Estate Planning Forum returns to Nashville

Some of the state's top estate planners will be sharing their knowledge on estate planning developments and topics important to Tennessee practitioners at the upcoming Estate Planning Forum, Feb. 26, in Nashville. This information-packed, full-day TennBarU program will provide seven CLE hours and include a luncheon address from Knoxville attorney Anne McKinney.

Find out more or register now

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.

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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.

JONATHAN PARKER v. HENDERSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John D. Burleson and Dale Conder, Jr., Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, City of Lexington, Tennessee.

Jeffrey P. Boyd, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Jonathan Parker.

Judge: FARMER

The plaintiff/appellee, Jonathan Parker ("Mr. Parker"), was shot once in the right shoulder by Officer David Stanhope ("Ofc. Stanhope") of the Lexington Police Department during the execution of a search warrant at Mr. Parker's residence. The trial court held the City of Lexington ("the City") liable for the injury that Mr. Parker suffered. The court determined that Sergeant Jeff Middleton ("Sgt. Middleton") was negligent in failing to properly supervise Ofc. Stanhope during the operation and that Ofc. Stanhope negligently created the dangerous situation leading to the use of deadly force. The court awarded $40,000 in damages to Mr. Parker, which accounted for his fault in failing to immediately respond to police commands. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/parkerj_020410.pdf


DARCY SMITH v. MARK DORSETT

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Lindsey Lander, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mark Dorsett.

Dwaine B. Thomas, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Darcy Smith.

Judge: SWINEY

Darcy Smith ("Mother") and Mark Dorsett ("Father") were divorced by order entered in September of 2004. The Permanent Parenting Plan entered by the Trial Court gave Mother primary residential custody of the parties' four minor children with Father to have custody on specified days during the week and on alternating weekends. In 2006, Mother obtained an Order of Protection against Father on behalf of the children. Mother then filed a motion to modify the Permanent Parenting Plan. After a trial, the Trial Court modified the Permanent Parenting Plan to suspend all of Father's co-parenting time with the parties' minor children. Father appeals to this Court. We vacate that portion of the Trial Court's order suspending all of Father's co-parenting time, and remand this case to the Trial Court to establish a suitable schedule of supervised visitation between Father and the minor children. The remainder of the Trial Court's order is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/smithd_020410.pdf


JAMES CARR v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Vanessa M. Cross, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Carr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Steve Jones, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, James Carr, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. He was convicted on November 4, 1984, of aggravated rape and sentenced to life imprisonment as a Range II offender. The trial court ruled the petition should be dismissed because it did not set out any newly discovered evidence and contained no exception to the one-year statute of limitations. On appeal he argues that the dismissal was an unconstitutional denial of his right to due process. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/carrj_020410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GEORGE CHISHOLM

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kenneth L. Miller, Cleveland, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, George Chisholm.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Brooklynn Martin, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, George Chisholm, pled guilty in the Bradley County Criminal Court to driving under the influence, eighth offense, a Class E felony, and to two counts of vehicular assault, Class D felonies. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to two years for the DUI to be served consecutively to concurrent four-year sentences for the vehicular assault counts, for a total effective sentence of six years incarceration. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the trial court should have granted some form of alternative sentence in consideration of the condition of his health. Following our review, we affirm the denial of alternative sentencing, but we remand for the correction of the judgments.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/chisholmg_020410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEVIN ALLEN GENTRY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Brent O. Horst, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kevin Allen Gentry.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Jeremy D. Ball, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Sevier County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Kevin Allen Gentry, of one count of rape of a child. Following the conviction, the trial court imposed a sentence of twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred in admitting an audiotaped message recorded by the appellant, arguing that the statements on the tape were not relevant to the issues at trial, or, in the alternative, were overly prejudicial. Upon review, we conclude that there is no reversible error and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/gentryk_020410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEFFERY C. GRISSOM

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Trenena G. Wilcher, Assistant Public Defender, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffery C. Grissom.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General; and Thomas Miner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Jeffery C. Grissom, was charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-17- 417(c)(1). He was convicted as charged following a jury trial. In this direct appeal, he contends that: (1) the trial court erred in excluding evidence that a State"s witness had previously threatened to frame him; and (2) the State presented evidence insufficient to convict him. After our review, we conclude that the trial court erred in excluding evidence of the State's witness' previous threats, but that the error was harmless. We also conclude that the State presented sufficient evidence to convict the Defendant. We accordingly affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/grissomj_020410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORTINO HARRIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Cortino Harris.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Cortino Harris, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, Class E felonies, and evading arrest, a Class A misdemeanor. The court merged the felony drug convictions and sentenced the defendant as a Range II multiple offender to four years in the Department of Correction. The court sentenced the defendant to eleven months, twenty-nine days on the misdemeanor conviction, to be served consecutively to the felony sentence. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentences. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/harrisc_020410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIE PRICE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William D. Massey and Lorna S. McClusky, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); Trent Hall and Tim Albers, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Willie Price.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer and Nicole Germaine, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Willie Price, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated rape, a Class A felony, two counts of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and robbery, a Class C felony, and was sentenced by the trial court as a Range II offender to an effective sentence of sixty years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and argues that the trial court erred by ruling that the State could impeach his testimony with his prior burglary and theft convictions, consolidating his indictments for trial, admitting his statements to police, and enhancing his sentences and ordering that they be served consecutively. Having reviewed the record and found no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/pricew_020410.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DARRYL KEITH ROBINSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William D. Massey and Lorna S. McClusky, Memphis, Tennessee, (on appeal), and Anthony Helm, Memphis, Tennessee, (at trial) for the appellant, Darryl Keith Robinson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Alanda Dwyer and Amy Weirich, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Darryl Keith Robinson, was indicted for one count of felony murder and one count of premeditated first degree murder. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-13-202. He was also charged with one count of theft of property valued at greater than $10,000 but less than $60,000, a Class C felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-14-105(4). Following a jury trial, he was found guilty as charged of theft, and convicted of one count of second degree murder, a Class A felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-13-210(c). He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to consecutive sentences of twenty-five years for second degree murder and six years for theft of property, for a total effective sentence of thirty-one years in the Department of Correction. In this direct appeal, he contends that:(1) the trial court erred by excluding evidence that the victim filed for orders of protection against another individual; (2) the trial court erred by allowing testimony that the Defendant had a criminal history; (3) the trial court erred by allowing testimony regarding a conversation between the victim and the Defendant; (4) the State presented evidence insufficient to convict him of either second degree murder or theft of property valued at greater than $10,000 but less than $60,000; and (5) the trial court erred in setting the length of the Defendant's sentence. After our review, we affirm the Defendant's conviction for second degree murder. We vacate the twenty-five year sentence imposed for the second degree murder conviction. We modify the conviction for Class C felony theft to a conviction for Class A misdemeanor theft. We remand this case to the trial court for resentencing.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/robinsond_020410.pdf


