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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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - 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.

MELODY CURRY v. SAM B. CURRY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Connie Ruguli, Brentwood, TN for Appellant.

Audrey Lee Anderson, Nashville, TN for Appellee.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is a divorce case. Husband/Appellant appeals the trial court's division of certain marital property, award of retroactive child support, award of Wife/Appellee's attorney fees, the standard for modification of the parenting plan and certain conditions imposed on him by the trial court. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/currym_091908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORDELIA REAM

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Mitchell B. Dugan, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellant Cordelia Ream.

Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel, Office of the Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the State.

Judge: KURTZ

After the appellant pled guilty to criminal contempt in the juvenile court and received a four-day sentence, she appealed to circuit court, contending that the sentence was excessive. After being unsuccessful in circuit court , she then appealed to this Court. We found that the appeal of a criminal contempt conviction should be directly to this Court and not to the circuit court. Having resolved the appeal process issue, this Court finds that the acceptance of the guilty plea below was in contravention of constitutional standards and was plain error. The criminal contempt conviction is therefore vacated and this case is remanded for further proceedings.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/reamc_091908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CURTIS ANTHONY BRYSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ardena J. Garth (at trial), Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Donna Robinson Miller (on appeal), Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Curtis Anthony Bryson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; Brian Chapuran, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Curtis Anthony Bryson, pled guilty to theft over $1,000, a Class D felony, and the trial court ordered him to serve three years of supervised probation. Prior to the revocation at issue, the trial court revoked the Defendant's probation three times, resulting in an expiration date of January 28, 2006, for the Defendant's probated sentence. On January 12, 2006, the trial court ordered that a capias issue for the Defendant's arrest. The same order listed seven grounds upon which the Defendant had violated his probation, and provided that a copy of the order be attached "to the Process to be served on the defendant." However, no further proceedings to revoke the Defendant's probation occurred until August 2007, at which time a duplicate capias for the Defendant's arrest was issued and executed. In September 2007, after conducting a hearing, the trial court found that the Defendant had violated his probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. It is from this judgment that the Defendant now appeals. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/brysonc_091908.pdf


CHARLES C. DICK v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles C. Dick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Lawrence R. Nickell, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Charles C. Dick, entered a best interest plea to second degree murder in exchange for a sentence of twenty-three years. The petitioner now appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his request for post-conviction relief and contends that: (1) the "clear and convincing" evidence standard set forth by Tennessee statute imposes an unconstitutional burden on the petitioner; (2) he received the ineffective assistance of counsel; and (3) his guilty plea was unknowing and involuntary. 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/2008/dickc_091908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BOBBY HALE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Philip A. Condra (at trial and on appeal) and Jeffery Harmon (at trial), Jasper, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby Hale.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; Sherry Shelton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Bobby Hale, pled guilty in the Marion County Circuit Court to four drug related felonies, and he received a total effective sentence of eight years. The appellant was placed on probation, which was revoked. After revocation of his probation, the appellant was placed on community corrections. Subsequently, a warrant was issued, alleging that the appellant had violated the terms of his community corrections sentence. Following a hearing, the trial court revoked the appellant's community corrections sentence and ordered the appellant to serve his original sentence in confinement. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's imposition of a sentence of confinement. 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/2008/haleb_091908.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. ROBERTO MARQUICE HORTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Terry L. Jordan, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roberto Marquice Horton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Roberto Marquice Horton, pled guilty in the Sullivan County Criminal Court to one count of failure to appear, a Class E felony. The trial court subsequently sentenced him to a two- year sentence. Appellant appeals his sentence, arguing that it is excessive and that the trial court erred by denying an alternative sentence. We determine that the record supports Appellant's sentence and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/hortonr_091908.pdf


JABARI ISSA MANDELA a/k/a JOHN H. WOODEN v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jabari Issa Mandela a/k/a John H. Wooden, Pro Se, Mountain City, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; and Joe Crumley, District Attorney General, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Jabari Issa Mandella, also known as John H. Wooden, sought habeas corpus relief from his sentences for second-degree burglary, aggravated rape, aggravated assault, and aggravated sexual battery. The petition alleged that the consecutive sentences imposed by the trial court were in direct contravention of statute and that the trial court failed to state specific reasons for the imposition of consecutive sentencing, rendering the judgments against him void. The habeas corpus court determined that nothing in the petition would support a finding that Petitioner's convictions were void or that his sentence had expired. On appeal, Petitioner challenges the judgment of the habeas corpus court. After a review of the denial of habeas corpus relief, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/mandellaj_091908.pdf


