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TODAY'S OPINIONS
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JAMES G. THOMAS, JR., Brother and Next of Kin of Karen G. Thomas, Deceased v. ELIZABETH OLDFIELD, M.D. ET AL.
CORRECTION: On page 2, last paragraph, last sentence "defendants" is changed to "plaintiff's."


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

William D. Leader, Jr., and Erin P. McDaniel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James G. Thomas, Jr.

Darrell G. Townsend, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Charles V. Love, M.D., and Emergency Coverage Corporation.

Bradford D. Box and Spencer R. Barnes, Jackson, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association.

H. Anthony Duncan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, Tennessee Association for Justice.

Judge: HOLDER

The plaintiff filed interrogatories and requests for production seeking information concerning the defendants' liability insurance coverage. When the defendants objected to providing this information, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 37.01. The trial court ruled that the information was subject to discovery pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 26.02 and granted the plaintiff's motion to compel and the defendants' request for an interlocutory appeal. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's order, holding that information concerning the defendants' liability insurance coverage was not discoverable under Rule 26.02. We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2009/thomasj_Corr_021009.pdf


DELIVETRICK D. BLOCKER v. JIM WORTHINGTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Delivetrick D. Blocker, Pro se, Petros, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

In 1996, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted the Petitioner, Delivetrick D. Blocker, for first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. In 1997, a Hamilton County jury convicted the Petitioner of first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery and sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for his murder conviction. The trial court sentenced him to twenty-two years for especially aggravated robbery, to be served consecutively to his life sentence. In 2008, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus relief, which the habeas court summarily dismissed. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court erred when it dismissed his petition because: (1) the indictment charging him with murder was fatally defective because it did not allege an overt act; (2) the indictment charging him with especially aggravated robbery was fatally defective because it varied from the judgment convicting him of attempted especially aggravated robbery, which requires proof of an overt act; and (3) the trial court did not have jurisdiction to order his sentences to be served consecutively. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/blockerd_021009.pdf


RICKY JEROME COONROD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jason D. Demastus, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Jerome Coonrod.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and C. Matthew Rogers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

On October 27, 2005, the defendant, Ricky Jerome Coonrod, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery, see T.C.A. section 39-13-401 (2002), and one count of possession of marijuana for resale, see T.C.A. section 39-17-417 (2002). He was sentenced to six years of intensive probation for the robbery conviction followed by one year of unsupervised probation for the drug conviction. On April 11, 2007, the defendant's probation officer filed a probation violation report citing numerous violations. The trial court held a probation revocation hearing and found that the defendant violated his probation. The trial court revoked the defendant's probation and ordered him to serve his full sentences. The defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in "compelling" him to defend his probation violation "while negotiating other matters" and that the trial court acted contrary to the evidence presented in the probation revocation hearing. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/coonrodr_021009.pdf


JASON CRAWFORD v. STEVEN DOTSON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jason Crawford, Pro Se, Whiteville, Tennessee.

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

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Jason Crawford, appeals the circuit court's order denying his petition for habeas corpus relief. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court dismiss the appeal as untimely filed or, in the alternative, affirm the circuit court pursuant to Rule 20 of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we conclude that the petitioner failed to timely file his notice of appeal and his claims do not warrant consideration in the "interest of justice." Therefore, his appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/crawfordj_021009.pdf


ANTHONY J. FRALIX v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Emeterio R. "Terry" Hernando, for the Appellant, Anthony J. Fralix.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Appellant appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for post conviction relief. The Appellant filed his petition outside the statute of limitations. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/fralixa_021009.pdf


WALTER HENNING v. HOWARD CARLTON, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Walter Henning, Pro se, Mountain City, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner pled guilty in Sullivan County, Tennessee, to one count of robbery and one count of evading arrest. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to five years for his robbery conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for his evading arrest conviction, with the sentences to be served concurrently. The Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief, claiming that his judgments were void because neither judgment ordered his sentences to be served consecutively to his unserved sentence in Maryland. The habeas court dismissed the petition without a hearing. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/henningw_021009.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEROME EMMETT HUNTLEY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jerome Emmett Huntley.

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

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Jerome Emmett Huntley, was convicted of introduction of contraband into a penal institution, a Class C felony, and public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced the defendant as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent terms of five years, six months and thirty days. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for introduction of contraband into a penal institution and that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/huntleyj_021009.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER BRIAN KNIGHT
With Dissenting Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

R.B. Baird, III, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Brian Knight.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; James Dunn, District Attorney General; and Charles L. Murphy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Christopher Brian Knight, was convicted of one count of theft over $10,000, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to ten years in the Department of Correction. In this direct appeal, he argues that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion for a continuance; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial; (3) he was deprived of a fair trial before an impartial judge; (4) the State presented evidence insufficient to convict him; (5) he was prejudiced by the trial court's failure to confirm that he had personally decided to waive his right to testify; and (6) the trial court improperly sentenced him to the maximum sentence. We conclude that all of these contentions lack merit. We accordingly affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/knightc_021009.pdf

TIPTON dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/knightcDIS_021009.pdf


