Harris Poll: public dislikes politics in judicial elections

A new nationwide Harris Poll, conducted with input from the American Bar Association, shows that while a majority of members of the voting-age public think state court judges should be elected, they don't want party labels or special interest money involved in the process. For federal court judgeships, respondents think citizen committees should review nominees' backgrounds and qualifications.

Find out more from the ABA

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

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STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT JONATHAN HARRISON

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Kandi Kelley, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Joseph T. Howell, Assistant Public Defender (at trial), Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Jonathan Harrison.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General (on appeal); and James G. Woodall, District Attorney General, and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General (at trial), Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the procedure for discovering the records of a clinical psychologist whom the defendant intends to call as an expert witness at a pretrial competency hearing in a criminal case. After the defendant filed a petition in the Circuit Court for Chester County requesting to be declared incompetent to stand trial, the State obtained a judicial subpoena under Tenn. Code Ann. Section 40-17- 123 (2006) directing the defendant's psychologist to produce "[a]ny and all records" related to his examination of the defendant. The trial court declined to quash the subpoena but granted the defendant an interlocutory appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals. The intermediate appellate court held that the trial court erred by issuing a subpoena under Tenn. Code Ann. Section 40-17-123 but, characterizing the competency hearing as "in the nature of a civil proceeding," ordered the production of the materials sought in accordance with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 35.02. State v. Harrison, No. W2006-00483-CCA-R9-CD, 2007 WL 906730, at *4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 2, 2007). We granted the defendant's application for permission to appeal to address the application of Tenn. R. Civ. P. 35.02 to pretrial competency hearings in criminal cases. We concur with the Court of Criminal Appeals' conclusions that the trial court erred by granting the judicial subpoena and that the State is entitled to discover the report of the expert testifying for the defendant in the competency hearing. However, we have also determined that Tenn. R. Civ. P. 35.02 does not apply to pretrial competency hearings in criminal cases. Exercising our inherent supervisory authority over Tennessee's judicial system, we adopt a temporary procedure for the disclosure and use of evidence relating to competency to stand trial in criminal cases.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2008/harrisonr_102108.pdf


JAMES GLEAVES v. SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Thomas E. Hansom, Leigh H. Thomas, Memphis, TN, for Appellant

Martin W. Zummach, Germantown, TN, for Appellee

Judge: HIGHERS

A former sheriff's deputy appeals his termination. The Shelby County Civil Service Merit Board upheld the termination, and upon review, the chancery court found substantial and material evidence to support the decision. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/gleavesj_102108.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SEAN DAVID ANDERSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Randy Chaffin, for the appellant, Sean David Anderson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William Edward Gibson, District Attorney General; Anthony Craighead, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: McLIN

The defendant, Sean David Anderson, pled guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication, Class B felonies. He was sentenced to eleven years for each conviction and ordered to serve those sentences concurrently. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by imposing more than the "presumptive minimum" sentence of eight years. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/andersons_102108.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEANTHONY M. DAVIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Nathan Moore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Deanthony M. Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Benjamin A Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Robert E. McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant pled guilty in September 2005 to possession of .5 grams or more of a Schedule II drug with the intent to sell, which is a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to twelve years, and he was released to a community corrections program after serving one year of incarceration. Following a hearing, the trial court found the Defendant had violated his community corrections sentence, and it revoked the Defendant's community corrections sentence and resentenced the Defendant to sixteen years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant claims the trial court erred when it revoked his community corrections sentence and re-sentenced him. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/davisd_102108.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONNIE OWENS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Nathan Moore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Ronnie Owens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Robert E. McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant pled guilty in September 2005 to two counts of possession of a Schedule II drug with the intent to sell. The trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of eleven years, with one year to serve in jail followed by ten years in a community corrections program. In October 2007, the trial court found that the Defendant had violated the terms of his community corrections sentence, and it re-sentenced him to serve an effective total sentence of sixteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC"). The Defendant now appeals, claiming that the trial court erred in increasing the sentence to sixteen years and ordering the Defendant to serve the sentence in TDOC. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgments.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/owensr_102108.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. NATHANIEL SHELBOURNE, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Emma Rae Tennent, Assistant Public Defender, on appeal, and J. Michael Engle, Assistant Public Defender, at hearing, for appellant, Nathaniel Shelbourne.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Nathaniel Shelbourne, Jr., pled guilty in Davidson County to two counts of especially aggravated robbery. As a result, the trial court sentenced him to eighteen years on Count 1 and seventeen years on Count 3, to be served consecutively. Appellant appeals his sentence, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing consecutive sentences and that the application of consecutive sentencing violates Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). We determine that the trial court was justified in ordering Appellant to serve the sentences consecutively where the record supports the trial court's holding that Appellant was a dangerous offender whose behavior indicated little or no regard for human life and had no hesitation about committing a crime in which the risk to human life was high. Further, both the Tennessee Supreme Court and this Court have already determined that Blakely did not impact consecutive sentencing in this state. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/shelbournen_102108.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MATTHEW WAGGONER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, Matthew Waggoner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and Amy H. Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Matthew Waggoner, pled guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of burglary. Pursuant to his plea agreement, the trial court sentenced Appellant as a Range II Multiple Offender to an effective sentence of eleven years. The trial court held a sentencing hearing specifically for the purpose of addressing Appellant's request for alternative sentencing. The trial court denied Appellant's request and ordered Appellant to serve the sentence in incarceration. On appeal, Appellant argues that the trial court erred in denying an alternative sentence. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Appellant's lengthy criminal history and previous inability to meet conditions of probation and parole make him an unfavorable candidate for an alternative sentence. Therefore, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/waggonerm_102108.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Court of the Judiciary
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
14 on final list for appeals court, hearings set for Nov. 18
Three more candidates met yesterday's deadline to apply for the vacancy on the Court of Appeals, Eastern Division, bringing the final number to 14. They are Ginger Wilson Buchanan of Cleveland, Mark Jendrek of Knoxville and Robin L. Miller of Chattanooga. Those who had previously added their names to the list are: Adrienne L. Anderson of Knoxville, Kathaleen Ann Barker of Vonore, Mark Antoine Brown of Knoxville, Sharon Dawn Coppock of Strawberry Plains, Vonda M. Laughlin of Jefferson City, John Westley McClarty of Chattanooga, Carol S. Nickle of Knoxville, Christopher J. Oldham of Knoxville, Sarah Y. Sheppeard of Knoxville, Conrad Mark Troutman of Knoxville, and George T. Underwood Jr. of Powell.

