Ceremony Welcomes New Lawyers to Practice

Members of the Tennessee Supreme Court today welcomed the latest class of attorneys to join the practice of law in Tennessee. About 60 new lawyers took part in the ceremonies at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. Following introductions and administration of the oath by Chief Justice Connie Clark, the group heard remarks from each justice and TBA President Jackie Dixon. An open house and luncheon at the Tennessee Bar Center followed the ceremonies.

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
08 - 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

IN RE THE DECEDANT ESTATE OF EDWARD LAVOY GLASSCOCK

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

John Ralph Bumpus, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Lynn Orr Chevalier.

Andrew Clark Rambo, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Clarence Bernard Glasscock.

Judge: DINKINS

This appeal arises from the denial of a petition filed by the niece of a decedent’s surviving spouse to have the decedent’s estate administered and to have a personal representative appointed. The probate court dismissed the niece’s petition for lack of standing holding that she could not proceed as next friend of her aunt because her aunt had previously appointed the decedent’s brother as her attorney-in-fact. The niece contends on appeal that she has standing to pursue the administration of the decedent’s estate in accordance Tenn. R. Civ. Proc. 17.03 because the attorney-in-fact for her aunt failed to initiate administration of the decedent’s estate. We affirm the dismissal of the petition.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DENISE DIANNE BRANNIGAN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David L. Robbins (on appeal), Elizabethton, Tennessee, and Matthew A. Carter (at trial), Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Denise Dianne Brannigan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; Melanie Futrell Widener, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Denise Dianne Brannigan, was convicted by a Carter County jury of theft of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1,000 and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit card involving a value equal to or less than $500. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed terms of 5 years for the theft conviction and 11 months and 29 days for each fraudulent use of a credit card conviction. The trial court ordered consecutive service of the 5-year sentence and two of the 11-month and 29-day sentences. In this direct appeal, the Defendant argues (1) that the trial court erred by allowing evidence of prior uncharged conduct under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b) and (2) that her sentence was excessive. After our review, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT JASON BURDICK

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Dana M. Ausbrooks, Franklin, Tennessee (on appeal), John Herbison, Nashville, Tennessee, Fletcher Long, Springfield, Tennessee, Edward T. Farmer, Springfield, Tennessee, and Carrie Gasaway, Clarksville, Tennessee (at trial) for the appellant, Robert Jason Burdick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Kim Helper, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Williamson County jury convicted the Defendant, Robert Jason Burdick, of aggravated rape and especially aggravated kidnapping, and the trial court sentenced him as a violent offender to an effective sentence of twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the State failed to prove venue; (2) law enforcement officers’ seizure of him violated his constitutional protections; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT JASON BURDICK (2)

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David A. Collins, Nashville, Tennessee, (on appeal); and Fletcher Long, Carrie Gassaway, John Herbison, and Ed Farmer, Nashville, Tennessee, (at trial) for the appellant, Robert Jason Burkick.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy Paducah Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General; Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General; and Dina Shabayek, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Robert Jason Burdick, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape. Defendant was convicted as charged by a jury and sentenced by the trial court to concurrent sentences of 20 years for each conviction. Defendant appeals his convictions and asserts that: 1) the evidence at trial was insufficient to support his convictions; and 2) the trial court erred by limiting Defendant’s cross-examination of a State’s witness and by denying Defendant the opportunity to make an offer of proof of his excluded cross-examination. Finding no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COURTNEY RASHAD FARRELL

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Emma Rae Tennent (on appeal) and Julie D’Souza (at hearing), Assistant Public Defenders, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Courtney Rashad Farrell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Rachel Sobrero and Wesley King, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

The Defendant, Courtney Rashad Farrell, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to sell or deliver 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. As part of the Defendant’s guilty plea, he agreed to a sentence of between ten and twelve years as a Range I standard offender. The plea agreement provided that the trial court would determine the length of sentence within the agreed upon range as well as whether the sentence would run consecutively or concurrently with the Defendant’s prior twelve-year sentence. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve eleven years consecutively to his prior sentence. The Defendant appeals, arguing that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


DERRICK LE’MON GOODE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Trisha A. Bohlen, Bell Buckle, Tennessee, for the appellant, Derrick Le’mon Goode.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel W. Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randales, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Derrick Le’mon Goode1, appeals as of right from the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the post- conviction court committed error in finding that neither his general sessions court counsel nor his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance as a matter of law. He cites six factual grounds supporting his claim and alleges that the cumulative effect of counsels’ errors deprived him of his right to counsel and a fair trial. After an evidentiary hearing, the post- conviction court found that the Petitioner failed to show that either counsel’s performance was deficient or that he was prejudiced by the alleged deficient performance. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


DAVID EASTON JONES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE
With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David Easton Jones, Manchester, Kentucky, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, David Easton Jones, appeals the post-conviction court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. Because due process considerations may toll the statute of limitations in this case and the post-conviction court did not make such determination, we reverse the post-conviction court’s summary dismissal of the petition and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. RICHARD CARLTON PICKARD, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joel R. Bellis, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Carlton Pickard, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Caleb Bayless, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Richard Carlton Pickard, Jr. (“the Defendant”) pled nolo contendere to one count of DUI, second offense, and one count of simple possession of Schedule IV contraband. He reserved five certified questions regarding the legality of his stop. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we hold that the Defendant is entitled to no relief. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


JOBY LEE TEAL v. THE CRIMINAL COURT OF SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joby Lee Teal, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and David Zak, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, The Criminal Court of Shelby County, Tennessee, et al.

