Bill Allowing Governor to Appoint AG Gets Committee OK

The Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Tuesday that would allow the governor to appoint the state attorney general for a four-year term, subject to legislative confirmation. The measure also requires the attorney general be at least 30 years old, a licensed Tennessee attorney, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the state for at least seven years. The legislation, Senate Joint Resolution 693, is sponsored by committee chair Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, who argues a change is needed to bring more accountability to the position. The resolution requires a simple majority vote by the current General Assembly and a two-thirds vote by the next assembly. If approved, the question would then be put to voters in a November 2014 statewide referendum. has the story

Today's Opinions

Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
00 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


H. Reid Poland, III, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gregory Lee Cain.

Jonathan E. Richardson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Bonnie Jean Cain.


This appeal requires us to construe a provision of the parties’ 1987 divorce decree with respect to the amount of Bonnie Jean White Cain’s (“Wife”) share of Gregory Lee Cain’s (“Husband”) military retirement benefits. After thoroughly reviewing the record, we conclude that the trial court erred in interpreting the 1987 divorce decree. Accordingly, we reverse and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Corrin P. Fulton & Chris Helton, Chattanooga, Tennessee for Plaintiff/Appellee, Mitzi Sue Garner.

John P. Konvalinka & Jillyn M. O’Shaughnessy, Chattanooga, Tennessee for Defendant/Appellant, Robert Allen Garner.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a divorce case. The parties had two children, still minors at the time of the divorce trial. After the trial, motions to alter and amend were filed, one of which disputed the number of parenting days awarded each party. The divorce decree was amended in response to the motions to alter or amend, and the trial court ordered the parties to try to resolve the dispute on the number of parenting days and report back to the court on the issue. Without attempting such resolution, the father filed his notice of appeal. We dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Joseph A. McClusky (on appeal) and Thomas E. Hansom (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Chancy Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Patience Branham and Robert W. Ratton, III, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Chancy Jones, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to twenty-four years of incarceration. On appeal, the Defendant challenges the trial court’s exclusion of certain orders of protection, which had been sought and entered against the victim by persons unrelated to this case, and which the Defendant sought to admit in an effort to prove that the victim was the first aggressor. The trial court held that the orders of protection themselves were not relevant, but offered the Defendant the opportunity to introduce the testimony of the persons who obtained the protective orders against the victim. For his second issue, the Defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


R. Keith Hatfield, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal) and Charles A. Herman, Assistant Public Defender, LaFollette, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Jerry Phillips.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; Scarlett W. Ellis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Jerry Phillips (“the Defendant”) appeals jury convictions for four counts of aggravated sexual battery, resulting in an effective sentence of fifty-four years. Specifically, he contends that the inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony render the evidence insufficient to support his convictions. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the Defendant’s convictions.

Evans Petree Lawyers Found in Contempt

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle held three Memphis attorneys in contempt of court and ordered them to repay nearly $670,000 to consumers who thought they were buying legitimate insurance products. The Tennessean reports that Lyle found that William L. Hendricks, Russell T. "Rusty" Hensley and Theodore T. Kitai – all with the Memphis firm Evans Petree PC – were founders and officers of a firm set up to continue to sell insurance and collect premiums after the state shut down two Springfield companies operated by a client of the attorneys. The companies were closed in March 2010 when investigators found they were operating without an insurance license and were not offering legitimate insurance policies.

TLAP Mentor Recognized for Service

Memphis lawyer Bill Robilio has been named the Stephenson Todd Volunteer Attorney of the Year by the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program (TLAP). Robilio, a member of the Shelby County Public Defenders Office, has been a volunteer mentor to fellow lawyers in crisis since TLAP was established in 1999. Prior to that, he worked with Lawyers Helping Lawyers, a similar service of the Memphis Bar Association. The award was presented to Robilio at TLAP’s recent retreat at Montgomery State Park. The Commercial Appeal has comments from Judge Robert Childers, while a press release from the chief public defender praises Robilio's work.

Commissioners Out of 'Probable Cause' Business

Shelby County judicial commissioners are out of the business of holding probable cause hearings for suspects arrested by Memphis police and the Shelby County Sheriff's Office by order of the General Sessions Court. An appeal is expected. The issue arose when the Criminal Court of Appeals called into question the way some suspects are held for 48 hours before they are formally charged. The ruling came in a decision to order a new trial for a murder defendant. Learn more in the Memphis Daily News

GOP Continues to Attack President Over Court Comments

President Barack Obama's remarks earlier this week about the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration of the health care law continue to generate backlash from political opponents. In a speech today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., continued the GOP counteroffensive, telling the president to "back off" the court. "The President crossed a dangerous line this week. And anyone who cares about liberty needs to call him out on it. The independence of the Court must be defended," McConnell said. Read more on

Meanwhile, the Justice Department today made good on its promise to file a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit outlining the government's view of judicial authority to review laws enacted by Congress. The Blog of Legal Times has that story

Moore Won't Run for Re-election

State Rep. Gary Moore, D-Nashville, announced today he will not run for re-election this fall. Moore served eight years in the House and recently was elected president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council. He becomes the seventh Democratic member to retire this year. Metro Councilman Bo Mitchell, a Democrat, filed papers today to run for the seat. WPLN reports

Healthcare Forum Scheduled in Bristol

The Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., and Wellmont Health System will sponsor a panel discussion on the legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Monday. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Monarch Auditorium at Bristol Regional Medical Center. A reception will follow. On Tuesday, the law school will host Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – a key figure in the case against the law – who will meet with faculty, staff and students. For more information contact Saundra Latham at the law school at or (276) 935-4349, Ext. 1240.

Lawyers to Bowl for Good Cause

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee is hosting a bowling event for the legal profession, called "Lawyers for Littles," to raise money for the organization. The event will take place April 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Nashville's Hillwood Strike and Spare. Five-person bowling teams will compete for the best bowling score, team name, costumes or bowling shirts, and, most importantly, most money raised for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Those interested in forming a team or joining an existing team should contact Tom Shumate at or (615) 742-4800. Learn more about the event and register online

State Labor Department Seeks Workers' Comp Lawyer

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development is seeking qualified candidates to handle benefit review for its Workers' Compensation Division. The position is located in Nashville and also includes policy development, planning, financial oversight and personnel development functions. Interested candidates should submit a resume, letter of interest and salary history to Jeff Francis, Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, 220 French Landing Dr., Nashville, 37243. Learn more on JobLink


Questions, comments: Email us at

About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

© Copyright 2012 Tennessee Bar Association