The Judicial Selection Commission will continue the selection process with a public hearing at 8:30 a.m. EST on Nov. 18 at the Knoxville Hilton.

Execution date set for Henley
The Tennessee Supreme Court has denied a request by death row inmate Steve Henley for commutation and, granting the state's motion to set an execution date, set it for Feb. 4, 2009.
Read the court's order
Complex can be built at old Supreme Court building
Chancellor Daryl R. Fansler ruled Monday that plans for a new 200-room hotel at Knoxville's old state supreme court building does not violate an ordinance prohibiting the city from building a convention center hotel.
WBIR.com reports
Smith appointed election officer
Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Smith of Greeneville has been appointed district election officer for the Eastern District of Tennessee and is responsible for overseeing the district's handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with the Justice Department's headquarters.
The Greeneville Sun has more
Council to vote tonight on $15 litigation tax
Nashville's Metro Council will vote tonight on a $15 litigation tax that would take effect Jan. 1, 2009. The money collected from the tax -- an estimated $1.7 million a year -- would help the city pay for courthouse security, from guards' salaries to equipment to building upgrades.
Read about it in the Tennessean
Study: lawyer moms earn up to 35 percent less than lawyer dads
A study of University of Michigan law graduates has found that lawyer moms earn up to 35 percent less than lawyer dads and that male law grads who became fathers enjoyed a "daddy bonus" in salaries that were 15 percent to 20 percent higher than childless men. Mothers, on the other hand, earned 10 percent to 15 percent less than childless women, and 25 percent to 35 percent less than fathers.
ABAJournal.com connects you to the study
Court of the Judiciary
Benton County judge placed on interim suspension
General Sessions Judge Ronald E. Darby has been indicted by the Benton County Grand Jury for two counts of official misconduct and therefore placed on interim suspension, according to an order by the presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary, Don R. Ash. General Sessions Judge Ricky Wood of Decatur County will handle Judge Darby's dockets Wednesday and Thursday of this week, according to Sue Allison of the Administrative Office of the Courts. Designations for future dockets are still being determined.
Read the order
Disciplinary Actions
Dayton lawyer censured
On Oct. 10, Dayton lawyer John Arnold Fitzgerald received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by preparing a civil complaint that was filed against his former client in a matter that was substantially related to some of the issues in a case in which Fitzgerald had previously represented the same former client.
Read the BPR release
Memphis lawyer suspended
On Oct. 15, Memphis lawyer David P. Burlison was suspended for three months by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The suspension is to begin upon his reactivation from a current suspension for continuing legal education noncompliance. A hearing panel determined that Burlison violated the Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to honor an agreement to pay medical bills out of the proceeds of a settlement.
Read the BPR release
TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
Visit the site

 
 
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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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