Mayor Calls for More Domestic Violence Prosecutors

Last year, two domestic violence prosecutors handled 12,686 reported incidents in Davidson County, averaging about 250 cases every week. Now Mayor Karl Dean says they need help. In his budget proposal, the mayor recommends $125,000 to add two more domestic violence prosecutors, bringing the total to four. Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson supports the move saying it would increase the amount of time attorneys have to spend on cases and, in turn, increase the quality of the representation. The Tennessean has more

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
01 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - 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 Workers Comp Appeals


Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals


Steve Taylor, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephen Wheeler.

Kevin W. Washburn, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Cleo Wrap, Inc. and St. Paul Travelers.


In this workers’ compensation action, the employee suffered a fractured wrist as a result of a workplace accident. He contended that he also sustained a neck injury and post-traumatic stress disorder from the accident. The trial court awarded benefits for the wrist injury only, and the employee has appealed. We affirm the judgment.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


H. Franklin Chancey, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeremy Phillip Lawson.

Lindsi Allison Connors, Jacksonville, Florida, pro se appellee.


In this appeal, the biological father sought to revise the permanent parenting plan to be named the child’s primary residential parent. The child had been conceived during illegal sexual contact meeting this State’s definition of statutory rape; the mother, however, allowed the father to have a relationship with the child. Upon remand after an earlier appeal by the father, the trial court determined that the mother, now married and living in Florida with the child, was in contempt for failing to cooperate with the father regarding certain co-parenting issues. Despite this finding, the court refrained from imposing any punishment on the mother. The court additionally denied the father’s request to modify custody, made a modest award of attorney’s fees to the father, and held that further proceedings relating to the child be conducted in Florida. The father appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Alene S. Neal, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Shayna Abrams, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, The State of Tennessee, Department of Human Services.


The Department of Human Services determined that Plaintiff’s available resources exceeded the resource limit for purposes of Medicaid benefits in the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary category. The trial court affirmed the Department’s determination. We affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Travis N. Meeks, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nicholas Clower.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Samuel Knowlton, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Nicholas Clower (“the Defendant”) pled guilty to two counts of sale and delivery of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the Defendant was sentenced to six years’ probation on each count, to be served concurrently. Upon the filing of a revocation warrant and subsequent amended warrants, the Defendant was taken into custody, and a probation revocation hearing was held. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. The Defendant has appealed the trial court’s ruling, asserting that the trial court erred in determining that the Defendant possessed a weapon in violation of his probation and in requiring the Defendant to serve the remainder of his sentence in incarceration. Upon a thorough review of the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


D. Brent Gray (on appeal) and Robert W. Scott (at trial), Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Nathaniel Nance.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; Scarlett W. Ellis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Joseph Nathaniel Nance, was convicted of six counts of rape of a child and one count of aggravated sexual battery. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an 18-year sentence for each rape of a child conviction and a 10-year sentence for the aggravated sexual battery conviction. The court ordered consecutive service of several of the convictions, resulting in a total effective sentence of 64 years. On appeal, the Defendant raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred by excluding sexual entries from the victim’s MySpace page as irrelevant and inadmissible; (2) whether the trial court erred by allowing evidence of the victim’s prior sexual history to be used only for impeachment purposes; (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the Defendant’s convictions; and (4) whether the Defendant’s effective 64-year sentence was excessive. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of 1 the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Philip L. Duval (on appeal) and Charles Richard Hughes, Jr., and Larry D. Wright (at trial), Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Clayton Pike, Jr.

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

Judge: OGLE

A Polk County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Clayton Pike, Jr., of first degree premeditated murder and misdemeanor reckless endangerment, and the trial court sentenced him to concurrent sentences of life and eleven months, twenty-nine days, respectively. On appeal, the appellant contends that (1) the trial court should have granted his motion to suppress evidence because the search of his home was unlawful, (2) the evidence is insufficient to support the murder conviction, and (3) the trial court committed reversible error by failing to instruct the jury that it could not consider the appellant’s prior bad acts as substantive evidence. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by denying the appellant’s motion to suppress but that the error was harmless. Therefore, the appellant’s convictions are affirmed.