Judge: PAGE

Pro se petitioner, Joby Lee Teal, seeks a declaratory judgment concerning the legality of his five 1988 convictions for drug offenses and the resulting concurrent five-year sentences he received as a result of a negotiated plea agreement. As grounds, petitioner argues that the sentences are void because he committed the offenses while on bail and should have received consecutive sentences. The Criminal Court for Shelby County found that declaratory judgment relief is not available to petitioner because his five concurrent sentences had expired. Upon review of the record, we affirm the denial of relief.


Judge Blocks Occupancy Certificate For Mosque

Rutherford County Chancellor Robert Corlew today stopped short of halting construction on a new mosque in Murfreesboro, but blocked local officials from issuing an occupancy certificate for it. Last month Corlew voided construction approval for the facility. At a hearing today, opponents of the mosque asked him to order county officials to halt construction at the site. He declined, saying his ruling was not enforceable until after a 30-day appeal period. The Planning Commission voted on Monday to appeal. The County Commission will take up the issue Thursday. Read more from News Channel 5


Groups Criticize Lawyer Hired by Gov. Haslam

Local and national groups are taking aim at Samar Ali, a lawyer recently hired by Gov. Bill Haslam as the new international director for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). The groups, including the Center for Security Policy and the 8th District Tea Party Coalition, depict Ali as an Islamic fundamentalist with close ties to President Barack Obama. Such claims are spurious says Clint Brewer, an ECD spokesman, who also said there were no plans to replace her. The Daily News Journal reports


State Weighs Details of Translation Mandate

About two years ago, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told state chief justices that their states must provide free translation services to parties in any court case or risk losing all federal funding. So Tennessee found the money and is set to expand translation services following a comment period on proposed new rules. But a new question has been raised about whether the state is doing enough to make sure non-English-speaking victims understand what is happening in the courtroom. While a translator is provided for victims during their testimony, once they leave the witness stand those services end. The Tennessean explores the issue


Former Judge Taylor Pleads Not Guilty

Former Hawkins County General Sessions Judge James "Jay" Taylor pleaded not guilty to 41 counts of theft of property in a Nashville courtroom today. During the hearing, the presiding judge reduced bond to $100,000 from $175,000, though Taylor returned to jail after the proceeding. He faces 12 similar charges in Hawkins County. News Channel 9 reports


Public Defender Fires Brother-in-Law

Two decades and two opinions later, Knox County Public Defender Mark Stephens is firing his brother-in-law. Stephens said he was forced to fire Mike Stone, an investigator assigned to the DUI division, after the state attorney general found that Stephens' employment of his brother-in-law violated Tennessee's Nepotism Act, though Stephens exercises no direct control over Stone. Read more in the News Sentinel


Haslam Moves Drug Courts to New Department

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced an executive order to change the management and oversight of state drug court programs as part of an ongoing effort to increase government efficiency and effectiveness. Executive Order No. 12 transfers the drug court program from the Department of Finance and Administration to the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) effective July 1. In signing the order Haslam said the transfer would reduce duplication of effort and better align the drug courts with TDMHSAS’ role as the substance abuse authority in the state. Read more in the Cannon Courier


Butler Snow Looks for Permanent Nashville Home

After adding 37 Miller & Martin attorneys, Snow, O'Mara, Stevens & Cannada is operating temporarily out of Miller & Martin's space in downtown Nashville. A spokesperson for the firm, however, tells the Nashville Business Journal that it is looking at several options for a long-tem home. The Mississippi-based firm also has an office in Memphis.


Man Admits Forging Judge's Signature

A Chattanooga man pleaded guilty yesterday to charges that he forged the signature of U.S. District Court Judge Harry "Sandy" Mattice to try to get out of prison early on parole. Shaun Steven Kidd now faces up to five years for the charge on top of separate bank fraud charges to which he previously pleaded guilty. The presiding judge set a sentencing date of Oct. 1. Read more in the Times Free Press


5 Lawyers Named as Emerging Leader Award Finalists

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville have named finalists for the 2012 Nashville Emerging Leader Awards. In the legal services category, the following five Nashville lawyers were announced: Rachel Bell with Bell & Kinslow PLLC; Christy Crider with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC; Kolin Holladay with Adams and Reese LLP; James Mackler with Bone, McAllester, Norton PLLC; and Matt Potempa with the Law Office of Matt Potempa PLLC. A networking reception with the nominees will take place June 28 at the Bound’ry. Winners in each category will be announced on July 26 at an awards ceremony at Lipscomb University’s Collins Alumni Auditorium.


Former Maury Co. Lawyer Censured

Former Maury County lawyer Rhonda D. Hooks received a public censure from the Tennessee Supreme Court on June 5. The court also ordered her to attend 10 additional hours of ethics legal education in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The court found that she filed a motion in a client's criminal case without notifying and receiving permission from the client’s current counsel; assisted a client in the unauthorized practice of law; and failed to ascertain the status and complexity of a client’s case prior to representing that client. Download the BPR notice


Murfreesboro Lawyer Takes Inactive Status

Murfreesboro lawyer Jerry Scott was transferred to disability inactive status by the Tennessee Supreme Court on June 11. He may not practice law while on disability inactive status, but may resume the practice of law after showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to return to the practice of law. Download the BPR notice


Upper Cumberland YLD Plans Golf Tournament

The Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association is sponsoring the 37th Annual Anne Cameron Golf Classic this Saturday at Ironwood Golf Course in Cookeville. The four-person team scramble raises money for the Cookeville Regional Medical Center Foundation Cancer Fund in memory of Cookeville attorney, Anne Cameron. To sign-up or for more information contact Lindsay Cameron Gross at (931) 526-3366 or lindsay@cameronyounglaw.com


 
 

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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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