Wade to Be Sworn In as Chief Justice Sept. 1

Justice Gary R. Wade is to be sworn in as the 29th chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court at 10 a.m. on Sept. 1 at the Sevier County Courthouse. He will succeed Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark, who has served as chief justice since Sept. 1, 2010. On Sept. 5, Gov. Bill Haslam will administer the ceremonial oath to Wade at the Knoxville Bar Association’s annual dinner honoring the Supreme Court. Wade was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2006 by Gov. Phil Bredesen. Prior to his appointment, Wade served on the Court of Criminal Appeals for 19 years and was elected by his colleagues to serve as presiding judge from 1998 to 2006. Learn more from the Administrative Office of the Courts

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
06 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - 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


Helen Sfikas Rogers and Siew-Ling Shea, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Thomas Dodd.

Timothy T. Ishii and Phillip R. Robinson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Deanna Lynne Dodd.


In this post-divorce proceeding, the mother of the parties’ only minor child filed two motions to alter or amend the divorce decree in order to clarify the parties’ obligations under the marital dissolution agreement regarding their 2009 income tax returns, and two petitions for civil contempt. The contempt petitions alleged that the father failed to make timely child support payments and failed to reimburse the mother for mortgage payments, medical expenses, and school-related expenses for the parties’ child. The trial court denied the motions to alter or amend, finding that the amendment sought by the mother was unnecessary and that the father breached the tax provision of the MDA as written. The court also denied the petitions for civil contempt, finding that the father purged himself of the contempt prior to hearing on the petitions. The court ordered the father to pay the mother $10,302.36 plus post-judgment interest for the tax liability she incurred due to the father’s refusal to file a joint tax return and $3,500 for the attorney’s fees the mother incurred in filing the petitions for contempt. We affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


J. Daniel Rogers, Medina, Tennessee, for the appellant, Corey Lynn Clark.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Edward L. Hardister, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Corey Lynn Clark, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his guilty plea conviction for second degree murder, arguing that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel, which caused him to enter an unknowing and involuntary guilty plea. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Lance R. Chism (on appeal); and Coleman Garrett and David Stowers (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andrew Hayes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Patience Branham and Jennifer Morris, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Andrew Hayes, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of felony murder and aggravated robbery, claiming that the trial court erred by admitting certain evidence, that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress the statements he made to police, that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions, and that the trial court committed plain error in its instructions to the jury. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Roger Staton, Jackson, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, George Lee Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, George Lee Jones, was convicted by a Madison County Circuit Court jury of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and theft under $500, a Class A misdemeanor, and was sentenced to an effective term of ten years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Sean H. Muizers, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Heralal Nandlal.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Heralal Nandlal, was indicted on one count of aggravated robbery. At the close of the State’s proof at trial, the trial court, out of the presence of the jury, sua sponte revoked the Defendant’s appearance bond. The jury convicted the Defendant of aggravated robbery, and the Defendant now appeals. On appeal, he asserts that the trial court demonstrated bias in its decision to revoke the Defendant’s bond. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the Defendant’s conviction.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James M. Gulley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Tomario Walton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Glen C. Baity and Bryan Davis, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Shelby County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Tomario Walton a.k.a. Quadricus Dean, of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. He was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to a nine-year term of imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Walton presents the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the victim’s showup identification of him as the perpetrator of the offense, and (2) whether the evidence at trial, specifically that of Walton’s identity, was sufficient to support the jury’s verdict. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James E. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Weed.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Micheal A. Meyer, Deputy Attorney General, and William Bright, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, David Weed, was indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury for two counts of official misconduct, a Class E felony. Defendant pleaded guilty to the offenses charged and was sentenced by the trial court to two years in the Shelby County Workhouse for each count, with all but 90 days suspended, after which Defendant would be placed on probation for five years. Defendant’s sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. Defendant appeals his sentences and asserts that the trial court erred by denying his request for judicial diversion, or in the alternative, his request for full probation. After a careful review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Municipal Administrative Hearing Officer Act

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-07-27

Opinion Number: 78

Vacancy on County Commission

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-07-31

Opinion Number: 79

Baumgartner: No Grounds for Federal Case

Former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner's attorneys argue that there are no grounds for a federal case against their client in a motion filed late Monday night. In May, a federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a seven-count indictment against him. The motion, filed by attorney Don Bosch, argues that there should be no federal case because Baumgartner is not accused of making untrue statements to any federal officials. WBIR has more

Settlement Possible for Former Shelby Clerk

The official misconduct trial set Monday for former Shelby County General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson Jr. was postponed to give attorneys time to discuss a settlement, the Commercial Appeal reports. Jackson, a Democrat elected in 2008, was indicted last year on four felony counts for allegedly pressuring employees to give and collect $51,000 for this year's re-election campaign.

