ABA Commission Weighs New Rules on Foreign Lawyers

The ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 has released drafts of possible recommendations that would make it easier for foreign lawyers to obtain limited authority to practice in U.S. jurisdictions, the ABA Journal reports. But a memo issued by the commission co-chairs emphasizes that no decision has been made whether to submit the changes to the ABA House of Delegates, or what the final version of those recommendations would be. Those decisions will be made when the commission meets Oct. 25-26. In the meantime, the commission is seeking comments on its draft recommendations. Submit comments to Natalia Vera by Oct. 12.

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
04 - 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

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TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Timothy A. Housholder, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, DKB Trucking, LLC.

Trevor L. Sharpe and Raymond G. Lewallen, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, JNJ Express, Inc.


Plaintiff sued for damages for the destruction of a tractor and trailer and for the loss of its use. Defendants moved for a directed verdict, arguing that loss of use and/or loss of profits cannot be recovered because the property was destroyed and it was not unique. The jury found liability for the destruction of the property and for loss of use and/or loss of profits. The trial court then granted a directed verdict on the loss of use/loss of profits, stating that such damages cannot be recovered for destroyed property. Plaintiff appeals. We reverse.

With Concurring Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Kimberlie Edmonson, Athens, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Shannon M. Holland, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jeremy James McCosh and Robin Katheryn McCosh.

Sally C. Love, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mary Elizabeth Edmonson.


In this case, the child at issue was declared dependent and neglected and was placed in grandmother’s custody following the child’s removal from mother. Months later, father petitioned for custody of the child. The court granted father’s petition and awarded grandmother reasonable visitation. Thereafter, father filed a petition to terminate mother’s parental rights. Mother objected and sought custody or visitation, while grandmother asked the court to either reinforce her court-ordered visitation or grant joint custody. The court denied the petition to terminate mother’s parental rights, transferred grandmother’s courtordered visitation to mother, and advised grandmother that she would enjoy visitation as designated by the parents. Grandmother appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Peter J. Strianse, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Fred Chad Clark, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Sharon Reddick, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Fred Chad Clark, II, was found guilty by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of seven counts of rape of a child and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-522 (Supp. 2005, 2006) (amended 2007, 2011) (rape of a child), -504 (2006) (aggravated sexual battery). He was sentenced as a Range I offender to seventeen years for each rape of a child conviction and to ten years for each aggravated sexual battery conviction, to be served at 100% as a child rapist. The trial court ordered partial consecutive sentencing, for an effective thirty-four year sentence. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions because the State failed to establish the corpus delicti; (2) there was a material variance between the proof and the State’s election of offenses; (3) the trial court erred in admitting surreptitiously recorded conversations he had with his wife on January 18, 2007; (4) the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the Defendant’s use of pornography; (5) the trial court erred in allowing a detective to offer opinion testimony about the Defendant’s truthfulness; (6) the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the mental state of recklessness for the counts involving rape of a child; and (7) the trial court erred in sentencing by using an inapplicable enhancement factor and in imposing consecutive sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in Counts V, VI, VII, IX, and X. Due to deficiencies in the election of offenses relative to Counts I, II, III, and IV, we reverse those convictions and remand the case for a new trial for those counts.

CORRECTED OPINION: On page 21, line 13; page 23, line 4; and page 28, line 2, the phrase "our supreme court" has been changed to "this court"

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Bradley A. MacLean and Joanne L. Diamond, Assistant Post-Conviction Defenders, for the appellant, Steven James Rollins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General and Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; and Barry P. Staubus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The Petitioner, Steven James Rollins, filed a petition seeking post-conviction relief from his convictions of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. The post-conviction court denied Petitioner relief on all grounds related to the guilt phase of the trial but granted a new sentencing hearing on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. The State is not challenging the grant of a new sentencing hearing. The Petitioner appeals the post-conviction court’s ruling denying relief as to the guilt phase of the trial. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that a biased juror served on his jury, that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial attorneys failed to voir dire potential jurors properly, and that his mental retardation exempts him from the death penalty. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we conclude that the Petitioner was denied his constitutional rights to a fair and impartial jury and that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Therefore, the Petitioner’s convictions are reversed, and the case is remanded to the trial court for a new trial.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Wesley Stone, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Albert Franklin Thompkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Leslie Nassios, Assistant District Attorney General, for the State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Albert Franklin Thompkins, appeals as of right from the trial court’s revocation of his enhanced probation and reinstatement of his eight-year sentence for rape. The Defendant contends that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his probation because the State failed to prove that he had violated the terms of his probation in a substantial way in that he had not committed any new crimes nor was there any evidence that he had failed any drug screens. Following our review, we affirm the trial court’s revocation of the Defendant’s probation and order that the Defendant execute his original sentence in confinement.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James O. Martin, III (on appeal), and Manuel B. Russ (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry Wayne Webb.

