Knoxville Mayor Honored With Award Named for Early Women's Rights Advocate

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero was awarded the first ever Lizzie French Women's Leadership Award at the East Tennessee Women's Leadership Summit on Friday. Officials said Rogero received the award for dedicating her career to creating positive and lasting change in the Knoxville community. The award is named for Lucy Crozier French, who addressed the men of the Tennessee Bar Association at its July 11, 1912, meeting in Knoxville about women's rights. She was reportedly the first woman to address the body, and in her speech (recounted verbatim in the official proceedings of the association), French says that since "we want to put Tennessee in the progressive States ... [we must] not alter simply one law concerning women here and there, but to take the whole bunch and burn it up, and begin over again." She then outlined laws that needed changing, including desertion of family by men; that mothers be made equal guardians of her children; that women should be able to vote and hold office; and that women's wages should be her own and not her husband's. French is reportedly also the first woman to address the Tennessee General Assembly, as well as the first woman to run for Knoxville City Council.

Today's Opinions

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TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Phillip Leon Davidson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sandi D. Jackson.

Debra L. Dishmon, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mitchell B. Lanphere.


In a previous appeal, this court vacated and remanded the trial court’s order dismissing a petition for an order of protection based upon the trial court’s failure to make findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Tenn. R. Civ. P. 41.02. On remand, the trial court issued an order making the requisite findings of fact and conclusions of law and again dismissed the petition. On appeal, the petitioner argues that the trial court applied an incorrect standard of proof and thereby abused its discretion. We find no merit in this argument. Therefore, we affirm the decision of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Laura A. Stewart, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Faith R.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Kelli Barr Summers, Brentwood, Tennessee, Guardian ad litem.


A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to one child. The trial court found two grounds for termination, abandonment and persistence of conditions leading to the child’s removal from the mother’s home. The finding of abandonment was based on the mother’s incarceration at the time of the filing of the petition to terminate and because the mother engaged in conduct prior to incarceration that exhibits a wanton disregard for the welfare of the child, as provided in Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-102(1)(A)(iv). The trial court also found termination was in the child’s best interest due to the fact that the mother lacked a meaningful relationship with the child, that the mother failed to make adjustments to her home and lifestyle to make it safe for a child, and that the child was happy and healthy in her foster home of over two years such that removal would have a detrimental impact on the child’s emotional and psychological condition. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Floyd Don Davis, Winchester, Tennessee for Respondent/Appellant, Lyle L. Lawton

James C. Thomas, Winchester, Tennessee for Petitioner/Appellee, Stephen Lawton

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves a conservatorship. After the parties announced in open court that they had reached an agreement on a partial conservatorship, the appellant ward stood up in court and asked to speak. The hearing was adjourned and subsequently the partial conservatorship was ordered in accordance with the agreement. The ward now appeals, arguing inter alia that the trial court erred in failing to hold an evidentiary hearing, failing to make the requisite findings, and failing to hear from the ward. We find no error and affirm.

CORRECTED OPINION: The corrections are on pages 10 and 11. In footnote 4, the date of July" 1, 2011" has been corrected to "July 1, 2012" on both pages. The second word on page 11, "determine", has been corrected to "determined".

Court: TN Court of Appeals


William B. Hubbard and Marc R. Jenkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, The City of Bolivar and the Bolivar Utility Department f/k/a Bolivar Gas System and Bolivar Water & Wastewater System.

George E. Barrett, Nashville, Tennessee and Charles H. Farmer, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellees, Hubert Morrison, Robin Baker, Jackie Cox, Kenneth Kowen, and Whiteville Auto Parts.


