325 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2010), W2007-01272-SC-DDT-DD, State v. Jordan

Docket Nº:W2007-01272-SC-DDT-DD.
Citation:325 S.W.3d 1
Opinion Judge:CORNELIA A. CLARK, J.
Party Name:STATE of Tennessee v. David Lynn JORDAN.
Attorney:George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, and Lloyd Tatum, Henderson, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Lynn Jordan. Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Asst. Attorney General; James G. Woodall, Di...
Judge Panel:CORNELIA A. CLARK, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which JANICE M. HOLDER, C.J., and GARY R. WADE, WILLIAM C. KOCH, JR., and SHARON G. LEE, JJ., joined. ALAN E. GLENN, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which NORMA MCGEE OGLE and CAMILLE R. MCMULLEN, JJ., joined. ALAN E. GLENN,...
Case Date:September 22, 2010
Court:Supreme Court of Tennessee

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325 S.W.3d 1 (Tenn. 2010)

STATE of Tennessee

v.

David Lynn JORDAN.

No. W2007-01272-SC-DDT-DD.

Supreme Court of Tennessee, Jackson.

September 22, 2010

Session Heard at Nashville June 4, 2010.

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George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, and Lloyd Tatum, Henderson, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Lynn Jordan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Asst. Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; Al Earls and Jody S. Pickens, Asst. District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

CORNELIA A. CLARK, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which JANICE M. HOLDER, C.J., and GARY R. WADE, WILLIAM C. KOCH, JR., and SHARON G. LEE, JJ., joined.

OPINION

CORNELIA A. CLARK, J.

The defendant was convicted by a jury of the first degree murders of Renee Jordan, Jerry Hopper, and David Gordon, and the attempted first degree murders of James Goff and Larry Taylor, as well as leaving the scene of an accident. The jury sentenced the defendant to death for each of the first degree murders. The trial court sentenced the defendant to twenty-five years for each of the attempted murders, to be served consecutively, and to thirty days for the misdemeanor. On appeal, we hold (1) the trial court erred in ruling pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 615 that persons attending the guilt/innocence phase of the trial could not testify at the sentencing hearing; (2) the trial court's ruling regarding witness sequestration did not violate the defendant's right to a public trial; (3) the trial court erred in allowing an expert to incorporate hearsay testimony within his opinion without a limiting instruction; (4) the trial court did not err in permitting a victim's fiancee to offer victim impact testimony; (5) the prosecution engaged in improper argument during the sentencing hearing; (6) the trial court did not err in its instructions to the jury on the felony murder aggravating circumstance; (7) the various aggravating factors charged were not duplicative; (8) each of the death sentences satisfies our statutory mandatory review; and (9) the cumulative errors in this case do not entitle the defendant to relief. As to the remaining issues raised by the defendant, we agree with the Court of Criminal Appeals's conclusions and attach as an appendix to this opinion the relevant portions of that court's decision. The defendant's

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convictions and sentences are affirmed.

FACTS 1

This case arises from a shooting incident on January 11, 2005, at the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) facility in Jackson, where David Lynn Jordan (" Defendant" ) killed three people: Renee Jordan, his thirty-one-year-old wife who was employed at TDOT; Jerry Hopper, an employee of the Tennessee Division of Forestry who was at the TDOT office; and David Gordon, a motorist Defendant ran off the road en route to the TDOT garage. Defendant also shot and injured two other TDOT employees, James Goff and Larry Taylor.

State's Proof

The State's theory at trial was that Defendant first threatened and then decided to murder his wife because he believed she was having an affair with a co-worker, Johnny Emerson, and because she told him she wanted a divorce.

Johnny Emerson testified that he was employed as a mechanic at the TDOT garage where Mrs. Jordan worked. Emerson explained that he and Mrs. Jordan were " just real good friends," but acknowledged that their relationship had developed " [a] little bit" beyond a co-worker relationship. Physically, their relationship was limited to hugging and kissing. Emerson said that Mrs. Jordan had been talking about getting a divorce. On one occasion, Defendant telephoned Emerson at home regarding his relationship with Mrs. Jordan. Defendant told Emerson that he was " too old" for Mrs. Jordan and that he " needed [his] ass whooped." Emerson agreed with Defendant that he " didn't have no business doing what [he] did." Defendant also contacted Emerson's wife on numerous occasions. At some point prior to January 11, 2005, Emerson informed Mrs. Jordan that he was not going to divorce his wife. Emerson testified that he was not at work on January 11, 2005, because he was on medical leave.