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

Judge: OGLE

A Davidson County Criminal Court Jury convicted the appellant, Larry Wayne Webb, of theft of property valued $1,000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony, and the trial court sentenced him as a Range IV, career offender to twelve years. On appeal, the appellant contends, and the State concedes, that the evidence is insufficient to support the conviction. Based upon the oral arguments, the record, and the parties’ briefs, we agree that the evidence is insufficient. Therefore, the conviction is reversed, and the charge is dismissed.

Judge OKs Arizona Immigration Law

A federal judge has ruled that Arizona authorities can enforce the most contentious part of the state’s immigration law, which has been dubbed the "show me your papers" provision. The ruling clears the way for police, while enforcing other laws, to question the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally. The requirement has been at the center of a two-year legal battle that culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June upholding it. According to WDEF News Channel 12, opponents then filed another suit to block the law, arguing it would lead to racial profiling. The governor's office says the law will go into effect shortly.

Retired DA Takes Roane State Post

Paul Phillips retired Friday as a district attorney general after a 33-year career. This week he started a new job as executive director of the Roane State Foundation, which raises money for Roane State Community College's students and programs. In his new post, the former eighth Judicial District prosecutor will be chief administrative officer for the foundation's board of trustees and direct its programs. Read more in the News Sentinel

Burchett to Face Campaign Finance Questions

Tennessee's Registry of Election Finance wants Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett to appear before it next month and explain a series of irregularities in campaign disclosure forms he filed during his successful 2010 election bid. The action is based on a complaint filed with the Knox County District Attorney General's Office and the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. The News Sentinel reports

Charges Dismissed After 24-Year Prison Stint

An Ohio judge today dismissed a 24-year-old murder charge against Michael Keenan, who spent much of the past two decades on death row. The decision came after a ruling in April that Keenan had to be tried again or have his verdict set aside. That ruling was based on the discovery of evidence favorable to Keenan and a co-defendant that had been withheld by prosecutors. Learn more in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Firm: No Evidence Romney Tax Records Hacked

PricewaterhouseCoopers says it is working with the U.S. Secret Service after reports that presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s tax returns were stolen from the accounting firm’s Franklin office. According to WPLN, the firm says “at this time, there is no evidence of unauthorized access to our data.” As first reported by the Nashville City Paper, the Franklin offices of the Democratic and Republican parties received a letter and a flash drive that supposedly contained Romney’s tax forms. The Secret Service has confiscated the material and says it is “investigating the incident.” Read more about it in the Tennessean

Lawyers Suspended for 2011 CLE Violations

On Aug. 31, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended 145 lawyers for failing to comply with mandatory continuing legal education requirements in 2011. Attorneys who since have complied with the rule are noted as reinstated. See the list

11 Lawyers Reinstated After Administrative Suspension

Eleven Tennessee-licensed lawyers have been reinstated after being administratively suspended for failure to file the 2012 registration fee and/or the required IOLTA report. See the updated list

TBA President to Speak at Equal Justice University

The 2012 Equal Justice University will feature a host of speakers and more than 40 educational sessions Sept. 26-29 at Paris Landing State Park. Among the speakers will be TBA President Jackie Dixon, who will address attendees at the Leadership Luncheon on Thursday and lead a CLE on domestic relations basics. For the first time, the conference also will offer a leadership/management track that includes four courses designed to improve leadership skills. They include Quality Supervision; Generational Issues in Supervision; Understanding and Analyzing Financial Statements of Nonprofits; and Supervision of New Attorneys, Law Students and Advocates. Check out all the offerings

Federal Bar Chapter Holds Memorial Service

The Northeast Tennessee Chapter of the Federal Bar Association will hold its 26th Annual Memorial Service at the U.S. courthouse in Greeneville on Oct. 12. The event begins at 1:30 p.m. with a reception to follow. For more information, contact chapter president Nikki Pierce by email or phone at (423) 636-1301.


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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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