Advice: How Young Women Lawyers Can Succeed

The number of female lawyers in large law firms doesn’t tell the whole story, as the tally for female lawyers in leadership positions is still "depressingly low," says Colin O'Keefe, who is editorial manager at LexBlog Inc. He interviews attorney-mediator and Forbes blogger Victoria Pynchon about the numbers and the hope they give. If you want the law to be your career, she says to young female lawyers, and if you want to practice the most sophisticated and complex law with the brightest people in the world, here’s some good advice for you. Watch the interview from Forbes

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
05 - 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

AUNDREY MEALS, as Natural Parent, Guardian, and Next Friend of WILLIAM MEALS v. FORD MOTOR COMPANY
CORRECTION to the DISSENT: The only changes are in the language in the first paragraph on page 1 and in the second and third paragraphs on page 7 but they caused the pagination to change.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Judge: KIRBY

I concur with most of the majority’s thorough opinion. I must dissent from the majority’s decision to suggest a remittitur of the jury verdict, from a total $43.8 million to $12.9 million. Respectfully, nothing in the majority opinion states a basis under the law for such a remittitur. In the absence of a basis under the law for remittitur, I believe that the majority’s decision amounts to a policy determination, limiting the size verdict a jury may award. It may be that our Legislature can appropriately make such a policy decision, but the courts are not authorized to do so.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Jeffery C. Kelly, District Public Defender; William L. Francisco, Assistant Public Defender (at trial); and Steve McEwen, Mountain City, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, Kevin Fritz Edwards.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; and Fred Lance, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Kevin Fritz Edwards, was indicted by the Unicoi County Grand Jury of one count of aggravated sexual battery. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-504(a)(4). Following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted of the lesser-included offense of attempted aggravated sexual battery. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-12-101, -13-504(a)(4). In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction for attempted aggravated sexual battery; (2) that the trial court abused its discretion by excluding evidence of the victim’s prior false accusation of sexual battery; (3) that the trial court abused its discretion by excluding evidence of other prior allegations of sexual abuse and sexual abuse counseling pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Evidence 412; (4) that the trial court abused its discretion by not allowing him to impeach the testimony of the victim’s mother; and (5) that the trial court erred by denying the Defendant an alternative sentence because it considered a psychosexual evaluation which was based on “unreliable scientific tests.” Following our review, we conclude that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the Defendant’s conviction for attempted aggravated sexual battery. Accordingly, we reverse and dismiss the judgment of the trial court. We will also address the remainder of the Defendant’s arguments so as not to pretermit his remaining issues. See State v. Parris, 236 S.W.3d 173, 189 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2007) (following a similar procedure).


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Neil Umsted, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nichlous Maxwell.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Nichlous Maxwell, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that trial and appellate counsel were ineffective for failing to argue for a jury instruction on facilitation of a felony. Following our review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Perry A. Craft, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan Wade Rosson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Charles Michael Layne, District Attorney General; and Jason M. Ponder, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


On March 20, 2009, the defendant, Jonathan Wade Rosson, was convicted of solicitation of a minor to commit aggravated statutory rape, a Class E felony. He was sentenced to two years, with 120 days to be served in confinement in the county jail and the remainder to be served in community corrections as a condition of probation. The defendant appeals his conviction and sentence on numerous grounds, claiming that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (2) he was deprived of a fair trial by the State’s failure to preserve all of the videotape footage taken by all of the surveillance cameras located in the building where the incident occurred on the day in question; (3) the trial court erred by admitting copies of videotape footage preserved from two surveillance cameras into evidence; (4) the statute under which he was convicted is unconstitutionally vague, both facially and as applied to him; and (5) a state law rendering him ineligible for work release programs while serving his sentence that was enacted after the commission of his offense violates the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution by virtue of retroactively increasing the punishment for his crime. After carefully reviewing the record, the relevant laws and precedent, and the arguments of the parties, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