Linda Sesson Taylor, an attorney in Jackson, testified that Mrs. Jordan hired her on December 14, 2004, to represent her in divorce proceedings against Defendant. She said she initially prepared the necessary documents for a contested divorce, and Mrs. Jordan told her she would have the money to pay her fee after the Christmas holiday. Taylor said she also prepared the paperwork to obtain a restraining order against Defendant, and Mrs. Jordan had an appointment scheduled for January 12, 2005.2 Taylor identified a page out of her phone message book indicating that Mrs. Jordan had called her office on January 11, 2005, at 9:56 a.m. wanting to know how much Taylor charged for an uncontested divorce.

Kevin Deberry, the next-door neighbor of Defendant and Mrs. Jordan, testified that Mrs. Jordan called him on the night of January 10, 2005, and was upset with Defendant. About an hour later, Defendant came to Deberry's house and asked Deberry to take Mrs. Jordan's dog to their house and get his house key, but Deberry refused to do so. Defendant then told Deberry if he did not take Mrs. Jordan's dog to her, he " was gonna take it over there

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and shoot it in the driveway." As Defendant turned to walk away, Deberry noticed what he believed to be a " snub-nose .38" in Defendant's back pocket. Defendant then turned around and told Deberry that he " better watch [his] back, you never kn [o]w which way the bullets are gonna fly." Deberry called Mrs. Jordan and told her to take her child and leave the house because Defendant was on his way over there. Mrs. Jordan told Deberry that Defendant had left some threatening voice mails on her phone. Defendant later called Deberry and apologized. The two men talked " for awhile" and Deberry offered Defendant a drink. Defendant declined but called back later and accepted Deberry's offer of alcohol. Deberry said that he took a half-gallon bottle of vodka to Defendant's house at about 1:00 a.m. and put it in the freezer. Although Defendant and his children were still up when he arrived, Deberry did not stay and returned home.

Kenneth Evans, Mrs. Jordan's cousin, testified that he was aware that Defendant and Mrs. Jordan were having marital problems and, on January 10, 2005, Mrs. Jordan called and told him that " she was about to have a nervous breakdown, and she was scared of [Defendant], that he was calling threatening her." Mrs. Jordan told Evans that Defendant " was on his way out to the house and that he said ... it didn't matter how many lawyers she had and how much money she had, that what he had for her wasn't going to do her any good." Evans advised Mrs. Jordan to leave the house and go to the police department, but she refused to do so, saying that Defendant had " had run-ins with the police department before. He would shoot me there whether the police was there or not, and he would probably shoot them, too." Evans then told her to come to his house, which she did. After she arrived, they took Mrs. Jordan's three-year-old daughter to Mrs. Jordan's mother's house. Evans later hid Mrs. Jordan's car at a friend's house, and they returned to Evans' home around 10:30 p.m.

The following morning, January 11, 2005, Mrs. Jordan and Evans, a TDOT " [p]arts runner," went to work. Mrs. Jordan worked in the office of the TDOT garage, which was commonly referred to as " the crow's nest." That morning, Evans was in the crow's nest with Mrs. Jordan until approximately 11:10 a.m., when he left to go pick up some parts. Ricky Simpson and James Goff were in the office with Mrs. Jordan when he left.

Vernon L. Stockton, Sr. testified that on January 11, 2005, he was employed as an equipment mechanic at the TDOT garage which was located in the same building as the crow's nest where Mrs. Jordan worked. He said he knew that Mrs. Jordan and Defendant were having marital problems. Between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. on the morning of January 11, Mrs. Jordan handed Stockton her portable phone when it rang and asked him to answer it. Stockton recognized the caller's voice as that of Defendant. Defendant asked to speak to Mrs. Jordan, but Stockton told him that she was in the restroom because she did not want to talk to him. Stockton said he later left TDOT to pick up some parts and was not present when the shooting occurred.

