Aftermath of Court Term Full of Analyses

Attention is still focused on last week's decision and aftermath of the Affordable Care Act, but the Supreme Court delivered 64 other opinions this term — fewer than they have decided in any of the past 20 years. Bill Moyers Journal links to varied analyses of five other key decisions that have not gotten as much press as health care. National Public Radio's Nina Totenberg also looks into the end of the term, including the startling leak about the health care decision, other notable cases, and if this signals a shift in the court's idealogy. "You can't take one term in isolation," Tom Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog, told NPR. "The arc of the law is solidly on the right. ... Anyone who thinks that John Roberts has now come out of the closet as his true liberal self is severely misguided. We have a track record here. He's a solidly conservative justice."

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
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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Rocky McElhaney, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mae Coleman.

Warren Smith and Judith Lojek, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, South Tennessee Oil, Inc., d/b/a Quick Mart.


This premises liability action concerns the moving party’s burden on a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff/Appellant tripped and fell in the parking lot of Defendant/Appellee convenience store. During Appellant’s deposition, she was unable to state specifically what caused her to fall other than pointing to photographs of the cracked and uneven pavement. Appellee moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. We conclude that Appellee’s motion for summary judgment, which pointed to the Appellant’s lack of specific evidence showing causation, was insufficient to shift the burden of production to the Appellant. Reversed and remanded.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Larry Samuel Patterson, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terrance Antonio Cecil.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, and Daniel J. Runde, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Maury County jury convicted the Defendant, Terrance Antonio Cecil, of assault and false imprisonment, both Class A misdemeanors. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to concurrent sentences of six months incarceration, with all but sixty days on each suspended, followed by ten months on probation. On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) the trial court erred when it considered his prior arrest record in sentencing; and (3) the trial court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offenses of attempted false imprisonment and attempted assault. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Andrew Kennedy, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Timothy L. Rose.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Joseph E. Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

Seeking relief from the Sullivan County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for postconviction relief from his 2008 conviction of attempted aggravated robbery, Timothy L. Rose appeals and claims that his plea of guilty to the conviction offense is invalid because it was the product of ineffective assistance of counsel and was unknowingly and involuntarily made. The record, however, supports the post-conviction court’s findings and its denial of post-conviction relief. For that reason, we affirm the post-conviction court’s denial of relief.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mary J. Clement (on appeal), Portland, Tennessee, and John H. Norton, III, and Liberti A. Snider (at trial), Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Glover P. Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Trevor Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Rutherford County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Glover P. Smith, of fabricating evidence in counts 1 and 2 and filing a false report in counts 3 through 8. During a sentencing hearing, the trial court merged the appellant’s convictions of filing a false report in counts 3, 4, and 5 and ordered that he serve an effective sentence of one year in jail followed by six years of probation. Subsequently, the trial court granted the appellant’s motion for judgment of acquittal as to the fabricating evidence convictions based upon insufficient evidence. On appeal, the State contends that the trial court erred by granting the appellant’s motion for judgment of acquittal. In a counter-appeal, the appellant maintains that the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions; that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on “knowingly”; that newly discovered evidence warrants a new trial; that the State committed a Brady violation; that his multiple convictions in counts 3, 4, and 5 and in counts 6, 7, and 8 violate double jeopardy; that the trial court improperly enhanced his sentences and improperly denied his request for full probation; and that the cumulative effect of the errors warrants a new trial. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the trial court erred by granting the appellant’s motion for judgment of acquittal and reinstate his convictions of fabricating evidence in counts 1 and 2, the merger of the convictions, and the sentence. We also conclude that the trial court should have dismissed the charges of filing a false report in counts 4 and 5 because they were mutliplicitous with the charge in count 3. The appellant’s remaining convictions and sentences for filing a false report in counts 6, 7, and 8 are affirmed.

ABA Denies Knox Law School Appeal

Lincoln Memorial University's law school has been denied its appeal for accreditation by the American Bar Association, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports this afternoon. The school has 30 days to make a written appeal of the most recent decision by the bar association before it takes effect, according to the court documents filed in US. District Court.

