Tag Archives: appeals

Judicial Nominating Commission completes selections for 3 appeals courts

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
The Judicial Nominating Commission met on June 27 in Chattanooga, June 28, 2013 in Nashville, and June 29 in Jackson to hold public hearings and conduct interviews of candidates for the upcoming Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Appeals vacancies.
After interviewing a total of 35 candidates for the three positions, the commission selected these attorneys for nomination to Governor Bill Haslam for consideration in the following openings. Two panels were forwarded for each vacancy because the governor has the option to reject the first panel and the Judicial Nominating Commission, which by law ceases to exist after June 30, 2013 would not be able to act and select a second panel.
The openings are created by the announcements by Judge Joseph Tipton, Judge Patricia Cottrell and Judge Alan E. Highers that they will not seek retention in the August 2014 election.
The list of nominees is below.

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Judicial Nominating Commission Picks Candidates for ET Seat

The Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission on Thursday selected nominees to submit to Gov. Bill Haslam for a position on the Eastern Section of the Court of Criminal Appeals, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Solemnly arrayed in the Sheraton Read House Terrace Room, 15 applicants made statements before a panel of 15 nominating commission members, who then interviewed each candidate in turn.
Traditionally, the commission submits only one panel of three names for the governor to review. If he rejects those three applicants, members vote on a second panel of names. However, the commission will cease to exist at midnight Sunday when the legislative provisions creating it expire.
“It’s different from what we’ve done historically because the commission sunsets at the end of the month,” said J. Bartlett Quinn, a Chattanooga attorney and commission secretary.
To ensure the commission fulfills its function one last time, the commissioners submitted a second panel of names in the event that Haslam rejects the first three.
The two lists:
Panel A
• Boyd Patterson, assistant district attorney in Chattanooga
• Robert Montgomery, a criminal court judge in the 2nd Judicial District, from Blountville, Tenn.
• Thomas Wright, a circuit court judge in the 3rd Judicial District in Greeneville, Tenn.
Panel B
• William Jackson Brown, a Cleveland attorney
• Charles Edward Atchely Jr., a Knoxville attorney
• Samuel Lee, an attorney in Clinton, Tenn.

Ten Apply for West TN Court of Appeals Seat

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – The Judicial Nominating Commission will consider ten applicants when it meets later this month in Jackson to select nominees for the upcoming vacancy on the Tennessee Court of Appeals Western Section.
The opening is the result of Court of Appeals Judge Alan E. Highers informing Gov. Bill Haslam that he will retire at the end of his term, August 31, 2014. Because statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission expire June 30, 2013, the commission will meet this month to select a slate of candidates for Gov. Bill Haslam to choose from.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Saturday, June 29 in Jackson at the DoubleTree Hotel, 1770 Highway 45 Bypass, to interview and hear public comments regarding the 10 applicants. A public hearing will start at 9 a.m. and be followed by individual interviews of all the candidates.
The commission is expected to make their selections immediately following the interviews. They will send two slates, each with three names, to the governor for his consideration.
Completed applications of all the candidates can be found on TNCourts.gov.

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Two 2014 Appeals Court Vacancies Draw 25 Applications

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Three judges, one magistrate and 21 attorneys have applied to fill anticipated 2014 vacancies on the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals.
The openings are the result of announcements by Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Joseph Tipton that they will not seek re-election in August 2014, creating vacancies effective Sept. 1, 2014. Because statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission expire June 30, 2013, the commission will meet this month to select a slate of candidates for Gov. Bill Haslam to choose from.
…The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Thursday, June 27 in Chattanooga to interview and hear public comments regarding the 15 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Friday, June 28 in Nashville to interview and hear public comments regarding the 10 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals Middle Division.
(The panel is still accepting applications for a third 2014 vacancy — the seat now held by West Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Alan Highers.)
Note: List of the applicants is below.

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Third Appeals Court Judge Announces Retirement

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Court of Appeals Judge Alan E. Highers has notified Gov. Bill Haslam that he will not seek re-election when his term expires August 31, 2014.
The decision creates a vacancy in Western Section of the Court of Appeal as of September 1, 2014. Due to the June 30, 2013 expiration of the statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission, the commission will meet June 29, 2013 to select nominees for Judge Highers’ anticipated vacancy.
Judge Highers is the presiding judge of the Western Section of the Court of Appeals and is the senior appellate judge in the state. He has been a member of the Court of Appeals since 1982, when he was appointed by Gov. Lamar Alexander.
A past president and executive committee member of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, Judge Highers is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University , Lipscomb University and the University of Memphis School of Law.
“I look forward to fulfilling the remainder of my term in the service of our state,” said Judge Highers in his letter to Gov. Haslam.
Any qualified applicant interested in the seat on the Court of Appeals must be a licensed attorney who is at least 30 years of age, a resident of the state for five years, and a resident of their circuit or district for one year and must reside in the Western Grand Division.
Applicants must complete the designated application, which is available at www.tncourts.gov, and submit it to the Administrative Office of the Courts by Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at noon CDT.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will interview all qualified applicants for the Court of Appeals opening Saturday, June 29 in Jackson. This follows meetings June 27 and June 28 in the Eastern and Middle divisions for anticipated 2014 openings on appellate courts in each of those sections.
The meeting will include a public hearing in which members of the public may express their opinions about the applicants. The interview, public hearing and deliberation process will be open to the public.
For more information, visit http://www.tncourts.gov/administration/judicial-resources.