Sonny Grimm testified that he was riding in a Ford pickup while Paul Forsythe was driving it westbound on Lower Brownsville Road on January 11, 2005. The two men worked for Ralph's Trailers and were on their way to pick up some starter fluid for a backhoe. A green car was traveling in front of them. As they approached Anglin Lane, Grimm saw Defendant, who was driving a red pickup truck, run a stop sign and strike the green car, knocking it off the road. Grimm

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wrote down the license plate number of Defendant's vehicle; he said that Defendant continued traveling toward the TDOT garage. Grimm, Forsythe, and the driver of the green car followed Defendant to the garage. There, Grimm saw people running everywhere. Forsythe gave the driver of the green car the license plate number of...

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196 practice notes
  • McCarter v. City of Mt. Juliet, 020413 TNCIV, M2011-02547-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 4 Febrero 2013
    ...causes an injustice to the complaining party." Discover Bank v. Morgan, 363 S.W.3d 479, 487 (Tenn. 2012) (quoting State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 39 (Tenn. 2010) (further citation omitted)). In applying this standard, a trial court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the trial co......
  • Dean-Hayslett v. Methodist Healthcare, 012015 TNCIV, W2014-00625-COA-R10-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 20 Enero 2015
    ...Section 29-26-121(f)(1) appears to deprive the court of its inherent power to protect the rights of litigants, see State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 52 (Tenn. 2010) (quoting State v. Lawrence, 167 N.W.2d 912, 914 (Iowa 1969)), as well as to defend the authority and integrity of the courts. See......
  • State v. Jones, 041813 TNCRIM, W2009-01655-CCA-R3-DD
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • 18 Abril 2013
    ...harm is a factor in whether the defendant created the severe mental pain or anguish relevant to a finding of torture. State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 68 (Tenn. 2010). The evidence presented at trial established that Appellant bound and beat Mr. James to the point that ten of his ribs were fr......
  • Brown v. Brown, 091213 TNCIV, W2013-00263-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 12 Septiembre 2013
    ...assessment of the evidence, or employed reasoning that causes an injustice to the complaining party.'" Id. (quoting State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 39 (Tenn. 2010)). "If the appropriate facts are established, a trial court may relieve a party of obligations imposed in a final judgm......
  • Free signup to view additional results
196 cases
  • McCarter v. City of Mt. Juliet, 020413 TNCIV, M2011-02547-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 4 Febrero 2013
    ...causes an injustice to the complaining party." Discover Bank v. Morgan, 363 S.W.3d 479, 487 (Tenn. 2012) (quoting State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 39 (Tenn. 2010) (further citation omitted)). In applying this standard, a trial court cannot substitute its judgment for that of the trial co......
  • Dean-Hayslett v. Methodist Healthcare, 012015 TNCIV, W2014-00625-COA-R10-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 20 Enero 2015
    ...Section 29-26-121(f)(1) appears to deprive the court of its inherent power to protect the rights of litigants, see State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 52 (Tenn. 2010) (quoting State v. Lawrence, 167 N.W.2d 912, 914 (Iowa 1969)), as well as to defend the authority and integrity of the courts. See......
  • State v. Jones, 041813 TNCRIM, W2009-01655-CCA-R3-DD
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee
    • 18 Abril 2013
    ...harm is a factor in whether the defendant created the severe mental pain or anguish relevant to a finding of torture. State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 68 (Tenn. 2010). The evidence presented at trial established that Appellant bound and beat Mr. James to the point that ten of his ribs were fr......
  • Brown v. Brown, 091213 TNCIV, W2013-00263-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Tennessee Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • 12 Septiembre 2013
    ...assessment of the evidence, or employed reasoning that causes an injustice to the complaining party.'" Id. (quoting State v. Jordan, 325 S.W.3d 1, 39 (Tenn. 2010)). "If the appropriate facts are established, a trial court may relieve a party of obligations imposed in a final judgm......
  • Free signup to view additional results