Senate Passes Bill to Replace Court of the Judiciary

Tennessee senators voted on Thursday 30-0 to replace the Court of the Judiciary with a new 16-member board called the Board of Judicial Conduct, which would be appointed by judges, legislative leaders and the governor. The board would be comprised of 10 judges and 6 non-judges. The measure, SB 2671, also sets up a procedure for investigating complaints against judges and requires the board to report regularly to the legislature on how grievances are resolved. A companion bill is being scheduled for a vote on the House floor. 
Get details on how the panel would be appointed
The Tennessean has more

Today's Opinions

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00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
05 - TN Court of Appeals
15 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
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TN Court of Appeals

CRISTY IRENE FAIR v. STEPHEN LYNN COCHRAN
With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael S. Farley, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cristy Irene Fair.

Terrill L. Adkins, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Stephen Lynn Cochran.

Judge: SWINEY

The Trial Court dismissed this case based upon its finding that although plaintiff’s Summons was issued the day she filed her Complaint, proof of service was not made to the clerk until 412 days later, and, because plaintiff had failed to comply with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 4, plaintiff was not entitled to rely on Tenn. R. Civ. P. 3 to toll the statute of limitations. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.


FRED H. GILLHAM v. CITY OF MT. PLEASANT, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Roger Alan Maness, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Fred H. Gillham.

E. Leith Marsh, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, City of Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, Mt. Pleasant Planning Commission, Richard Hendrix, and Maury Colvett; M. Clark Spoden and Corinne Elizabeth Martin, Nashville, Tennessee for the appellees, Tennessee Aluminum Processors, Inc., and Smelter Services Corporation.

Judge: COTTRELL

A residential property owner challenged the procedures used by a planning commission and city commission in granting a rezoning application submitted by two industrial companies. The companies asked that the zoning for 95.2 acres of land be changed from agricultural to special impact industrial for the purpose of developing a landfill to dispose of salt cake produced as a byproduct of their smelting businesses. The property owner also asserted that two of the commissioners had a conflict of interest and that their participation granting the application invalidated the procedure. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss and motion for judgment on the pleadings. The trial court granted the defendants’ motions after concluding the planning commission and city commission complied with the procedural requirements of Tenn. Code Ann. §§13-7-203(a) and 6-20-215 and that the two commissioners had no conflict of interest since they had no ownership interest in the rezoning applicants. We affirm the trial court’s judgment dismissing the property owner’s complaint.


JOHN P. KONVALINKA, TRUSTEE, v. AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL GROUP, INC.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

John P. Konvalinka, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Plaintiff/Appellant, Pro Se.

Charles W. Cook, III, Nashville, Tennessee, and Robert G. Norred, Jr., Cleveland, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellee American International Group, Inc.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an appeal of an order setting aside a default judgment. The plaintiff obtained a default judgment against the defendant. The defendant then filed a motion to set aside the default judgment, which was granted. The order setting aside the default judgment was certified as final pursuant to Rule 54.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiff now appeals. We find that Rule 54.02 certification was improvidently granted, and we dismiss the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction.


REGIONS BANK V. BRIC CONSTRUCTORS, LLC, F/K/A BRIC CONTRACTORS, LLC, AND PATRICIA MCINTOSH
CORRECTION: The opinion filed in this case on December 13, 2011, is withdrawn. The court has refiled the opinion with changes on pages 32-34 under the subheading “Forged Signatures"

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Brad Scarbrough, Chris Holleman, and Timothy A. Bishop, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellants Bric Constructors, LLC, f/k/a Bric Contractors, LLC, and Patricia McIntosh.

David M. Smythe, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellee Regions Bank.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an action to collect a debt and to recover collateral. The defendant LLC obtained a line of credit from the plaintiff bank. The LLC borrowed against the line of credit to purchase certain property, and the property was pledged as collateral. Several months later, the line of credit was converted into a fixed amount loan over a longer term, and a new security agreement was executed pledging the same collateral. On the same day, the LLC obtained another line of credit secured by the LLC's accounts receivable. The next day, the LLC took an advance on the new line of credit. The LLC made monthly payments on both obligations for almost a year, and then it defaulted. The plaintiff bank filed this lawsuit against the LLC and its principal to collect on the loans and to recover the collateral. The LLC contended that the principal of the LLC did not sign key documents, did not authorize advances, and did not authorize the pledge of the collateral. After a bench trial, the trial court held in favor of the bank based on, among other things, its finding that the principal of the LLC had ratified any allegedly unauthorized advances made under the lines of credit. The defendants now appeal. We reverse the finding of ratification as to one advance and remand for further findings; in all other respects, the decision of the trial court is affirmed.