MELVIN RUSSELL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Scott A. Lovelace, Ripley, Tennessee (at sentencing), and Ryan B. Feeney, Selmer, Tennessee (on appeal) for petitioner, Melvin Russell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Cameron Williams, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The petitioner, Melvin Russell, originally pleaded guilty to possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with intent to deliver. He received a sentence of sixteen-years imprisonment to be served concurrently to an unrelated nineteen-year term of imprisonment he was already serving. He now appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court's denial of post-conviction relief, and presents the following issues, as stated in his brief, for our review: (1) "Did trial counsel render ineffective assistance by failing to move for an Interlocutory Appeal of the trial court's ruling denying the Petitioner's Motion to Suppress Evidence?" and (2) "Did trial counsel's failures to render effective assistance improperly induce the Petitioner to enter his guilty plea such that his decision to enter the guilty plea, and thus, the plea itself, was involuntarily made?" Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/russellm_021009.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. VIRGIL SAMUELS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul D. Hessing, Paris, Tennessee, and for the appellant, Virgil Samuels.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Hansel J. McCadams, District Attorney General; and Beth C. Boswell Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

Pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, the defendant, Virgil Samuels, pled guilty to especially aggravated kidnapping, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated rape. The defendant received a total effective sentence of thirty-five years to be served as a violent offender. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, alleging that he was coerced by counsel into pleading guilty. The trial court denied the motion, and this appeal followed. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/samuelsv_021009.pdf


ERIC DEWAYNE WALLACE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Eric Dewayne Wallace, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Corliss Shaw and Frank Borger-Gilligan, Assistant Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Eric Dewayne Wallace, appeals the dismissal of his motion to reopen his petition for post-conviction relief. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction or, in the alternative, affirm the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of the motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because the petitioner did not comply with the statutory requirements for seeking appellate review of the dismissal of his motion, this court has no jurisdiction in the case. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/wallacee_021009.pdf


Removal of Members of the Board of Directors of an Emergency Communications District

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-02-10

Opinion Number: 09-13

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/AG/2009/ag_09_13.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
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TBA Member Services

Legal News
Names submitted to governor for circuit court vacancy
The Judicial Selection Commission met on Feb. 9 in Nashville and has submitted the following names to the governor as nominees to fill the vacancy in the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court, created by the retirement of Judge Muriel Robinson: Stephanie Howard Gore with Terry & Gore, Irwin Kuhn with Dobbins & Venick, and attorney Philip Smith. All are from Nashville.

Commission selects 3 for criminal court seat
The Judicial Selection Commission met today in Lebanon and has submitted the following names to the governor as nominees to fill the vacancy in the 15th Judicial District Criminal Court, created by the death of Judge James O. Bond: David Earl Durham, deputy district attorney general, 15th Judicial District, Lebanon; Robert Neland Hibbett, assistant district attorney general, 15th Judicial District, Mt. Juliet; and Brody Neill Kane, McBrien & Kane, Lebanon.

Apply for bankruptcy trustee panel by Feb. 27
The Office of the U.S. Trustee is looking for people who would like to be considered for appointment to the panel of trustees for the Bankruptcy Court of the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division. The panel administers cases filed under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. Resumes are due on or before Feb. 27.
Download more details in this public notice
School funding case wraps up
On Monday, lawyers for Memphis and Memphis City Schools made their closing arguments during an afternoon hearing in chancery court in what promises to be a landmark court case over school funding. The case will likely make it all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court and could help settle long-standing arguments over education funding. The main question to be answered: Is the city a required funding source for the school district? Chancellor Kenny Armstrong said he would rule by the end of the week.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Attorney general orders review of 'state secrets' claims
New U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a review of all claims of state secrets, which were used under President Bush to shield controversial anti-terrorism programs from lawsuits. The so-called state secrets privilege was invoked by the previous administration to stymie a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program.
NewsChannel 9 has this AP story
Breen says defense can see jury list
Two men charged with plotting to kill President Barack Obama can have limited access to court records on the selection of the grand jury that indicted them, a federal judge says. Judge J. Daniel Breen says defense lawyers can review the court's population data and the master list of citizens from which the jury was selected. He says the defense can question procedures for selecting jurors but can't challenge the resulting racial makeup of the actual jury.
The Jackson Sun has this AP story
Kagan faces Senate Judiciary Committee today
Solicitor general nominee Elena Kagan faces the Senate Judiciary Committee today for her confirmation hearing. Kagan, a popular dean at Harvard Law School, clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and while at the University of Chicago, tried to recruit Barack Obama to a full-time professor position.
ABAJournal.com tells you more about her
Rankin wins judgeship
District 1 County Commissioner Elizabeth "Sissy" Rankin was selected as General Sessions judge Monday night in Clarksville after 21 rounds of votes by the Montgomery County County Commission. The final vote -- which came down to Rankin and Assistant District Attorney Bill Cloud -- finished around 11:35 p.m. Commissioners cast votes for one of 12 applicants until a simple majority was reached and applicants slowly were eliminated.
The Leaf-Chronicle reports
Politics
Odom may enter race for governor
There may be another Democrat looking at the 2010 governor's race. State Rep. Gary Odom of Nashville, currently the top-ranking Democrat in the state House, is being encouraged to enter the 2010 governor's race, according to NashvillePost.com sources.
Find out more
Upcoming
Bahner reception set for Saturday in Boston
The TBA will host a reception in honor of Chattanooga attorney T. Maxfield "Max" Bahner on Feb. 14 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Sheraton Boston in Constitution Ballroom A. The event is being held in conjunction with the American Bar Association's Mid-Year Meeting. The Tennessee delegation frequently hosts events to honor outstanding Tennessee lawyers during ABA meetings.

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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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