. Bowden, Goodlettsville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Jones.

Wendy Lynne Longmire, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kite/Cupp Legends Golf Development Co.

Judge: HARRIS

In this case, the plaintiff, Charles Jones, stepped onto a wooden bench while playing a round of golf at Vanderbilt Legends Club of Tennessee (Legends), a golf course owned by the defendant, Kite/Cupp Legends Golf Development Co. (Kite). The bench overturned and Mr. Jones fell sustaining significant injuries. Mr. Jones brought a premises liability suit against the golf course alleging that it was negligent by failing to have secured the bench to the concrete slab on which it was sitting or by failing to have warned players it was not so secured. Kite filed a motion for summary judgment which was granted by the trial court. We find there are genuine issues of material fact, and so we reverse.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/jonesc_CORR_092507.pdf


WILLIAM BISHOP LAND v. CAROLYN SUZANNE LAND

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee for the Appellant, Carolyn Suzanne Land.

Michelle M. Benjamin, Winchester, Tennessee for the Appellee, William Bishop Land.

Judge: SWINEY

William Bishop Land ("Husband") sued Carolyn Suzanne Land ("Wife") for divorce. The Trial Court entered a Final Decree of Divorce, inter alia, awarding the parties a divorce and finding and holding that it was in the best interests of the parties' minor child ("the Child") for Husband to be the primary residential parent. Wife appeals to this Court claiming that the Trial Court erred in awarding primary residential custody of the Child to Husband. Wife also argues that the Trial Court further erred by considering a report filed by the guardian ad litem and by refusing to consider post-trial facts. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/landw_092507.pdf


MARCILLO C. ANDERSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Vicki M. Carriker, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marcillo C. Anderson.

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

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Marcillo C. Anderson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. He argues that counsel was ineffective due to his failure to: (1) adequately communicate with him concerning his case; (2) provide him with discovery materials regarding his case; (3) adequately investigate the case; and (4) adequately present proof that he was acting in self-defense. After review, we affirm the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/andersonm_092507.pdf


MACARIO CHISM v. TONY PARKER, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Macario Chism, appellant, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; and David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Macario Chism, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court's dismissal of his 2007 petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In the petition, the petitioner challenged the validity of his multiple 1993 Shelby County convictions, which were the results of guilty pleas and included convictions of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated kidnapping. The petition alleged that the petitioner was free on bond on the charge of aggravated burglary when he was arrested for nine of the other offenses, and he claimed that the partial concurrent alignment of the resulting sentences rendered his judgments void. Because the petitioner failed to file a statutorily compliant petition, we affirm the circuit court's dismissal of the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/chismm_092507.pdf


RONALD DENNIS CRAFTON v. TONY PARKER, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ronald Dennis Crafton, Henning, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Ronald Dennis Crafton, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. He contends that his judgments for rape are void because the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and because he was sentenced in absentia. Because the petitioner has failed to assert a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief, the judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/craftonr_092507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOHN DUPREE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Marty M. McAfee and Vicki M. Carriker, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Dupree.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Patience Branham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, John Dupree, appeals the trial court's judgment denying any form of alternative sentence. The defendant argues that the trial court erred in failing to allow him to call witnesses during the sentencing hearing and in denying an alternative sentence. After careful review, we conclude that no reversible error occurred during the sentencing hearing and that the denial of alternative sentencing was proper. We affirm the judgment from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/dupreej_092507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID MILKEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory Thomas Carman, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Milken.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Horne Dwyer and Michelle L. Kimbril-Parks, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, David Milken, was convicted of first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony. He received concurrent sentences of life and twenty years. On appeal, he contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred in admitting certain photographs into evidence. We conclude that no error exists, and we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/milkend_092507.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Court resets Harbision execution date, Koch says it should be electric chair
The Tennessee Supreme Court today granted a state motion filed yesterday to postpone the execution of Edward Jerome Harbison, based on last week's decision by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger. In its order, the court reset Harbison's execution date for Jan. 9, 2008. In dissent, Justice William C. Koch Jr. wrote that "the General Assembly of Tennessee foresaw this precise circumstance in 1998 and again in 2000 when it determined that if execution by lethal injection was found to be unconstitutional for any reason, execution by electrocution would remain in full force and effect."

Chancellor upholds stay in Shelby Juvenile Judge case
Monday afternoon Chancery Court Judge Kenny Armstrong refused to lift the stay he put in place May 23, which prevents the Shelby County Commission from taking any action until a case for a second Juvenile Court judge is heard on appeal. The commissioners are still blocked from moving ahead with plans to appoint a second judge. The plan for a second judge is what precipitated Juvenile Judge Curtis Person to sue the commission. "This is not so much about the need for second judge, it's about how it was done," said Person's attorney, Lucian Pera. "If County Commission believes they need a second judge or six more judges as some have suggested they can go to the legislature."
WMCT-TV carried this story
Court to look at voter IDs, other issues
Along with agreeing to consider the constitutionality of lethal injections, the U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to add 17 new cases to its new Term's decision docket, including a pair of appeals on the constitutionality of requiring voters to show a photo ID before they may vote.
Find out what cases the court will consider on the Scotusblog
New AG faces hiring challenges
Now that President George W. Bush has nominated Michael Mukasey to succeed Alberto Gonzales as attorney general, the question is how much influence the retired federal judge will wield in filling the unusually high number of vacancies at the Department of Justice.
Read the Legal Times story on Law.com
Fowlkes to take oath Friday
John T. Fowlkes will take the oath of office as Shelby County's newest Criminal Court judge on Friday. He fills the vacancy created by the sudden resignation of Fred Axley and will serve out that term in Division 6. Two weeks into his new job, Fowlkes called for better funding of the county program that helps convicts adjust to life once they are released from prison. "It is deeply needed in this community," he told county commissioners. "There are just dozens and dozens of people who come through the courts who need it."
Read more about Fowlkes in the Memphis Daily News
Aggressive tracking system needed to stop escapee surge
In this opinion piece, a former chair of the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Parole advocates offering incentives to highly trained agents of the Department of Correction to track down and arrest escaped offenders, "modeled along the lines of the U.S. Marshals Service." In response to a recent report about the large number of escapees evading capture, Nevin Compton Trammell points out that "to have this many prisoners living out in the community creates a seriously flawed breach in the system of justice."
Read the column in the Tennessean
Violent crime increasing
The FBI says there was more violent crime nationwide last year than expected, the Associated Press reports. The Bureau says murders, robberies, rapes and other violent offenses are returning to the five-year peak hit in 2002. Rates had dropped dramatically after that year, but the latest data shows they're on the way up. There were an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes across the country last year -- a sharp jump from 2004. The FBI says it was a nearly two-point increase from the year before.
Read the FBI crime report here
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