Free seminars will help improve online research skills

The Tennessee Bar Association and Fastcase will be offering two online webinars in October to help you boost your online legal research skills. Both are free and are accredited for one-hour of E&P CLE credit. The webinars will give you an overview of how Fastcase works and how you can use it more effectively in your practice. All TBA members have free access to Fastcase and can use it to research court opinions from all 50 states, the U.S. Supreme Court and all Federal Courts of Appeal, as well as statutes, regulations, constitutions, and court rules from all 50 states and from federal sources. Both courses begin at noon central/1 p.m. eastern.

Register for the Oct. 16 seminar

Register for the Oct. 23 seminar
TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - TN Court of Appeals
08 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

GRETA DENISE SMITH (AUSTIN) v. RICKY ALLAN SMITH

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Terry L. Wood, Corinth, Mississippi, for the appellant, Greta Smith Austin.

Lloyd R. Tatum, Henderson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ricky Allan Smith.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a petition for past due child support. When the parties divorced in 1993, the mother was designated as the primary residential parent of the child, and the father was ordered to pay child support "directly to" the mother. In 1998, the mother remarried. From that point forward, the father made his child support checks payable to the child, not to the mother. Nevertheless, the mother endorsed the checks, deposited them into the same bank account as she had before, and maintained control over the use of the funds. Years later, in 2005, the father filed a petition to modify custody, seeking to be designated as primary residential parent. The mother filed a counterclaim for child support arrearages, claiming that the father had not made proper payments as required under the divorce decree since 1998, and that he should not receive credit for the child support checks that were made payable to the child. After a hearing, the trial court gave the father credit for the child support checks. The trial court reasoned that, although the checks were made payable to the child, the money remained in the mother's control and she treated it as her own. The mother now appeals. We affirm, concluding that the father should receive credit for the disputed payments under the circumstances presented.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/austing_100307.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES DANIEL BIRD, II

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry Dillow, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Daniel Bird, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Joseph E. Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, James Daniel Bird, II, was convicted in April of 2006 of two counts of aggravated rape, and one count each of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and aggravated burglary. The defendant was sentenced consecutively on each charge for a total effective sentence of 111 years. On appeal, the defendant raised two issues for review: (1) whether the evidence contained in the record was sufficient as a matter of law to sustain the convictions; and (2) whether the trial court erred by enhancing the defendant's sentences above the minimum within each range of each count and by setting each sentence to run consecutively. Upon review of the full record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/birdj_100307.pdf


CHRISTOPHER BROWN v. TONY PARKER, WARDEN (STATE OF TENNESSEE)

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Christopher Brown, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael Moore, Solicitor General; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The Petitioner, Christopher Brown, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Petitioner has failed to allege any ground that would render the judgments of conviction void. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/brownc_100307.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DONTAE LAMONT BROWN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kari I. Weber and Julie K. Pillow, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dontae Lamont Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Tracey Anne Brewer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Lauderdale County Circuit Court jury convicted the appellant, Dontae Lamont Brown, of attempted first degree murder and aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced him to thirty-two years and eight years, respectively, and merged the convictions. On appeal, the appellant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions, (2) the trial court erred by giving the jury a flight instruction, and (3) the trial court improperly enhanced his sentences. Based upon the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the jury's guilty verdicts and the appellant's thirty-two-year sentence for attempted murder. However, given that the trial court merged the aggravated assault conviction into the attempted murder conviction, the court should have entered only one judgment of conviction. Therefore, we remand the case for the trial court to enter a single judgment reflecting the merger of the convictions.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/brownd_100307.pdf


CURTIS BUFORD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John B. Curtis, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Curtis Buford.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Curtis Buford, was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court of aggravated robbery, and he received a sentence of twenty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his counsel was ineffective. The post-conviction court denied the petition, and the petitioner now appeals. 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/bufordc_100307.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTONIO CURRIE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Wilson Jones, Shelby County Public Defender; Tony N. Brayton, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Robert Felkner, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Antonio Currie.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Thomas Hoover and Marianne Bell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Antonio Currie, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, a Class C felony, and sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to seven years in the county workhouse. On appeal, he argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court erred in denying probation. Based on our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/curriea_100307.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CALVIN RENARD STEEL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gary F. Antrican, District Public Defender, and David S. Stockton, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and D. Michael Dunavant, Ripley, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Calvin Renard Steel.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; and Tracey Anne Brewer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The defendant, Calvin Renard Steel, was convicted by a Lauderdale County jury of possession with the intent to deliver one-half gram or more of cocaine, a Class B felony, and received a sentence of twelve years as a Range II, multiple offender. In this appeal, he contends that the evidence was not sufficient to support his conviction and that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence. We conclude that no error exists, and we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/steelc_100307.pdf