JOSEPH STINNETT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Darrell L. Scarlett and Thomas S. Santel, Jr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Stinnett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Chadwick W. Jackson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Joseph Stinnett, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. Following our review of the record, parties' briefs and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/stinnettj_091908.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
Your Practice
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Effects of contentious Blount County judicial race linger
Two judges and a chancellor in the Fifth Judicial District have recused themselves from any pending or future cases involving the Maryville law firm Meares & Associates. The action comes following a contentious judicial race in which former Division II Judge Michael Meares was unseated by current judge David R. Duggan.
Read more in the Daily Times News
As crime grows, judge offers solution other than jail
The criminal court system daily faces a tidal wave of cases, Shelby County Criminal Court Judge John Fowlkes tells the Memphis Daily News. He says building more jails is not going to stop the problem and that more money needs to be spent on programs that will keep people from committing crimes.
Read the full interview
New Metro PD faces difficult challenges
Metro's new public defender Dawn Deaner says she will not try to replace Ross Alderman, her predecessor who died in a tragic auto accident this summer, while expressing confidence that the department will come together despite her appointment over another long time staffer.
Read more about Deaner in a City Paper interview
Candidates favor adding night court in Knox
Many of the candidates for Knox County General Sessions Court say they favor afternoon and night sessions instead of the current 9 a.m. start. The comments came during a public hearing before Knox County commissioners, who will appoint a judge to fill the open position at Monday's commission meeting.
Learn more about the candidates from the Knoxville News Sentinel
Judicial commissioners hope to gain more training
Judicial commissioners meeting this week in Clarksville are pushing for more education and training. The commissioners are the first step in the judicial system, but they aren't required to undergo training.
Read more about their efforts in the Leaf Chronicle
Drug Court gains certification
The 6-year-old Drug Court program in the 21st Judicial District recently earned its certification, making it one of only 12 in the state with that status. The program, which includes a series of weekly and often random drug tests, curfews, multiple court appearances, intense counseling and strictly enforced discipline, often provides a second chance for drug abusers.
Read more about the program in the Tennessean
Disciplinary Actions
Sevierville lawyer suspended
Sevierville lawyer Ronald R. Reagan was suspended from the practice of law by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Sept. 12 after pleading guilty to a serious crime, possession of a computer hard drive containing three or more visual depictions of child pornography which was shipped via interstate commerce on July 24, 2008.
Read the full BPR release
Gallatin lawyer censured
The Tennessee Supreme Court publicly censured Gallatin lawyer Randy P. Lucas on Sept. 11 for borrowing money from a client in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Lucas submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to the censure. He also has made restitution to the client's estate.
Download the BPR release
Memphis lawyer reinstated
The Supreme Court on Sept. 11 reinstated Michael Latimore to the practice of law. Latimore had been temporarily suspended on May 2, for failing to respond to a complaint of misconduct.
Read the full BPR release
Your Practice
Moonlighting grows more common for public service lawyers
Soaring law school debt, rising inflation and stalled government salaries are causing more and more prosecutors and public defenders to take on second and sometimes third jobs to meet their financial needs.
The National Law Journal reports on the trend
Upcoming
Summers to kick off Speaker Series at Memphis law school
Former Tennessee State Attorney General Paul G. Summers will be the inaugural speaker for the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law's upcoming Speaker Series. Sponsored by the Student Bar Association at the Memphis school, the event will be held Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Memphis Cotton Exchange Museum.
Learn more about the event
TBA Member Services
UPL enforcement resources available
The TBA Committee on the Protection of the Public from the Unauthorized Practice of Law encourages local bar leaders to review the sample protocol for handling UPL complaints and to urge adoption by local bar associations. The sample protocol is available on the TBA website, along with the other UPL resources.
Visit the UPL webpage for more information

 
 
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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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