Legal Aid Gives Pro Bono Honors

Legal Aid of East Tennessee recently honored lawyers who donate services to low-income clients at its Pro Bono Celebration. Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee presented the Law Firm of the Year Award to Paine, Tarwater & Bickers, the Lawyer of the Year Award to Rachel P. Hunt of Arnett, Draper & Hagood, and the Law Student of the Year Award to Crista M. Cuccaro, a student at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Knoxville Bar Association President J. William Coley gave awards to 21 lawyers who donated at least 25 hours of service through Legal Aid's Pro Bono Project. In the past year, more than 750 lawyers and 120 law students contributed their services through the project. Download more from LAET

New ABA President Outlines Priorities

Newly sworn in American Bar Association President Laurel G. Bellows emphasized a theme of “lawyers matter” in her acceptance speech yesterday, saying lawyers “are the first responders when liberty and justice are imperiled.” She also called on lawyers to fight the horrors of human trafficking – a crime that gets too little attention, she says. Her other areas of focus for the year include improving cyber security in a way that is consistent with corporate and individual rights, preserving funding for the judicial branch, promoting the importance of civil jury trials, and developing a model compensation policy that advances women and minorities in the workplace. Read more about her goals in the ABA Journal

ABA House Tackles Range of Issues

The ABA House of Delegates considered a range of issues during its meeting yesterday and today in Chicago. Topping the agenda was changes to model ethics rules recommended by the Commission on Ethics 20/20. Among those proposals were changes to help younger lawyers facing a tough job market, rules for online client communications and rules for dealing with electronic files and metadata. The commission did not take a position on nonlawyer ownership of law firms, and delegates voted to postpone that issue indefinitely. Other action items included approving stricter standards on law school marketing, opposing laws that prevent physicians from talking to patients about gun ownership and safety, calling for a ban on religious profiling, calling on lawmakers to extend the statute of limitation for child sexual abuse crimes, calling for criminal defense lawyers to help clients with civil and nonlegal problems, adoption of rules governing conflicts checks when law firms merge or lawyers move to new employment, and adoption of new civil immigration detention standards.

Former Sen. Ford Out of Prison This Month

Former state senator John Ford should be released from prison later this month after more than four years behind bars, his brother, Edmund Ford Sr., said today. The Memphis Democrat reported to prison on April 28, 2008, following a bribery conviction. He is expected to be released to a halfway house in less than two weeks, his brother said. Read more in the Commercial Appeal

Casada to Support Harwell for Speaker

Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, told the Associated Press that he won't make another run for Speaker of the House despite the defeat of seven Republican House incumbents in last week's primary races. "Beth's done a good job and I will be supporting Beth for speaker next year," Casada said. Casada was considered the favorite for the speakership after Republicans picked up 14 seats in the 99-member chamber in 2010. But Harwell, a former professor and state Republican Party chairwoman, won the caucus nomination in a secret ballot. The News Sentinel reports

AG Opinion Opens Spot on Hawkins Commission

An opinion issued last week by Attorney General Robert Cooper confirms there is a vacancy in the District 2 Hawkins County Commission. The seat was held by Dustin Dean, who through an oversight had been considered a District 2 resident while his residence of the past six years is actually located just a few feet inside the District 3 boundary. The opinion says that Dean's seat "is automatically vacant with no judicial determination necessary to establish a vacancy" and that the spot could be put on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. Candidates have until Aug. 16 to qualify. The Kingsport Times-News has the story

Former Sullivan County Judge Dies

Former Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge Edgar Calhoun died Monday (Aug. 6) after a long illness. He was 81. A Scott County native, Calhoun worked in the Tennessee Comptroller's Office after earning his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. He later moved to Kingsport and entered private practice. He worked in the Sullivan County District Attorney General's office before being appointed to the bench in 1976. He held that position until his retirement in August 1994. Arrangements are incomplete at this time. TriCities.com reported the news

Get Year's Worth of CLE at General Practice Boot Camp

Get all of your CLE for 2012 at the Tennessee Bar Association’s General Practice Boot Camp. Topics touch on the areas of law important to general and solo practitioners. For Middle Tennessee lawyers the program will be Aug. 16-18 and for practitioners in West and East Tennessee the program is Aug. 24. Check out the details for the programs in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville.

Wilson County Lawyer Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Wilson County attorney Gary Wayne Vandever yesterday based on his pleading guilty to three counts of theft of property over $60,000. The court further ordered the Board of Professional Responsibility to institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline. Download the BPR release

Rogersville Attorney Suspended

The law license of Rogersville attorney John Douglas Godbee was temporarily suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday after the court determined that he poses a threat of substantial harm to the public. Download the BPR release


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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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