SZUMANSKI STROUD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Patrick E. Stegall, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Szumanski Stroud.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Szumanski Stroud, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by not properly cross-examining the victim about his identification of the petitioner. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition for post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/strouds_020410.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Court of the Judiciary
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
Upcoming
Correction
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Man accused of threatening courthouse attack
A Campbell County man has been arrested on multiple counts of retaliation against the judicial system after his therapist reported he threatened to bring a bomb and guns to the county courthouse if things did not go well with the trial of his sister's accused killers. According to the therapist, Paul Edward Terry said he knew how to make bombs and would shoot the sheriff, the presiding judge and defendants, as well as everyone else at the courthouse because they were all corrupt.
WBIR News has the story
Study: Recession hurts diversity efforts
A new report, produced for the American Bar Association's Presidential Initiative Commission on Diversity and set to be released tomorrow, finds that recessionary concerns are undermining efforts to achieve greater diversity in the legal profession. The study suggests that belt-tightening has reduced funding for diversity initiatives and has led to downsizing that may disproportionately affect minority lawyers. The report also suggests that in difficult economic times, law schools need to find ways to reduce tuition and help students plan for the costs of a legal education or risk shutting out diverse students. Download the report
Read more from the ABA
Leitner, Williams most prolific trial firm in the state
A study published in the Tennessee Jury Verdict Reporter shows that Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan PLLC was the most prolific civil trial law firm in Tennessee last year. The Reporter, which reviews civil jury verdict results in the state, found that the firm -- which has offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville -- handled a total of 12 cases in 2009.
The Chattanoogan has more
Montgomery County Bar elects new officers
The Montgomery County Bar Association has elected officers for 2010. They are: President Sheri Sensing Phillips with the Law Office of Olson & Phillips, Vice President Julia North with Rassas North & Associates, and Secretary/Treasurer Erin Poland with the Law Office of William H. Poland. All are from Clarksville.

White House preparing for two Supreme Court vacancies
Lawyers for President Barack Obama have been working behind the scenes to prepare for the possibility of one, and maybe two Supreme Court vacancies this spring. Court watchers believe two of the more liberal members of the court, justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, could decide to step aside for reasons of age and health.
Read more from ABC News
Bass Berry moves, donates furniture to Nashville schools
The Nashville law firm of Bass, Berry & Sims recently moved its downtown offices to The Pinnacle at Symphony Place, 150 3rd Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37201. In the process of moving, firm partners decided they did not need to keep much of their furniture because they would be purchasing new items, so the firm used the move as an opportunity to donate conference tables, desks and benches to Bellevue and West Nashville schools. According to Metro Nashville schools, the firm donated $300,000 worth of furniture as well as computers.
The Tennessean reports
Court of the Judiciary
Hearing continued for Bell
The Court of the Judiciary has rescheduled a hearing date for proceedings in the Judge John Bell trial at the request of defense counsel. Bell's lead lawyer asked that a hearing, scheduled for Feb. 10, be postponed until March 3. Issues to be heard include the disciplinary counsel's motion for protective order and a motion to quash notice of a deposition.
Download the order
Legislative News
Ford could miss entire legislative session
Family members of state Sen. Ophelia Ford, D-Memphis, said she has suffered complications from an unspecified surgical procedure and could miss the entire legislative session. Ford, 59, missed the legislature's special session on education reform last month because of flu-like symptoms. She missed most of the 2007 session because of what she called a "chronic anemia" illness that involved periodic hospital admissions.
News Channel 5 has the report
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Disciplinary Actions
Kentucky lawyer disbarred
Louisville, Ky., lawyer Bruce Dwain Atherton was disbarred in Tennessee on Jan. 15. He consented to the disbarment after acknowledging he could not successfully defend himself against charges filed by the board that he had pled guilty to a felony.
View the BPR notice
Upcoming
TBA and Arts group plan pro bono clinic
The Tennessee Bar Association Entertainment & Sports Law Section and the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville will host an entertainment law clinic in Nashville on Feb. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The clinic will provide 30 minutes of free legal advice to artists who have questions about copyright law, contracts and other intellectual property matters. The event will be held at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Room 222. Clients may sign up for a 30-minute appointment by calling (615) 743-3055 or emailing lpa@abcnashville.org. Deadline for securing an appointment is Feb. 19.

Correction
The story in yesterday's issue of TBA Today about Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon addressing the University of Tennessee Chattanooga basketball team contained an erroneous link. The correct link to the story on Chattanoogan.com can be found here.

TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at www.avisawards.com to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.


 
 
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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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