Law Day Events Planned Across Tennessee

Legal organizations across the state are preparing to mark Law Day 2012, and TBA President Danny Van Horn is encouraging lawyers to get involved: "Law Day provides an important opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the unique elements of our legal and judicial systems," he said today. "Legal organizations across the state are holding events and activities to celebrate the rule of law and foster greater understanding of the American judicial system. All Tennesseans are encouraged to get involved." Beginning with a celebration tomorrow in Columbia, events continue throughout the month of May. In addition, the TBA will announce the winners of its You Tube contest and art and essay contests next week in conjunction with the celebration. View a calendar of events

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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


Robin Gunn, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lewis S.

N. David Roberts, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Matthew V. and Carlene V.


Father appeals from an order terminating his parental rights, claiming that the order failed to make sufficient findings regarding grounds for termination. We reverse in part, vacate and remand for the preparation of an order that contains the requisite findings of fact and conclusions of law.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David K. Calfee, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Drew David Kirkman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Robert Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Drew Robinson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Drew David Kirkman, appeals the Bradley County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner stands convicted of two counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated robbery and is currently serving an effective sentence of life in prison plus twenty years. On appeal, the petitioner contends that the postconviction court erred in denying him relief because he was deprived of his right to the effective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective by: (1) failing to adequately prepare for trial and communicate with the petitioner; (2) arguing the motion to suppress on the day before trial which precluded proper review by the trial court; (3) failing to strike two jurors from the panel; and (4) failing to perfect and present a mental defense. Following review of the record, we find no error and affirm the denial of the petition.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Nigel Marlin Reid, Sr., pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Nigel Marlin Reid, Sr., filed in the Hamblen County Criminal Court various motions, including a motion to reopen, which the court treated as a petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition, and the petitioner appeals. The State filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Upon review of the record and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the post-conviction court properly dismissed the petition. Accordingly, the State’s motion is granted, and the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

With Concurring Opinion

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, David Mills, Warden.

Robert L. Vogel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellee, Author Ray Turner.


The State appeals the Morgan County Criminal Court’s order granting habeas corpus relief to the Petitioner, Author Ray Turner, and allowing him to withdraw his guilty pleas. The State argues that the Petitioner is not entitled to withdraw his guilty pleas because the thirty percent release eligibility for his two aggravated rape convictions was not a material element of his plea agreement. Upon review, we affirm the habeas corpus court’s judgment allowing the Petitioner to withdraw his guilty pleas if he cannot reach an agreement with the State and remanding the case to the Davidson County Criminal Court for further proceedings.

Attorney Accused of Forging Judge's Signature

Hamilton County attorney Andrew Stinnett has been charged with forging Judge Howell People's signature on an order of protection for one of his clients. The client quotes Stinnett as saying, "I'm friends with Judge Peoples so we don't need to go back to court." When Peoples found out about the possible forgery, he contacted the district attorney, WDEF News Channel 12 reports. Stinnett is currently suspended for practicing law while suspended and not informing clients he was suspended. He will be back in court May 1 on the criminal charges.

No Automatic Action Against Judge Charged with DUI

A drunk driving charge filed Tuesday against Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry Lynn Smith won't impact his ability to hear cases for now according to two state agencies. A spokeswoman with the state Administrative Office of the Courts said Tuesday "it's just too soon for us to comment" on Smith's arrest but "an arrest for a misdemeanor does not preclude a judge from hearing cases." Timothy Discenza, disciplinary counsel for the Court of the Judiciary, said no automatic sanctions are activated against Smith with his arrest and it is too early to speculate on what action the court might take. The News Sentinel has more

Henry Returns to Legislature

State Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, returned to the legislature today and attended Senate Finance Committee proceedings. The 85-year-old lawmaker was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Tuesday for tests after he experienced high blood pressure and felt dizzy in a caucus meeting. The Memphis Daily News reported the update

House Passes 'Loser Pays' Bill

After more than two hours of debate, the Tennessee House voted 58-38 yesterday for a "loser pays" system that allows judges to assess fees of up to $10,000 on plaintiffs who bring suits determined to have "no basis in fact or law." Opponents contend the bill, HB 3124, will intimidate average citizens from going to court against big corporations. Several amendments were offered and defeated, including one that would have required defendants to pay plaintiff’s costs if their motions to dismiss are denied. The measure now goes to the Senate, where it was expected to be considered today. The News Sentinel has more

House Panel Votes Down 'Guns in Trunks' Bill

A House committee voted Tuesday to kill a guns measure that has pitted firearms advocates against business groups. The bill, backed by the National Rifle Association, allows anyone with a handgun carry permit to store loaded guns in vehicles parked on company lots — regardless of employers' wishes. The committee voted 15-8 to send the measure to a summer study committee. Advocates of the bill, however, are pushing for a floor vote despite the move. The Tennessean has details

Haslam's Budget Moving to Senate Floor

Gov. Bill Haslam's $31 billion spending proposal was approved unanimously by the Senate Finance Committee last night and was scheduled for a floor vote today. The plan seeks to phase out Tennessee's inheritance tax and lower the state's sales tax on groceries. The proposal also calls for raises for state employees and more spending on construction on college campuses. Read more in The Memphis Daily News

High Court Hears Arguments on Arizona Immigration Law

The early analyses of this morning's Supreme Court hearing on parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law are in, and the consensus is that the majority of justices will likely uphold the state's effort to reduce the number of people within its borders who may be there illegally, reports National Public Radio. For an in-depth analysis of the hearing read the account at or listen to this story by NPR reporter Nina Totenberg.

Site Stores Bankruptcy Docs for Free Reading

A new website called Inforuptcy is being touted as a cheaper alternative to PACER for those accessing bankruptcy documents. The site charges the regular PACER fee for documents that are not yet in its database, but after a document is accessed, it remains in the database for future users to read for free. In addition, downloading a PDF of a case in the database costs half of the PACER fee. Inforuptcy co-founder Michael Mikikian says, “The more people who bypass and use our site instead, the more we will be able to share that information with the public.” The ABA Journal links you to the stories on the topic.

Litigation Attorney Sought in Nashville

A statewide insurance and corporate defense firm is hiring an associate attorney for its Nashville office to handle personal injury and professional negligence claims. The ideal candidate would have two to three years experience managing and litigating cases in state and federal court. Responsibilities include conducting initial claims investigations, responding to lawsuits, handling motions, conducting discovery and going to trial. Learn more on Joblink


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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.

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