MOHINDER N. SUD, v. MAN KENG HO, a/k/a SIMON HO, et al.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Dail R. Cantrell, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Soon Lee Pang.

John M. Foley, Knoxville, Tennessee, and Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mohinder N. Sud.

Judge: FRANKS

The Trial Court held Man Keng Ho liable for unpaid rents on commercial property that Ho had leased from his landlord. Ho claimed against Soon Lee Pang, appellant, on the grounds that Pang was the guarantor on the lease. At the subsequent trial between Ho and Pang, Ho acting as an interpreter for Pang, the Trial Court entered Judgment against Pang for the full amount of the Judgment against Ho as guarantor under the terms of the lease. Pang then filed a Rule 60 Motion seeking relief from the Judgment, principally on the grounds that he was entitled to an interpreter and the Trial Court erred in utilizing his co-defendant, who had an interest in the case, as Pang's interpreter. The Trial Court overruled the Rule 60 Motion and Pang appealed to this Court. We hold that the Trial Court abused its discretion in not complying with Rules 41 and 42 of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, and remand for a retrial on the merits.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. FREDRICK DARNELL ALEXANDER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Caesar Cirigliano, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Fredrick Darnell Alexander.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Andrea Green, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Frederick Darnell Alexander, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of the sale of less than. 5 grams of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school. As a result, he was sentenced to twelve years in incarceration, to be served at one hundred percent. Appellant appeals the conviction, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction and that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress Appellant’s statement to police. After a review of the record, we conclude that the evidence, although mostly circumstantial, was sufficient to show that Appellant sold cocaine to an undercover officer within 1000 feet of a school. Further, Appellant not only failed to raise any issue with regard to the motion to suppress in a motion for new trial but also failed to a provide a transcript of the hearing on the motion to suppress. Therefore, Appellant is not entitled to relief unless there is plain error. The record is not clear as to what happened in the trial court because of the lack of a transcript of the suppression hearing. Therefore, we will not review the issue for plain error. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


TOMMY EARL JONES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Tommy Earl Jones, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Tommy Earl Jones, appeals from the trial court’s dismissal of his petition for postconviction relief based upon its finding that the petition was filed after the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. We find the State’s motion has merit. Accordingly, the motion is granted and the judgment of the Circuit Court is affirmed pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOSEPH L. LANDS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ryan B. Feeney, Selmer, Tennessee; and Christopher F. Donovan, Memphis, for the appellant, Joseph L. Lands.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Bob Gray, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Joseph L. Lands, pled guilty to vehicular homicide by intoxication, and he intended, pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2), to reserve the following certified question of law for appeal: “Whether proof of actual attempts by law enforcement officers to obtain a lawful warrant must be placed on the record before the court may find that exigent circumstances exist, such that the warrant requirement can be excused?” After review of the entire record, we conclude this appeal must be dismissed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PRINCETON MOODY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Larry E. Fitzgerald (on appeal); William Massey and Lorna McClusky (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Princeton Moody.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pamela Fleming and Garland Erguden, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Princeton Moody, was convicted in the Shelby County Criminal Court of second degree murder, a Class A felony; aggravated assault, a Class C felony; and reckless endangerment, a Class E felony. The trial court subsequently sentenced the defendant as a Range II offender to twenty years at 100 percent for the second degree murder conviction, eight years at thirty-five percent for the aggravated assault conviction, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for the reckless endangerment conviction, with the murder and aggravated assault sentences to be served consecutively to each other, for a total effective sentence of twenty-eight years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his second degree murder conviction and argues that the trial court erred by admitting a hearsay statement as an excited utterance, in ruling that the State could impeach his testimony with his prior convictions for reckless endangerment, in admitting the victim’s medical records, and in allowing the medical examiner to testify with respect to an autopsy report that she did not create. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TIMOTHY L. MORTON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Steven M. Garner (on appeal) and Ernest W. Williams (at revocation hearing), Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy L. Morton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; Kelly A. Lawrence, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Timothy L. Morton, appeals the revocation of his probation, claiming that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation and ordering execution of the original effective sentence of three years. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. VERNON MOTLEY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Claiborne H. Ferguson and Samuel Rodriguez, III, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vernon Motley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Jennifer Nichols, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Vernon Motley, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that: (1) the trial court gave an improper jury instruction on premeditation; (2) the trial court erred when it did not grant the defendant’s motion for a mistrial based on a Brady violation; (3) the trial court erred when it allowed testimony of the victim’s dying declaration to include information concerning the motive for the killing; and (4) the State’s argument during closing was improper and amounted to plain error. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