Court Hands Setback to Attempt at Ousting Utility Commissioners

A unanimous ruling by the state Court of Appeals has provided a serious setback to efforts to remove three Powell-Clinch Utility commissioners from office, reports the News Sentinel.
Judges opined that the commissioners can’t be removed from office for allegedly running a loose fiscal ship before a state law was amended in 2009 making that an ouster offense. That amendment made failure to fulfill fiduciary duties — even without “knowing or willful conduct” — a valid reason to toss commissioners out of office.
The Court of Appeals called the effort to oust on the basis of that amendment “an impermissible retrospective application of law.” The case was sent back to a Davidson County chancellor for further proceedings.
The ouster effort by the state’s Utility Management Review Board began two years ago and was sparked by a state comptroller’s investigative audit.

Court of Appeals Reverses Judge’s Ruling on Murfreesboro Mosque

The state Court of Appeals has ruled that Rutherford County provided proper public notice before approving mosque construction plans in 2010, reports the Daily News Journal.
The appeals court reversed local Chancellor Robert Corlew III’s decision a year ago that the county failed to provide adequate public notice before the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission approved construction plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro mosque on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike.
Corlew had ruled that the county’s May 2, 2010, public notice in The Murfreesboro Post about the meeting time, date and location without an agenda, didn’t reach enough people before planning commissioners approved the mosque plans May 24, 2010.
The planning commissioners in June 2012 voted to appeal Corlew’s decision. The matter might not end with the appeals court, though. The Tennessee Supreme Court will be asked to reverse the ruling, plaintiffs’ Murfreesboro attorney Joe Brandon said Thursday.

Two Appealate Court Judges Won’t Seek Retention Re-election

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two Tennessee appellate court judges have notified Gov. Bill Haslam that they will not run for another term on the bench in the August 2014 retention election.
Patricia J. Cottrell, a judge on the Court of Appeals, and Joseph M. Tipton, who sits on the Court of Criminal Appeals bench, will both leave after September of next year.
The announcements come after the state legislature left Tennessee without a way to replace judges who step down or die when a commission expires at the end of next month.
Members of the soon-to-be-defunct Judicial Nominating Commission will make recommendations for replacements to give to Haslam before the panel expires. Haslam will appoint the replacements from those recommendations.
Note: News release below

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TN Court of Appeals: No Right to Carry Without a Permit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled against a Brentwood man who claimed state law regulating the carrying of firearms was unconstitutional.
Leonard Embody filed a lawsuit in 2010 after state officials took away his carry permit, finding a “material likelihood of risk of harm to the public.”
The revocation came after Embody was detained by Belle Meade police in 2010 while walking with a .44-caliber black powder revolver in his hand. He was detained in 2009 while walking in Radnor Lake State Park with an AK-47-style pistol. He also has been stopped in at least three similar incidents, although he was never charged with a crime.
Embody, who represented himself, claimed in court that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives him a right to carry firearms.
According to the court, “The crux of Embody’s argument is that, as a law-abiding citizen, the legislature may not constitutionally bar him from carrying loaded firearms in public.”

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Appeals Court Voids TennCare Legal Agreement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court has thrown out a 15-year-old legal agreement that mandated regular medical and dental care for the 750,000 children on TennCare, more than a third of all children in the state.
The Tennessean reported (http://tnne.ws/ZR2cKk ) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in an opinion published Thursday voided an agreement mandating compliance with federal requirements governing the state’s version of Medicaid. The consent decree arose out of a 1998 lawsuit alleging that children were not getting regular checkups.
Last year, a federal judge ruled that the state was in substantial compliance and dismissed the case. The appeals court upheld that ruling.
Michele Johnson, an attorney with the Tennessee Justice Center that originally filed the suit, called the court’s ruling a disappointment and said more was needed for children covered by the program.
“Our daily contact with families and professionals who care for TennCare children makes us painfully aware that TennCare continues to shortchange some children, many of whom have great needs,” Johnson said in a written statement.
Fifteen years ago, a federal court found that Tennessee was not providing adequate care to children on TennCare and a consent decree made 80 percent of children on TennCare receive regular checkups and medical and dental care.
For children in state custody, the agreement went even further, requiring the state to give all of them regular checkups and medical care. The lawsuit was known as John B., named after one of the original plaintiffs.
State lawyers sought to have the consent decree dismissed in 2006, arguing that it was no longer necessary. Lawyers for some of the children disagreed, and the case stalled through years of appeals, disagreements and allegations of improper behavior by judges.
“TennCare had vastly improved its delivery of services to enrollees, and indeed become a national leader in its compliance with the Medicaid statute,” according to the opinion.
“The ruling of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recognizes the dramatic improvements TennCare has made over the 15-year history of this case,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a written statement. “It also recognizes TennCare as a national leader in the delivery of services to children, which will continue to be a top priority in Tennessee.”
TennCare Director Darin Gordon said in a statement that they were pleased with the appeals court’s opinion.
“Today’s ruling confirms TennCare as a national leader among Medicaid programs. We are pleased that the court recognizes the dramatic improvements TennCare has made over the 15-year history of the case. We continue to strive to provide high quality comprehensive health coverage to the 1.2 million members we serve.”

Note: Statements on the ruling from TennCare director Darin Gordon and Gov. Bill Haslam are below.

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