We granted this Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 9 interlocutory appeal to answer the question of whether the Tennessee Revenue Bond Law, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 7-34-101, et seq., permits a private right of action on behalf of Appellees, utility rate payers, against Appellants, the City of Bolivar and its utility. The trial court denied Appellants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim on the ground that Appellees could maintain a private cause of action because Tennessee Code Annotated Section 7-34-115(f) did not provide the sole remedy for violation of the statutory scheme. We hold that the Revenue Bond Law does not expressly create an individual private right of action, and that Appellees have not carried their burden to establish that the legislature intended to imply such a right. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for entry of judgment in favor of Appellants. Reversed and remanded.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


William H. Stover, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tracy Sorrell Simmons a/k/a Tray Simmons.

John R. Cheadle, Jr., and Mary K. Barnard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Middle Tennessee State University.


A former student who obtained a student loan from Middle Tennessee State University appeals the judgment of the trial court holding him liable on the student loan, including interest that accrued thereon, costs of collection, attorney’s fees and discretionary costs. Finding no error, we affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Chessia Cox, Assistant District Public Defender, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lisa Faye Allison.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and James H. Stutts, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Lisa Faye Allison, pled guilty, pro se, to one count of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine and one count of possessing less than 0.5 ounces of marijuana. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of three years, to be served on probation. The Defendant’s probation officer filed a probation violation warrant alleging that she had violated the terms of her probation. After a hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation and ordered that she serve her sentence in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it denied her request to apply for the community corrections program, improperly basing the denial on her decision to exercise her right to a hearing on the issue of whether she violated her probation. She further contends that the trial court erred because it denied her community corrections request without holding a hearing on her eligibility. After reviewing the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; L. Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

J. Branden Bellar, Carthage, Tennessee, for the appellee, Derrick Brandon Bush.


Derrick Brandon Bush (“the Petitioner”) pled guilty to two counts of attempt to commit rape in December 2000. On April 25, 2011, the Petitioner filed for post-conviction relief, alleging that his guilty plea was unconstitutional in light of Ward v. State, 315 S.W.3d 461 (Tenn. 2010), and that the one-year post-conviction statute of limitations should be tolled. After a hearing, the post-conviction court granted relief. The State appealed. Upon our thorough review of the record, we hold that the rule announced in Ward does not apply retroactively. Therefore, the Petitioner is not entitled to tolling of the statute of limitations pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-102(b)(1). We also hold that the Petitioner is not entitled to tolling on due process grounds. Thus, the Petitioner’s claim for relief is barred by the statute of limitations. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Bawer J. Tayip, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Juan Cantu.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Randall A. York, District Attorney General; and Douglas E. Crawford, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

In June of 2008, petitioner, Juan Cantu, entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to sell more than twenty-nine grams of cocaine. The trial court suspended petitioner’s sentence and placed him on probation for ten years. Agents from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) detained petitioner at his home on May 17, 2011, before transferring him to a detention facility in Louisiana. Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief on September 30, 2011, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel for trial counsel’s failure to advise him that pleading guilty would result in deportation. On the State’s motion, the post-conviction court dismissed the petition based on the one-year statute of limitations set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-30-102(a). In summarily dismissing the petition, the post-conviction court determined that the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, — U.S. —, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), was inapplicable to petitioner’s case, and as such, the petition was untimely filed. To overcome the statute of limitations, petitioner argues on appeal that Padilla should be applied retroactively. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Dwight E. Scott, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Damon Carter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; and J.W. Hupp, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Timothy Damon Carter, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and three counts of theft of property valued at $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-14-103, -105(3), -403. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range III, persistent offender to an effective eight-year sentence to be served in confinement. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the trial court erred by denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea; and (2) that the trial court erred by ordering his sentence to be served in confinement. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Darry Lee Mitchell, pro se, Nashville, Tennessee, appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Darry Lee Mitchell (“the Petitioner”) pled guilty in 1991 to one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, one count of aggravated rape, and one count of aggravated robbery, receiving an effective sentence of fifty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Petitioner filed for post-conviction relief in 1996 and again in 2004; both petitions were denied. Acting pro se, the Petitioner filed a motion to reopen his post-conviction petition in July 2011, which the post-conviction court denied without a hearing. The Petitioner appealed. Upon our thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Today's News

Report: Just Over Half 2011 Law Grads Find Legal Jobs

Only 55 percent of people in the law classes of 2011 are known to have found employment in full-time legal jobs, according to an American Bar Association report released Friday. Above the Law looks into what that means.