JACOB L. PEACHY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Luke A. Evans and Caleb B. McCain, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jacob L. Peachy.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jude P. Santana, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Jacob L. Peachy, appeals the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, pled guilty to attempted aggravated burglary, a Class D felony, in exchange for a sentence of two years in confinement. On appeal, he contends that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, the petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective by improperly advising him that his sentence was to be served on probation. Following careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


JOHNNY J. PETERSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
With Concurring Opinion

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Johnny J. Peterson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Kirby May, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Johnny J. Peterson, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his first degree murder and attempted first degree murder convictions. On appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ELGENE KENTEA PORTER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Mitchell E. Shannon, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Elgene Kentea Porter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Tornton, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; J. Paul Newman, Assistant District Attorney General; and Jude Santana, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, the State of Tennessee

Judge: WOODALL

A Rutherford County Grand Jury returned an indictment against Defendant, Elgene Kentea Porter, for aggravated rape, aggravated robbery, and misdemeanor evading arrest. Defendant was convicted of aggravated rape, robbery, and evading arrest. The trial court sentenced Defendant to twenty-five years at 100% for aggravated rape, six years at 30% for robbery, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for evading arrest, to be served as an effective thirty-oneyear sentence in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the rape kit into evidence and that the evidence was insufficient to support his robbery conviction. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


TARINA SIMMONS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joshua L. Brand, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tarina Simmons.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Ben Ford and Janice Norman Ware, Assistant District Attorney Generals, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Tarina Simmons, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, entered best-interest guilty pleas to two counts of second degree murder and was sentenced to concurrent sentences of thirty-five years. Thereafter, she filed a post-conviction petition alleging that her guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered based upon the ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, she contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) failing to adequately consult with her about the plea process and review the evidence against her; (2) overemphasizing the possible number of years the petitioner could receive in jail, resulting in the pleas being coerced; and (3) allowing the petitioner to proceed when her mental state was not stable enough to allow her to properly participate in the process. Following review of the record, we find no error and affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRANDON L. SMITH

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James W. Clements, III, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandon L. Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and David McGovern, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Brandon L. Smith, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and agreed to be sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the defendant to thirteen years and six months to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred when it: (1) relied upon hearsay statements contained in the presentence report at sentencing; and (2) denied him an alternative sentence. Following review of the record, we conclude that the defendant’s first claim has been waived and his second claim is moot. We affirm accordingly


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOEL SCOTT STEPHENS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Blake Sempkowski, Morristown, Tennessee, for appellant, Joel Scott Stephens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Dan Armstrong, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Hamblen County Criminal Court jury found the appellant, Joel Scott Stephens, guilty of driving on a revoked license and violating the financial responsibility law. He was found not guilty of evading arrest. The trial court sentenced the appellant to a total sentence of six months in the Hamblen County Jail, with ninety days to be served in confinement. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court’s imposition of ninety days of confinement. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CAROL ANN TULLY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Wendy S. Tucker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carol Ann Tully.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rebecca Valiquette, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Carol Ann Tully, pled nolo contendere to DUI, first offense, and properly reserved a certified question of law to appeal pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2), after her motion to suppress evidence was denied. Defendant asserts that there was not a valid basis for the traffic stop which directly led to her arrest and that she was therefore subjected to an unconstitutional stop and seizure. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


RAY TURNER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ray Turner, Pro Se, Tiptonville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

In 2008, a Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Ray Turner, of one count of conspiracy to deliver 300 grams or more of cocaine and one count of delivering 300 grams or more of cocaine. This Court affirmed the Petitioner’s convictions on appeal. See State v. Kenneth Miller and Ray Junior Turner, No. M2008-02267-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 1644969 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Apr. 22, 2010). The Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief, in which he alleged that his indictment was void because the State improperly amended the indictment to include that he committed the offenses in a school zone and that the trial court erred when it sentenced him. On appeal, he contends the habeas corpus court erred when it dismissed his petition. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the habeas corpus court’s judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TRAY TURNER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joseph A. Fanduzz, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tray Turner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Ta Kisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Tray Turner, appeals as of right from a jury conviction for aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, in the Criminal Court for Knox County. Following a sentencing hearing, the court imposed a sentence of 14 years incarceration at 100 percent service. The Defendant contends (1) that the State presented insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction for aggravated robbery and (2) that the trial court erred in ordering him to serve 100 percent of his sentence. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Haslam Still Wants to Avoid Popular Judicial Elections

