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Adams v. Tennessee Department of Corrections

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 11, 2014

COREY A. ADAMS
v.
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS ET AL.

Assigned on Briefs September 26, 2013

Remanded on April 14, 2014

Appeal from the Chancery Court for Hickman County No. 12CV4694 Robbie T Beal, Judge.

Corey A. Adams, Wartburg, Tennessee, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Joseph Whalen, Solicitor General, Shauna Jennings, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction, Michael Allen, Dwight A. Barbee, Charles Bass and Derrick D. Schofield.

Frank G. Clement, Jr., P. J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Andy D. Bennett and Richard H. Dinkins, J.J., joined.

OPINION

FRANK G. CLEMENT, JR., JUDGE.

On December 4, 2011, at approximately 6:30 p.m., inmate Demichael Moore was assaulted and stabbed twenty-one times by five inmates who are members of the 52 Hoover Gangster Crips. One of the alleged attackers was Corey A. Adams, aka "Cocaine", ("Petitioner").[1] Charges were filed and a hearing occurred on December 19, 2011, at which time evidence was presented including a confidential informant's statement (Form CR-3510 -Contemporaneous Record of Confidential Informant Reliability), that was certified as reliable by Sergeant Middleton; and photographs and audio tape recordings of statements were introduced. Petitioner also made statements at the hearing denying that he assaulted inmate Moore in any fashion. Following the hearing, Petitioner was convicted of the Class A offense of assault on inmate Moore. The disposition included a twelve month restriction on receiving packages, 30 days "PST", prisoner sentence reduction credits of six months, and a two year extension of his sentence. The conviction was affirmed by the Commissioner of the Department of Correction, Derrick Schofield.

Petitioner appealed his conviction to the Chancery Court of Hickman County naming the Tennessee Department of Correction and numerous individuals in their official capacities as Respondents. Respondents subsequently filed notice that they had no opposition to granting the petition for writ of certiorari. An order issuing the writ was entered on June 1, 2012, and the certified administrative record was filed with the trial court in August 2012. Thereafter, Respondents filed a motion for judgment on the record. The trial court subsequently reviewed the record and entered judgment denying relief to Petitioner on the grounds the record demonstrated that the disciplinary board had not acted illegally, arbitrarily or exceeded its jurisdiction, and that Petitioner's due process rights were not violated.

This court rendered its opinion in this matter on November 5, 2013. See Corey A. Adams v. Tennessee Department of Corrections et al., No. M2013-00370-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 5964330 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2013). By order entered on April 14, 2014, the Supreme Court granted Petitioner's Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application for permission to appeal and remanded the case to this court to consider the issue of whether the trial court "improperly dismissed the writ of certiorari without first disposing of [Petitioner's] pretrial motions." Our discussion of that issue follows.

Analysis

Petitioner filed this petition for writ of certiorari on March 6, 2012. After Respondents filed a notice of no opposition to granting the petition for writ of certiorari, an order issuing the writ was entered. Thereafter Petitioner filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint and a motion for appointment of counsel. Petitioner also filed interrogatories directed to all respondents. Petitioner subsequently filed a motion seeking an order to compel discovery and a pleading titled "Leave to Take Deposition of Prisoner." Respondents opposed Petitioner's motions to compel discovery and for leave to take depositions.

Thereafter, Respondents filed a motion for judgment on the record. The trial court subsequently entered an order denying Petitioner relief. This appeal followed and the sole issue for this court to consider on remand is whether the trial court erred by dismissing the writ of certiorari without first disposing of Petitioner's motions.

It goes without saying that the better practice is for a trial court to rule on pending motions prior to disposing of cases on the merits. Such an omission gives the impression that a litigant is being ignored, but it also makes appellate review more difficult without an order specifying reasons for a trial court's ...


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