Members Named to Board of Judicial Conduct

The Administrative Office of the Courts today released the full list of those named to the new Board of Judicial Conduct, which replaces the Court of the Judiciary. All terms run through June 30, 2015. The group held its first organizational meeting on Saturday. Officers are Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft, chair; Circuit Court Judge Timothy L. Easter, vice chair; Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Jeffrey S. Bivins, General Assembly liason; and attorney Thomas Lawless, secretary. Other members are:

• Miles Burdine, president & CEO, Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce
• General Sessions Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton
• Circuit Court Judge Timothy L. Easter
• Judge Joe F. Fowlkes
• Attorney Robert T. “Tas” Gardner
• J. Ronald Hickman
• Chris A. Hodges
• Court of Appeals Judge Holly M. Kirby
• General Sessions Judge Christy R. Little
• General Sessions/Juvenile Judge Larry J. Logan
• Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Sharp
• General Sessions Judge Dwight E. Stokes
• Attorney David Wedekind

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.

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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.

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Editorial: Bar Poll is Important to Help Voters Decide

In an editorial, the Times Free Press explains the results from the recent Chattanooga Bar Association's poll that rates the performance of trial court judges. Sessions Court Judge David Bales, who scored poorly, responded by saying the real decision-makers were the voters of Hamilton County, not the bar association. The paper says that "the lawyers' poll is a far more insightful and instructive guide. It merits voters' attention." Don't miss the readers' comments at the end of the story, though, which question the presumption that voters can't figure it out for themselves.

Ice Cream and Affordable Care Act Served Up Together

Learn what's next for the Affordable Care Act in a webcast this week from the Tennessee Bar Association's Health Care Law Section. The webcast starts noon central time on Thursday, but lawyers are invited to stop by the Tennessee Bar Center to watch it live if they like. In addition, those attending live will be able to enjoy complementary ice cream and take part in a free 30-minute Q and A session following the webcast hosted by section leaders David Lewis of LifePoint Hospitals and Bill Young, solicitor general of the Tennessee Attorney General's Office.

Building the Mosque: Religious Land Use vs. Open Meetings?

Even cities with strict design standards that can reject a McDonald’s from building its golden arches can’t reject the architectural designs that are part of a place of worship, Nashville attorney George Dean said in explaining legal rights of religious architecture. Dean provided expert testimony for the Rutherford County government in defense of a lawsuit for approving the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s mosque plans in 2010. He talks about weighing religious land use rights against the open meeting meetings law, which is at the heart of the legal dispute over if the facility can open.  The Daily News Journal has the story

Paper Praises Judge Ash

An editorial in the Daily News Journal praises Circuit Court Judge Don Ash on his appointment to senior status. As the creator of Rutherford County’s Drug Court, the paper credits Ash for changing the lives of many who struggled with addiction. "His day-in and day-out commitment certainly will be missed in Rutherford and Cannon counties," the paper says.

Inspector General Turns To 'Fast and Furious'

National Public Radio has this story about the Justice Department's new Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, and the big item on his agenda, a long-awaited report on the flawed gun sting in Arizona, "Fast and Furious." The operation and the Justice Department's response ignited a rancorous political battle, culminating in a historic contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder. "He's not going to be unfair or someone who takes cheap shots," says former Bush administration official Michael Chertoff of Horowitz, "but I do think he'll call it like he sees it, even if he steps on some big toes."

Opinion: Justices Give Good Civics Lesson

Jackson lawyer Kevin P. McMahon writes in a Jackson Sun opinion piece that the first six pages of Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion in the Affordable Care Act case should be required reading in every school, calling it a "much-needed civics lesson." McMahon writes that "it all comes down to an electorate that is both informed and engaged, and that holds government officials accountable." Becoming well-informed starts with a good civics lesson, he contends. "The chief justice and the dissenters have provided the grist," he writes. "We citizens now must make the effort to teach, and apply, what they have written."

Tennessee Teen Court Gives $7,500 in Scholarships

The Mary Ann Williams Scholarship Benefit Dinner and Silent Auction recently raised more than $8,600, $7,500 of which was given in scholarships. The event was a fundraiser for Tennessee Teen Court Program Inc. Many members of the Sumner County Bar Association supported the fundraiser through generous donations, the Tennessean reports

Gang-Related Crimes Triple in Small Tennessee Towns

Gang-related crimes statewide rose by nearly 25 percent in 2011, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. They have more than doubled since 2005, the first year gang crimes saw a significant spike. But the real story isn’t necessarily in cities -- in that same time period, cities with fewer than 50,000 residents saw gang crime more than triple. The Tennessean reports

Free Legal Clinic for Seniors Set for Tuesday

Attorneys from AutoZone Inc., Bass, Berry & Sims PLC and Memphis Area Legal Services will hold the fourth annual free legal clinic for Memphis-area seniors Tuesday, July 10, from 10 a.m. to noon at Orange Mound Senior Center, 2590 Park Ave. The pro bono clinic offers seniors essential legal advice and helps in the preparation of wills, advanced care plans and more. For more information, call Linda Warren Seely of MALS at 523-8822.

Law Partner Sought for Brentwood Firm

The Brentwood law firm of Papa & Roberts is looking to add a law partner to its firm. The ideal partner would have at least five years of experience and practice in one or more of the following areas: commercial/ business litigation, estate planning, criminal, personal injury or tax.  Learn more on JobLink

Special Session May Be Needed to Handle Health Care Exchange

The Tennessean says that Democrats and Republicans alike have been kicking around the idea of a special session to handle aspects of the Affordable Care Act. The biggest question is how to deal with a requirement that state governments set up special exchanges where residents can buy health coverage before the insurance mandate goes into effect in 2014. The state faces a critical deadline in January, when officials must demonstrate to the federal government that they’ll have Tennessee’s exchange ready in time.

Lawyers Reinstated After Administrative Suspension

Seven Tennessee-licensed lawyers have been reinstated after being administratively suspended for failure to file the 2012 registration fee and required IOLTA report. In addition, two lawyers have been reinstated after failing to file this year's fee. See updated lists here


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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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