Sunday, January 20, 2019

Tennessee Supreme Court

Juvenile Cases

Tennessee Code Annotated 36-1-124(d) does not require a parent to personally sign the notice of appeal in a termination of parental rights case (Nov. 22, 2017)

Criminal Cases

Normally, a circuit court judge lacks jurisdiction to issue search warrants for property located outside of his judicial district (Sept. 26, 2018)

Tennessee Court of Appeals

Termination of Parental Rights Cases

Mother's testimony via video conference allowed in termination of parental rights case (Aug. 3, 2018)

TPR reversed because there was less than clear and convincing evidence on three grounds (May 31, 2018)

TPR reversed because father thwarted mother's attempts to visit the children (May 17, 2018)

Persistence of conditions and failure to provide prenatal support grounds reversed; TPR otherwise affirmed (April 30, 2018)

Termination of parental rights reversed because the proof did not clearly and convincingly establish abandonment (April 30, 2018)

Court of Appeals affirms trial court's conclusion that mother had not committed wanton disregard (April 25, 2018)

White County Chancery Court reversed in termination of parental rights case (Jan. 30, 2018)

Termination of parental rights reversed because lack of evidence that father knew of his child's existence (Jan. 26, 2018)

Despite father’s stipulation, DCS’s scant proof leads to reversal of decision terminating parental rights (Dec. 22, 2017)

Termination of parental rights order vacated because it was a nearly verbatim recitation of the termination petition (Dec. 22, 2017)

In termination of parental rights cases with at least one solvent party, guardian ad litems may make more than the indigent compensation cap (Nov. 7, 2017)

In all cases but one, the rights of both parents must be terminated before a third party can adopt a child (Oct. 12, 2017)

Termination of parental rights reversed because it was not in the best interest of the children (Oct. 4, 2017)

In termination of parental rights cases, substantial compliance is about effort, not outcome (July 6, 2017)

In TPRs, a child's best interest is often a delicate balance between stability and maintaining a relationship with the biological family (May 29, 2015)

Custody Cases


Tennessee Court of Appeals reverses default judgment in White County custody modification case (Sept. 28, 2017)

A frivolous appeal may cost your client the other side’s attorney’s fees (April 29, 2015)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals

If consistent with the principles of the Sentencing Act, a trial court may prevent a defendant from being eligible for work credits; however, a trial court may not prevent a defendant from being eligible for good behavior credits (Jan. 18, 2019)

Prosecutorial misconduct versus improper prosecutorial argument (Aug. 24, 2018)


Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals orders transfer of case (Jan. 17, 2018)

Improper joinder of offenses leads to reversal (Jan. 16, 2018)

Sentence of full incarceration reversed and restitution order vacated (Jan. 16. 2018)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reverses aggravated assault conviction and dismisses case (Jan. 11, 2018)

A petitioner is not entitled to effective assistance of counsel in a post-conviction hearing (Jan. 4, 2018)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirms Putnam County Criminal Court’s correction of clerical error (Jan. 3, 2018)

Convictions for sexual battery and attempted rape do not merge (Dec. 14, 2017)

First-degree murder conviction reversed after trial court refused to admit co-defendant’s statements against interest (Dec. 7, 2017)

First-degree murder conviction reversed because the trial court failed to instruct the jury on self-defense (Dec. 5, 2017)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reverses trial court’s suppression of warrantless blood draw (Dec. 1, 2017)

Police corroboration key in finding probable cause for search warrant affidavit (Nov. 29, 2017)

Driver record is not testimonial (Nov. 21, 2017)

Felony simple possession modified to misdemeanor simple possession because of a change in the law (Nov. 21, 2017)

Failure to instruct on lesser-included offense leads to reversal of sexual assault convictions (Nov. 3, 2017)

If an entire recording is admitted into evidence, the entire recording is available to the jury during deliberations (Oct. 30, 2017)

Failure to give limiting instruction leads to reversal of evading arrest conviction (Oct. 24, 2017)

First-degree murder conviction reversed in 134-page opinion (Oct. 6, 2017)

“This case should serve as a cautionary tale for any prosecutor, defense attorney, or trial court who attempts to negotiate or accept a guilty plea involving concurrent state and federal sentencing.” (Oct. 6, 2017)

Sometimes, a “win” in General Sessions is actually a loss (Oct. 3, 2017)

Police dispatcher did not act as a government agent when he prank searched a fellow dispatcher’s phone and found child pornography (Sept. 26, 2017)

Probation revocation reversed because of unreliable hearsay (Sept. 5, 2017)

Evidence suppressed because officers knocked on front door for ten to fifteen minutes while announcing their badge of authority (Aug. 29, 2017)

Collective knowledge can justify a traffic stop (Aug. 28, 2017)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirms Putnam County Criminal Court’s dismissal of superseding indictment (Aug. 25, 2017)

The statute of limitations for post-conviction petitions is one year (Aug. 21, 2017)

Failure to appear conviction reversed because of insufficient evidence (Aug. 18, 2017)

Clay County defendant’s sentence upheld (Aug. 16, 2017)

Divided appellate panel debates the proper standard for search of probationer’s home (Aug. 11, 2017)

Hindering secured creditor conviction reversed for insufficient evidence (Aug. 9, 2017)

Do not raise ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal (Aug. 7, 2017)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals orders a new sentencing hearing (July 24, 2017)

DUI blood results suppressed because blood drawn in the wrong county (July 13, 2017)

Second degree murder conviction reversed because the trial court improperly excluded witness testimony (July 6, 2017)

In order to be convicted of indirect criminal contempt, the defendant must have notice and an opportunity to be heard (June 26, 2017)

You can’t remove a juror just because she’s black (May 16, 2017)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reverses denial of judicial diversion in abuse of corpse case (May 12, 2017)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reverses restitution order in White County case (March 24, 2017)

Improperly admitted statements lead to new trial (Dec. 16, 2016)

Prosecutor’s use of rap lyrics during closing argument leads to new trial (Nov. 2, 2016)

Tampering with evidence conviction overturned (Sept. 27, 2016)

Post-conviction relief granted because of release eligibility misinformation (Sept. 9, 2016)

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirms Judge Stanley’s revocation of a defendant’s probation (March 11, 2016)

Felony vandalism conviction modified to misdemeanor vandalism because of insufficient evidence (June 5, 2015)

Failing to object to an out-of-range sentence does not waive the issue on appeal (CAUTION) (July 25, 2013)

Aggravated assault reduced to assault because PVC pipe was not used as a deadly (Feb. 27, 2012)

Post-conviction granted because defense attorney failed to obtain impeaching evidence against witness (Oct. 9, 2012)

Felony theft modified to misdemeanor theft because of insufficient evidence (Feb. 3, 2010)

Trial courts have discretion to waive court costs and fines (Aug. 31, 2005)

Laying in bed with an escapee in his mother’s home is not substantial evidence of the offense of accessory after the fact (Sept. 19, 2001)