Tennessee Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments For September Docket In Knoxville

September 6, 2022

­ The Tennessee Supreme Court has two cases set for its September 7, 2022 docket. The cases will be heard in Knoxville, Tennessee, beginning at 9:00 a.m., EDT. The cases will be livestreamed to: https://www.youtube.com/user/TNCourts/featured. The details of the cases are as follows:

  • State of Tennessee v. Johnny Summers Cavin – After breaking into a barn and stealing hand-hewn hardwood, Defendant entered guilty pleas to burglary of a building and theft of property valued at more than $2,500 but less than $10,000. The parties agreed that Defendant would serve four years on supervised probation. At a later-scheduled restitution hearing, the trial court ordered Defendant to pay $5,500 in restitution. Defendant appealed arguing that the trial court erred by ordering restitution because the alleged pecuniary loss was not substantiated by the proof and because the amount was unreasonable considering his financial ability to pay. The Court of Criminal Appeals, in a two-to-one decision, dismissed the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, concluding that the judgment was not final for purposes of appeal. The majority held that the trial court’s failure to set a payment schedule for the restitution defeated finality. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted Defendant’s application for permission to appeal to consider whether the Court of Criminal Appeals properly dismissed the appeal.            
  • State of Tennessee v. Joseph Gevedon – Defendant crashed his vehicle into a cemetery while driving under the influence and damaged several grave monuments. He pleaded guilty to three counts of driving under the influence. The trial court sentenced Defendant to three consecutive terms of eleven months and twenty-nine days but permitted him to serve all but ninety-six hours (two forty-eight-hour periods) on probation. Later, at a separate hearing, the trial court considered probation violation warrants against Defendant and the issue of restitution. State and Defendant stipulated that he caused $30,490.76 in damage to the cemetery. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court fully revoked Defendant’s probation and also ordered restitution of the full amount of damage. Defendant appealed, arguing that restitution cannot be ordered when probation is fully revoked, that the court erred in ordering restitution without considering his future ability to pay, and that the court erred by purporting to convert the restitution into a civil judgment. A majority of the Court of Criminal Appeals declined to address the merits of the issues raised and dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, stating that there was no final judgment because the trial court had failed to specify a payment schedule for the ordered restitution. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted Defendant’s application for permission to appeal to consider whether the Court of Criminal Appeals properly dismissed the appeal.    

Media members planning to attend oral arguments should review Supreme Court Rule 30 and file any required requests.