ALLEN JEAN STEPHENS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Allen Jean Stephens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and Kevin McAlpin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Weakley County Circuit Court jury convicted the petitioner, Allen Jean Stephens, of possession of more than one-half gram of cocaine with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range III, persistent offender to an effective sentence of twenty- three years in confinement. This court affirmed the petitioner's convictions. See State v. Allen Jean Stephens, No. M2004-00531-CCA-R3-CD, 2005 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 668 (Jackson, June 23, 2005), perm. to appeal denied, (Tenn. 2005). Subsequently, the petitioner filed a petition for post- conviction relief, and the post-conviction court denied the petition after an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, the petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial attorney failed to argue at his pretrial suppression hearing that no probable cause existed for a search warrant to be issued for his home and failed to argue on direct appeal that the trial court did not make a necessary finding of fact regarding the motion to suppress. Based upon thbriefs, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/stephensa_100307.pdf


TONY ALAN WINSETT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tony Alan Winsett, Pro Se, Henning, Tennessee.

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

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Tony Alan Winsett, appeals the Obion County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his "Motion for Delayed Appeal" following the Circuit Courtís March 28, 2006 dismissal of his pro se petition for post-conviction relief, which alleged only that his sentence was illegal. On January 9, 2007, Winsett, proceeding pro se, filed a "Motion for Delayed Appeal" seeking to appeal the March 2006 dismissal of the petition. In his motion, Winsett also asserted new grounds for relief, including ineffective assistance of counsel and a motion to suppress issue. After review, we conclude that this court is without jurisdiction to entertain the appeal. See Tenn. R. App. P. 3(b). Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/winsettt_100307.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Upcoming
TennBarU CLE
TBA Member Services

Legal News
DOJ lawyer says eavesdropping program problematic
The former head of the Justice Department's legal counsel office told Congress he believes parts of the administration's eavesdropping program are illegal. However, he stopped short of revealing exactly what law or constitutional principle the program appeared to violate, saying he is forbidden from delving into legal analysis.
WMC-TV Memphis has more
Baker Donelson creates subprime group
The law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has created a Subprime Mortgage Task Force to be headed by an Atlanta and a New Orleans shareholder. The firm says the subprime mortgage meltdown necessitates a special group to handle legal issues for the mortgage and financial services industries. The Memphis Business Journal reported the news today.

TBI investigating Red Boiling Springs mayor
Tom P. Thompson, 15th Judicial District Attorney General, confirmed yesterday that Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents were in Red Boiling Springs on Monday looking into financial transactions between Mayor Kenneth Hollis and the city. Though no details were released, the Macon County Times reported that "unofficial but informed sources" said the issue involves city utility department materials.
The paper has more on the story
Is ODR the new ADR?
A decade ago experts thought online dispute resolution (ODR) would take over the legal profession. The dot-com bust proved them wrong. But today, technology is slowly making inroads into the dispute resolution world where the use of ODR has been steadily on the rise. The ABA Journal looks at ODR's benefits and the reasons why it may just be the next big thing.
Learn more here
Jackson seeks cold case unit
The city of Jackson has agreed to spend $75,000 over three years to establish a cold case investigative unit for its police department. However, the funds are contingent on the department qualifying for a federal grant that would provide another $300,000 for the project.
Read about it in the Jackson Sun
Lending money to lawyers is growing financial niche
The story is all too common: a small plaintiff firm wants to go after a big case but it does not have the resources to fund it. But that may be changing with the growth of commercial finance companies that fund law firms while they wait for cases to be won or settled. Read about one company in New York that is turning litigation financing into a successful business.
The Buffalo News has the story
Three officials fail to comply with ethics rule
According to the Tennessee Ethics Commission, three public officials have failed to file financial disclosure reports as required by law. They are Hardeman County Commissioner L.J. Cheairs, Decatur County Constable Floyd Murphy and Madison County Constable Bobby Perry. The new rule requires that local public officeholders and candidates for local office disclose investments and all sources of income by Jan. 31, reports the Sparta Expositor.

M&A firms debate future of premium billing
Law firms specializing in mergers and acquisitions have been cashing in on a frenzy of business, usually at rates of hundreds of dollars an hour. On top of hourly billing, some charge premium fees for complex cases. But with the credit market shrinking, many wonder whether the premium party is over, or merely taking a short pause.
The New York Times investigates
Upcoming
TBA at UT Law tomorrow
The TBA and the Young Lawyers Division will be at the University of Tennessee College of Law tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 4 to recruit law student members. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. join us in the law school rotunda to promote TBA membership; at 12 noon join us for a free pizza lunch; and from 6:30-9:30 p.m. come to the Downtown Grill & Brewery for a networking reception. For more details call (615) 383-7421.

TennBarU CLE
TennBarU course looks at new smoking law
Tennessee's new Non-Smoker Protection Act is now in effect, banning the use of tobacco products in the workplace for the first time. To help lawyers understand the new law and how it will affect their clients, a TennBarU online video program is now available featuring Johnson City attorney Vance W. Cheek Jr. of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz. Cheek was involved in shaping the legislation and provides insight into its formation, how it will affect employers and others, and possible modifications that may come before the legislature in the coming session.
Learn more or register now
TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
Click here

 
 
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