Governor Bill Haslam says lawmakers’ alternative to how the state picks judges still does what he wants, which is avoid subjecting judges in Tennessee to popular election. WPLN has more


Editorial: Lawmakers Must Be Ready for Health Care Decision

In an editorial, the News Sentinel says that the U.S Supreme Court’s decision about the Affordable Care Act will affect Tennesseans either way it goes and that the state legislature must be poised to act. “The Legislature has put off setting up a health care exchange, with the Republican majority betting on the law's demise,” the paper says. “But if it passes, lawmakers must act before the end of the year or allow the federal government to create one. And if the law is struck down, it must be replaced with a law that addresses the failures of the health care system that gave birth to the law in the first place.” Read the editorial


Justices Take Secret Vote on Health Care Case

After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the U.S. Supreme Court justices were set to vote on the fate of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul this morning. It was to be a secret vote that can be changed, but it will set the course for the work they will undertake before they come out with an answer on the historic health care case this summer. WKRN has more


Collecting Juvenile Fees at Issue

Commissioners on the Cumberland County Budget Committee are concerned about revenue lost when the court stopped collecting fees from juveniles charged and held in county facilities. General Sessions Judge Larry Warner explained in a recent meeting that the court stopped charging juveniles the fees because they were not collecting fees from adults either, and he felt that could be a problem. When a commissioner suggested that the practice should not have been stopped because the county needs the money, Warner countered, "The jail isn't there to make money. Maybe the county should have built a Wal-Mart or a store if you wanted to make money." The Crossville Chronicle details the exchange


Haslam Defends Death Tax Stance to Wall Street Journal

In a March 24 editorial, the Wall Street Journal declared Gov. Bill Haslam "the main obstacle to reform" of Tennessee's inheritance tax. Now Haslam has replied with a letter to the editor of the publication that appears under the headline, "I'm Not the Problem on Death Tax Reform." The News Sentinel has more


ABA Asks Law Schools to Check Debt Numbers

Law schools are being asked to double-check figures on average student debt submitted to the American Bar Association after some school officials raised concerns that they may have underreported the figure. The problem came to light after U.S. News & World Report published lists of schools this week with the highest and lowest average student debt. Law schools were supposed to provide the ABA figures on total law school debt for 2010-2011 graduates. Some schools, however, apparently provided the amount of debt incurred by graduating students for just one year of their studies. The debt figures are not used by U.S. News in compiling its rankings, according to Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News. Learn more from the ABA Journal


Judge Overturns Virginia Tech Fine

A U.S. Department of Education administrative judge yesterday overturned a $55,000 fine levied against Virginia Polytechnic Institute for its handling of the April 16, 2007, on-campus massacre that left 32 people dead before the shooter committed suicide. Judge Ernest Canellos found that, contrary to the department's earlier findings, the university did issue a warning about a threat on campus in a reasonable amount of time and did not violate provisions of the federal Clery Act in how it managed campus security before and during the shootings. The case marked the first-ever appeal of a fine issued by the department under the Clery Act, which lays out campus security requirements. The Blog of Legal Times reports


Attorney for Trayvon's Family Speaks Out

Florida attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Trayvon Martin’s family, at first counseled them to be patient when there was no arrest in the boy’s shooting death. But now after more than a month, Crump has abandoned that advice. "I believed in my heart of hearts they were going to arrest him," Crump said Thursday in an interview speaking about George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who killed Martin. Read the AP’s detailed interview with Crump on WRKN


Oak Ridge Lawyer Harry Lillard Dies

Long-time Oak Ridge attorney, alternate city judge and former county attorney Harry Lillard died Thursday, March 29. He was 81. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1955. Mr. Lillard volunteered for the U.S. Navy after passing the Tennessee bar exam and served two years in charge of the legal office for Submarine Squadron 6. He then began practicing law in Oak Ridge. He was elected president of the Anderson County Bar Association in 1979. The family will receive friends on Monday from noon to 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Oak Ridge. The funeral will follow at 2 p.m., with burial at Oak Ridge Memorial Park with military honors led by the Tennessee National Guard Honor Guard. Members of the Anderson County Bar Association will serve as honorary pallbearers. Read Mr. Lillard's obituary


Gingrich Campaign Doesn't Want Campfield at Convention

Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign has asked that state Sen. Stacey Campfield not be seated as a Tennessee delegate to the Republican National Convention, even though he won election as a delegate in Super Tuesday voting. Campfield served as co-chairman of Gingrich's campaign, but then resigned that post and endorsed Rick Santorum for the Republican presidential nomination on the weekend before Tennessee's primary vote. The News Sentinel has more


 
 

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