Today's News

Services Saturday for Columbia Lawyer

James T. DuBois, 68, of Columbia died yesterday (May 15). DuBois earned his law degree in 1970 from Vanderbilt University Law School. From 1971 to 1982, he served as U.S. magistrate for southern middle Tennessee. He ultimately was named co-owner and chairman of the board of directors of DuBois & DuBois PC and DuBois Closing & Title Services Inc. in Columbia. He was active in civic, community and bar organizations, including serving as president of the Maury County Bar Association and chair of the Real Estate Subcommittee of the TBA’s Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. Among his survivors is his son James Thomas DuBois Jr., a lawyer and former lawmaker. 

Visitation will be held Friday from 3 to 8 p.m. at Oakes & Nichols and on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. on St. Peter's Parish House lawn. Funeral services will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Burial will follow at the historic St. John's Episcopal in Ashwood. Members of the Maury County Bar Association and colleagues at DuBois & DuBois will serve as honorary pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Boy Scout Troop #103, c/o Jimmy Langsdon, P. O. Box 1018, Columbia 38402. Read more from his obituary

Former Jefferson County Judge Dies

Former Jefferson County General Sessions Judge Max Mark Moore died May 3. A 1951 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Moore spent the first 10 years of his career in the banking and insurance industry,  founding the Moore Insurance Agency during that time. In 1965, he opened a law office in White Pine and practiced there until 1982. He subsequently was appointed general sessions judge with juvenile and probate jurisdiction, and served on the bench for 16 years. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the First United Methodist Church of White Pine Building Fund, PO Box 146, White Pine 37890. Read more about his life in this obituary

Memphis Law Names Diversity Coordinator

The University of Memphis School of Law has named Jacqueline O'Bryant as its new coordinator of diversity programs. Among her responsibilities, O'Bryant will oversee the Tennessee Institute for Prelaw, actively recruit and support diverse law students, and develop additional outreach initiatives for the school. O'Bryant previously was deputy prosecuting attorney for Pulaski County, Ark., and taught as an adjunct professor at Philander Smith College in Little Rock. Earlier in her career she served as in-house counsel for Alltel Communications and worked at the Arkansas Public Defender Commission. O'Bryant earned her law degree from the Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock.

Former Judge Allegedly Did Not Pay Withholding Taxes

Former Hawkins County Sessions Judge James "Jay" Taylor reportedly failed to pay federal income tax or Social Security withholdings for his secretary for a period of seven years, though he provided her with a W-2 each year indicating the money had been paid. The IRS previously filed liens on Taylor’s real estate holdings for unpaid federal income tax, unemployment tax and penalties dating back to 1999. It now confirms, according to the Times News, that it has opened an investigation of alleged failure to pay more than $25,000 in withholding for his employee.

Federal PD Explains Decision to Step Down

After 16 years, Stephen Shankman is leaving his post as West Tennessee federal public defender. He sent his notice to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month saying he wants to opt out of another possible appointment to a new four-year term. "I'm fine. There are no health issues," he said this week, the day after the notice for applicants was posted. "It’s just time." However, Shankman did tell The Memphis Daily News that the job had become "a bit frustrating" now that federal courts deal with more "street crime and low level stuff," which he says belongs in state court.

Red Bank Judge Moving Law Office

Longtime Red Bank Judge Johnny Houston will be moving his law offices a lot closer to his bench now that council members rezoned a residence he wants to use for his firm. The house, owned by Councilwoman Floy Pierce, had been zoned residential, which would have precluded Houston from setting up an office there. The new office will be located at at 1117 Dayton Blvd. has more

Middle School Students Observe Juvenile Court

Students from Inman Middle School in Paris were in the Henry County Juvenile Courtroom a few days ago to observe the morning session of the court as part of a tour of the county’s criminal justice system. After the session, students had a question-and-answer session with those involved with the juvenile court, including General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Vicki Snyder, Paris Police Chief Chuck Elizondo, Assistant District Attorney General Scott Rich, Assistant Public Defender Tas Gardner and Circuit Court Clerk Mike Wilson. Each cautioned the teens about making the right choices so they won’t have to return to the court as defendants. Learn more in the Paris-Post Intelligencer


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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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