Clark: Translators for Crime Victims Important

Since July 1 all non-English-speaking crime victims are being provided state-funded translation services in Tennessee court proceedings. A federal mandate had ordered states to extend free translation services to all litigants or risk losing billions in federal aid. But Tennessee went a step further and included victims in the coverage. "It is important that not only those charged with a crime, but also crime victims, divorcing parents and all those who find themselves before the courts are able to communicate effectively," Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark said in a statement Monday. Read more from WBIR

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
02 - 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


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Larry E. Parrish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, David Byars and wife, Elizabeth Byars, M.D.

Jay M. Atkins, Oxford, Mississippi, for the appellees, Randy Frazier and Jeff Kelley


The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss, finding, among other things, that Defendants were entitled to GTLA immunity. Because we find a question of fact exists as to whether Defendants acted within the scope of their employment in communicating with Plaintiff’s teaching supervisor, in communicating with the named individuals, and in ordering destruction of the surveillance video tapes, we reverse the trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ slander, false light, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium claims with regard to such conduct. The decision of the trial court is affirmed in all other respects. The case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Bobby MacBryan Green, M.D., Johnson City, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Howell H. Sherrod, Jr., Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jodi Jones, Betty Ann Polaha, and Mary Lee Jondahl.


A neighborhood association president, fearing that members conspired to improperly oust him at an upcoming meeting, filed suit, requesting declaratory relief regarding the proper procedure for removal of a president. Prior to a hearing, the members voted to remove him from office and filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court dismissed the complaint and denied a subsequent motion to alter or amend its judgment. The president appeals. We affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Phyllis Aluko (on appeal) and Constance Barnes (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Devonte Black.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General, and Betsy Wiseman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Devonte Black, pled guilty to aggravated burglary, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to one year of incarceration followed by three years on probation after release from confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it imposed a sentence of split confinement, specifically when it: (1) denied full probation; and (2) denied judicial diversion. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we conclude the trial court properly sentenced the Defendant. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Quinton Albert Cage, Mountain City, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

The Petitioner, Quinton Albert Cage, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that his convictions and sentences were illegal because the United States Constitution did not authorize the Tennessee Legislature to create criminal statutes. Upon motion by the State, the habeas court dismissed the petition without an evidentiary hearing, finding that the Petitioner failed to demonstrate that his judgments were facially void and noting that nothing on the face of the judgments indicated that the underlying sentences were invalid. Following our review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the summary dismissal by the habeas court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Gregory D. Gookin, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demp Douglas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (“Jerry”) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Lake County jury convicted the Defendant, Demp Douglas, of one count of aggravated assault, and the trial court sentenced him to ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction and that the trial court erred when it denied his motion for a mistrial based upon the victim’s testimony that he met the Defendant shortly after the Defendant was released from prison. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Timothy L. Dulworth, Tiptonville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; and Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Timothy L. Dulworth, appeals the Lake County Circuit Court’s dismissal of his petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that his convictions are void. Upon a review of the record in this case, we conclude that the habeas court properly denied the petition for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Terry Lewis, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

The pro se petitioner, Terry Lewis, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis attacking his convictions for first degree murder and attempted robbery. Petitioner claims that a report indicating that authorities performed a fingerprint analysis on a shell casing found near petitioner’s apartment is new evidence. Following our review of the record, the parties’ briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.

Senate Confirms Fowlkes to District Court

The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment today of John Fowlkes Jr. as the newest U.S. District Court judge for Western Tennessee. The 94-2 Senate floor vote included aye votes from Tennessee senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, Mississippi senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Arkansas senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman. Fowlkes, a Shelby County Criminal Court Judge, was nominated in December by President Barack Obama on the recommendation of U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis. The Memphis Daily News has more

Apply for 16th District Circuit Seat by July 31

The Judicial Nominating Commission is now accepting applications for the Circuit Court vacancy in the 16th Judicial District, which includes Rutherford and Cannon counties. The vacancy was created by the appointment of Circuit Court Judge Don R. Ash as senior judge. The application, available from the Administrative Office of the Courts must be submitted by noon CST on July 31.

Duncan Dean Responds to ABA Denial

There was no explanation when the status report came out last week that the American Bar Association had denied Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law's appeal for provisional accreditation. In a prepared response, Duncan Dean Sydney Beckman said "... we believe we have met or exceeded every applicable standard for accreditation set forth by the ABA. We look forward to working with the ABA to address any concerns that they have and move forward with whatever steps are necessary to achieve our goals." Litigation that began late last year was stayed through July 15, pending a decision by the ABA on Duncan's appeal. In the latest status report, the ABA again asks for a stay through Aug. 15, writing that Duncan has until Aug. 6 to file another appeal. The National Law Journal has more

Police Requests for Cell Phone Records Surge

Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. made more than 1.3 million requests for consumers' cell phone records in 2011, an alarming surge over previous years that reflected the increasingly gray area between privacy and technology. Cell phone carriers, responding to inquiries from a member of Congress, reported responding to as many as thousands of police requests daily for customers' locations, text messages and call details -- frequently without warrants. Read the AP story

Free Seminars to Explain Disability Voting Rights

In partnership with the Tennessee Division of Elections, the Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee is presenting "Vote TN!," a series of free voting conferences across the state to educate about disability voting rights. Topics will include disability-related barriers during the voting process, potential solutions to these barriers, and step-by-step instruction on training others about voting access. Pre-register and learn more about dates and locations.

3rd Congressional District Candidates Spar Over Health Care

Six candidates for Tennessee's Third Congressional District debated health care policy during a Monday night forum put on by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society. The four Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates opened the forum with brief statements, some taking immediate jabs at the Affordable Care Act, WRCB reports. Those participating were Scottie Mayfield, Weston Wamp, Bill Taylor, Ron Bhalla, Mary Headrick and Chuck Fleischmann, who is the incumbent. Independent candidate Matthew Deniston did not attend.

Attorneys Sought for Document Review

Counsel On Call seeks experienced litigation attorneys to assist with electronic discovery review and analysis for a number of Fortune 50 companies located across the country. The full-time positions would be located in the company's service center in Nashville. Requirements include at least two years of litigation experience (preferably in a law firm or corporate environment), solid academic credentials and an active Tennessee law license. Prior electronic document review experience is preferred but not required. To be considered, submit resumes to 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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