L. Samuel Patterson, Columbia, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Javoris Sparkman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; T. Michael (Mike) Bottoms, District Attorney General, and Kimberly Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Maury County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Javoris Sparkman, of one count of first degree murder, two counts of felony murder, and nine counts of attempted first degree murder. For the first degree murder in count one, Sparkman received a sentence of life. The trial court merged the first degree felony murder in count two with the first degree murder in count one. For the first degree felony murder in count four, Sparkman received another life sentence, to be served consecutively to the sentence of life for the first degree murder in count one. For each attempted first degree murder, Sparkman received a sentence of fifteen years, to be served concurrently. In total, Sparkman received two sentences of life plus 15 years. On appeal, Sparkman argues the trial court erred in (1) failing to charge the jury with self-defense; (2) refusing to allow individual voir dire of prospective jurors; (3) refusing to excuse a juror with prior knowledge of the case; and (4) denying a motion for change of venue. Upon our review, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed, except for counts one and two which are vacated and the case is remanded for entry of a single judgment reflecting the merger of counts one and two.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mack T. Transou, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Nicholas White Spangler, Assistant Attorney General for the Appellee, Dwight Barbee, Warden.

Judge: GLENN

The Petitioner, Mack Transou, appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the order pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Today's News

Sealing Conservatorship Case Raises Concern

Last week, 7th Circuit Court Judge Randy Kennedy sent the media out of his courtroom and sealed the entire case file for a conservatorship case involving actress Reese Witherspoon’s father. He said the prejudice that would befall the Witherspoon family outweighs the public’s right to know. But a national advocacy group says that in general, blocking access can hinder efforts to curb guardianship abuse and prevents the public from performing its watchdog role over the court system. The Tennessean has the story

Coleman Retrial May Not Include Mention of One Victim

When Vanessa Coleman is tried for a second time in a January 2007 torture slaying, one of the victim's name will not be on the indictment. Coleman's lawyer, Ted Lavit, told Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood on Thursday that he intends to file a motion also asking the judge to bar prosecutors from introducing testimony or evidence related to Christopher Newsom's death, including photographs of his burned body. Lavit says Coleman was exonerated on all counts related to Newsom. Prosecutors Leland Price and TaKisha Fitzgerald have not yet weighed in on Lavit's position that evidence on Newsom's death should be excluded since Lavit has not yet filed a written motion. The News Sentinel reports

Jefferson County Bar Elects Officers

Jeremy Ball has been elected president of the Jefferson County Bar Association. He is assistant district attorney for the 4th Judicial District. N. Craig Strand with O'Neil, Parker & Williamson, is the vice president, and treasurer is attorney Jill Talley.

Memphis Street Named For Bailey

A street in Memphis has been renamed to honor civil rights activist and retired judge D'Army Bailey. WREG has this video

New Law Would Allow Nonviolent Criminals to Clear Records

Tennesseans who have committed certain nonviolent crimes will be able to have their criminal records expunged for a $350 fee under a bill expected to become law July 1. The legislation, sponsored by state Rep. Karen Camper and state Sen. Reginald Tate, both D-Memphis, passed by a wide margin earlier this year. Tennesseans convicted of a single felony or misdemeanor for nonviolent theft, certain types of fraud, vandalism, or other nonviolent crimes may qualify. They must have stayed crime-free for the past five years and paid all restitution and penalties. The Commercial Appeal has more

Calling to Family Law Takes 'Unique Constitution'

Memphis lawyer Leigh-Taylor White practices family law and credits her "unique constitution" to be able to handle all the emotion of the stories she hears. “It’s some of the most personal things you can go through, and what you don’t need is someone that’s going to cater to every whim and get riled up with you," she says of her ability and love of her job. "You need someone who’s going to advise you calmly.”  Read more about her in the Memphis Daily News

Woman Who Returned Boy to Russia to Pay Damages, Child Support

A former Shelbyville woman, Torry Hansen, who sent her adopted son back to Russia two years ago was ordered Thursday to make monthly child support payments and pay damages in the case. Hansen was ordered by Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell to pay damages of $150,206 for breach of contract, legal fees and back child support for the boy, plus an additional $1,000 per month of child support starting June 1 until he turns 18. He is 10. When he was 8, Hansen sent the boy back to Moscow alone on a plane with a letter saying he was violent, had psychological problems and that she didn't want him anymore. The Shelbyville Times-Gazette has more


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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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