Amendment to End Merit Selection Takes Giant Step

The resolution that would amend the constitution and replace the current Tennessee Plan for merit selection and retention elections took a giant step today when the House concurred on SJR 710, forwarding it to the next session of the General Assembly. While judges appointed under the new plan would face retention elections, they would do so only after being nominated by the governor and after legislative confirmation.

The legislature will apparently leave town without specifying the way that the August 2014 election of judges will be conducted -- a move that TBA President Danny Van Horn termed “irresponsible.” Watch for more details of the last few days of the 107th General Assembly in future editions of TBAToday.

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
00 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - 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


Carthel L. Smith, Jr., Lexington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marie McPeake

Laura A. Keeton, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellees, Edna Dickson, Bridgette Collette Dickson, Danny Dickson and Vickie Dickson


This appeal arises out of a four-day trial over a boundary line dispute. Numerous surveyors and other witnesses testified at trial, and many maps, aerial photographs, survey plats, deeds, and other documents were entered into evidence. The chancellor personally viewed the property in question as well. Thereafter, the court established the boundary line as set forth in the survey plat prepared by the defendants’ surveyor. The plaintiff contends that this was error. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Blakeley Dossett Matthews, Benjamin M. Rose, James Matthew Blackburn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, The Rector, Wardens, and Vestrymen of St. Andrew’s Parish, a Tennessee Corporation.

John Richard Lodge, Jr., Anthony Joel McFarland, Wendy M. Warren, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, The Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Tennessee d/b/a The Diocese of Tennessee, a Tennessee Corporation and The Right Reverend John C. Bauerschmidt.


An Episcopal parish in Nashville asserted its intention to disassociate from The Diocese of Tennessee, causing the Diocese to file a declaratory judgment action to determine whether it or the local congregation owned and controlled the real and personal property where the local congregation worshiped. The trial court determined that The Episcopal Church is hierarchical, and based on the canons and constitutions of the Church and its Diocese, ruled that the local parish held the property in trust for the Diocese. The church appealed, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Drug Testing Workers' Compensation Recipients/Retroactive Laws

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-04-17

Opinion Number: 47

Licensing Exemption for Parents’ Day Out Programs

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-04-25

Opinion Number: 48

DOJ Slams Shelby County Juvenile System

The U.S. Justice Department said today that juvenile offenders in Shelby County are denied due process rights and that black children are treated differently and more harshly than white children by the Juvenile Court. The investigation by the department’s Civil Rights Division began in August 2009 and included the review of 66,000 case files from a five-year period. Among other violations, it found repeated failures to protect children from self incrimination, failure to notify children and their parents of charges prior to hearing dates, a pattern of sending children to detention without warrants if they were arrested on weekends or holidays, a lack of thoroughness in deciding to charge juveniles as adults, and a lack of safe conditions at the detention center. And while these failures applied to all children, the DOJ said there was a verifiable and noticeable difference in how black children were treated. Read more in The Memphis Daily News or download the report

Grand Jury Praises Community Corrections, Makes Other Recommendations

The Hamilton County Grand Jury's recent report praised the county's community corrections program, saying its use of electronic monitoring is cost effective and its low rate of recidivism is remarkable. Among its many recommendations, the group suggests expanding community corrections for non-violent offenders, providing more work opportunities for inmates, increasing fees for jury service, and hiring truant officers to ensure kids are attending school. Read the full report on

Connecticut Abolishes Death Penalty

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law Wednesday that abolishes the death penalty, making the state the 17th in the nation to abandon capital punishment, and the fifth to do so in the last five years. The law is effective immediately, though prospective in nature, meaning it will not apply to those already sentenced to death. It replaces the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of release as the state's highest form of punishment. WCYB Channel 5 has the story from CNN.

Grand Jury Approves Charges for Knoxville Lawyer

A Knox County grand jury has returned theft and forgery charges against Knoxville attorney C. Edward Daniel, according to the News Sentinel. A five-count presentment returned Tuesday and unsealed today charges Daniel with stealing more than $60,000 from his former law firm, Daniel, Pemberton, Scott & Scott, between October 2004 and June 2009. He's also accused of forging a $4,619 check in October 2008 and a $7,951 check in April 2009.

Smith Asks Not to Hear DUI Cases

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jerry L. Smith requested yesterday that he not be assigned to any drunk driving cases until his own charges for driving under the influence are resolved. Presiding Judge Joseph M. Tipton agreed to the request. Smith was arrested Monday night in Knoxville after refusing a blood alcohol test. The Tennessean has more

New Rockwood City Attorney, Judge Sworn In

The city of Rockwood has a new city attorney and city judge. Greg Leffew, who previously served as city judge, was sworn into office as city attorney during the city council's Monday meeting. Taking the oath of office as the new city judge was Mark Foster. Leffew replaces Elmer Rich, who died last month after serving as city attorney for more than 40 years. Foster will preside over the once-a-week city court sessions. The News Sentinel reports

'Loser Pays' Passes Senate

State senators yesterday approved legislation creating 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." The vote was 17 to 12, with two Republican members who are also lawyers joining Democrats in opposition. The measure now heads back to the state House to approve minor Senate changes. The House originally passed the bill on Tuesday. has more

Knoxville Lawyer Dies

Knoxville lawyer Jay Arthur Garrison died Tuesday (April 24) at the age of 63. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1975 and practiced law for 35 years with the firms of Cheek, Taylor & Groover; Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley; and Holifield & Associates. A celebration of life will be held at Fountain City United Methodist Church on Monday at 7 p.m. Family will receive friends at the church from 5 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Fountain City United Methodist Church, 212 Hotel Avenue, Knoxville 37918; or the Garrison Family Endowed Band Scholarship, 120 Perkins Hall, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996. Read his full obituary

Memphis Lawyer Disbarred

Memphis Lawyer Javier Michael Bailey was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court today and ordered to pay restitution to 17 people totaling $29,867. Bailey entered a conditional guilty plea that he failed to properly communicate with clients, failed to exercise appropriate diligence on client’s cases, failed to appear for a hearing, failed to follow court orders and made misrepresentations to the court. He also was held in criminal contempt in three cases and sentenced to serve time in jail and/or pay a fine due to his failure to timely file briefs and comply with court directives. Download the BPR release for more details.

Memphis Bar Kicks off Law Week

The Memphis Bar Association is hosting a week of activities to commemorate Law Day. The celebration kicks off with the annual Law Week Launch Party set for tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. on the Court Square. All attendees are encouraged to bring a monetary or canned good donation for the Mid-South Food Bank. Learn more online

Madison County Lawyers Gather at Law Day Lunch

The Jackson & Madison County Bar Association will hold its annual Law Day Luncheon tomorrow at First United Methodist Church in downtown Jackson. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. The keynote address will be given by Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.


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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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