Blackwood: Temptation Was Strong to 'Tell it Like It Is'

Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, tired of being blamed for the legal morass that followed Judge Richard Baumgartner's conviction, says now he had planned to say more than he did in court last week, when proceedings turned into a shouting match with Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols. "When I saw this motion to recuse, I jumped up and did three cartwheels and said, 'It's my time, baby,' " Blackwood said. "I'm going to make this like the Jerry Springer Show. The Jerry Springer Show would be mild in comparison." But, Blackwaood says, a colleague advised him against taking it to that level. Read the story in the News Sentinel

Carter County Jail Opens to Lukewarm Reception

Although there were tours at the ribbon-cutting of a new $26 million jail facility in Carter County, the mood was somber about the building that has taken more than a decade to complete. Even the sheriff said the jail project has been very “unpopular” and “disappointing” and that he would rather be dedicating a new school or new bridge. The Elizabethton Star has the story

Judge Boswell Retires After 19 Years

Federal bankruptcy Judge G. Harvey Boswell on Friday retired from the bench after 19 years of service. He was appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Tennessee, on Nov. 16, 1993, the first judge to be permanently assigned to that court. Friday may have been the first time a shotgun was suddenly pulled from its case in a federal courtroom and six judges applauded, the Jackson Sun writes. The shotgun, a 12-gauge Beretta-A400, was a retirement gift. Boswell’s replacement will be appointed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. It will take at least nine months to select a replacement, he said. Until then, bankruptcy judges from Memphis will travel to Jackson to handle the case load.

Will Sandusky Take the Stand? Experts Say It May Be His Only Hope

As Jerry Sandusky begins his defense today in his child sex abuse trial, the "million-dollar" question is whether or not the defense will call Sandusky. Criminal defense attorney Michael Engle said he doesn't see many other options for the former Penn State assistant football coach, saying that taking the stand in his own defense may be Sandusky's "only shot at convincing this jury he didn't do this." Legal experts analyze the options in The Legal Intelligencer and USAToday has details from today's testimony.

McDonough is New Litigation Chair at Miller & Martin

Travis McDonough has been appointed chair of Miller & Martin's Litigation Department. He is in the Chattanooga office,  concentrating his practice in the areas of corporate disputes, white collar criminal defense, class actions, intellectual property rights and other complex litigation. He previously served as vice-chairman of the firm's litigation department beginning in 2007. Learn more from the firm

CASA Monroe Gets New Executive Director

CASA Monroe, a volunteer organization that advocates for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system, has hired a new executive director, Alisa M. Hobbs. She replaces Marion Leudemann, who retired as executive director earlier this year. The Advocate & Democrat has the story

Clemens Exonerated as DOJ Loses Another Major Case

A jury today found baseball star Roger Clemens not guilty on six charges, the second loss of high-profile, expensive cases for the Department of Justice in the past two weeks. Clemens was accused of lying to Congress in 2008 about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. A jury recently acquitted John Edwards on one count and could not reach a verdict on five others related to the government’s theory that Edwards committed campaign finance fraud. Forbes looks at the cases and the criticisms

Settlement Reached in Voter Files Case

A spokesman for Tennessee Secretary of State Tré Hargett and state Election Coordinator Mark Goins say they both welcome a settlement reached last week in a legal dispute involving state voter files. Tennessee Democratic Party officials say their data experts found full or partial voter histories missing for about 11,000 state-maintained voter files they obtained last month. The assertions were introduced in federal court Friday in a lawsuit filed by Democrats and former Democratic U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, who was turned away from the polls in the March primary. U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp requested both sides agree to a proposed consent decree, which they did Friday night. It will be submitted to the court this week. The Times Free Press reports


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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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