Ash Appointed Senior Judge, Gov. to Fill Spot Until Election

Circuit Court Judge Don Ash will step down from the 16th Judicial District position, effective Sept. 1, to become a senior judge. Ash announcded Thursday that he will continue serving on the Circuit Court bench in Murfreesboro until Gov. Bill Haslam appoints a successor to fill the remainder of his term, which runs until 2014 when the position will be placed on the ballot. Ash, who has spent 18 years on the bench, will be one of four standing senior judges in the state assigned on a temporary basis to hear cases statewide. The Daily News Journal has more

Report: Malone Ouster Root of 'Implosion' at Miller & Martin looks into the "implosion" at the Nashville office of Miller & Martin, when there was an exodus of attorneys "on a scale unprecedented in the Nashville area." The change began last fall, the Post reports, when Melvin Malone, who had been chairman of the firm for only two years, was ousted from his position by a vote of the partners in favor of James Haley out of Chattanooga. With the change, members started trickling away, but on June 7, it was announced that no fewer than 37 members of Miller & Martin — including Malone — were leaving to join the Mississippi-based firm of Butler Snow O’Mara Stevens & Cannada. In one day, Butler Snow went from having two attorneys in the Cool Springs area to becoming one of the larger firms in Middle Tennessee.

Study: Elected Judges More Likely for Discipline Than Appointed

A California study shows that judges who are first elected are more likely to be disciplined than initially appointed judges. Other findings of the report from the state Commission on Judicial Performance said that judges previously sanctioned by the commission made up a large share of disciplined judges; male judges were about twice as likely to be disciplined as female judges; and judges on small courts were more frequently sanctioned than judges on larger courts. has the details

Apply for a Grant From the Memphis Bar Foundation

The Memphis Bar Foundation is now soliciting grant applications from non-profit organizations. Grants are awarded to 501(c)(3) organizations for law-related programs and activities that further the foundation’s mission to advocate and support public awareness of the legal profession; promote social justice; promote legal education, and recognize professionalism among members of the bar. The typical grant award is less than $10,000. The deadline to apply is July 31. Contact MBA Executive Director Anne Fritz to learn more or download an application.

Palin E-Mail Hacker Considering Law School

David Kernell, who was convicted for hacking into the e-mail account of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is now completing his undergraduate degree and looking toward law school. His father, State Rep. Mike Kernell, says his son's life was changed by his four-years entwined with the legal system. "He grew a lot. He went from a college student that was playing games to maybe someday becoming a defense attorney," Rep. Kernell said. WMC-TV has the story

Kurita Loses 6th Circuit Appeal

Former state Sen. Rosalind Kurita on Thursday lost a federal appeal of her ouster as the Democratic nominee in her 2008 bid for re-election to the Tennessee General Assembly, the News Sentinel reports. In a brief ruling, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's refusal to reinstate Kurita to the ballot after Democratic officials declared her 19-vote primary win as "incurably uncertain."

Scalia Critics Say Justice Too Political Last Term

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia drew unusually critical attention during this past Supreme Court term for comments he made in court and in his writing that seemed to some more political than judicial. For example, his dissent in the Arizona immigration case contained a harsh assessment of the Obama administration's immigration policy, which prompted a public rebuke from a fellow Republican-appointed judge and a call to resign from liberal columnist E.J. Dionne. The News Sentinel has this AP story

Free Training on Mortgage Settlements July 16

Learn about the mortgage settlement process in Tennessee at a free, one-hour webcast July 16, co-sponsored by the Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee and the Tennessee Attorney General's Office. The seminar, produced by Matt Pulle and Jeffrey L. Hill, will provide an overview of the issues surrounding the settlement, information on the benefits of the settlement — including benefits to military personnel — what attorneys need to know about the settlement, and information about the resources available through the Attorney General’s office. Learn more or register for "Pro Bono: Mortgage Relief for Pro Bono Clients."

Vanderbilt Seeks Legal Writing Instructor

Vanderbilt Law School seeks lawyers with superb academic and employment records to teach a legal writing course to LL.M. students starting in August 2012. The part-time position will offer a renewable five-month contract from August through December. Compensation does not include benefits. Applications will be accepted until July 16 or until positions are filled. Learn more on JobLink

Brentwood Firm Seeks ‘Of Counsel’ Attorney

A Brentwood law office is seeking a licensed attorney to join the firm in an “of counsel” capacity. The ideal candidate would maintain his or her own independent caseload and be willing to accept referrals from the firm as needed. Referrals would be primarily personal injury and workers compensation cases. Rent will depend on the required level of support and likely will be offset by fees generated from case referrals. Learn more on JobLink


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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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