'Notarios' Often Defraud Unsuspecting Immigrants

As the number of Hispanic immigrants grows across Tennessee, businesses known as “notario publicos” have been increasingly taking advantage of some immigrants’ poor understanding of U.S. law. Notarios purport to help undocumented immigrants navigate the legal system and apply for residency or citizenship, but they frequently do so fraudulently and without a law license. “It’s an egregious misuse of language," Tennessee Bar Association Executive Director Allan Ramsaur said. "We were seeing people being defrauded.” Work by the TBA in 2006 led to the passage of tighter notarios regulations in the state.  The Jackson Sun has the story from the Tennessean.

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
04 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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 Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals

IN RE: DYLAN P. (d.o.b. 05/18/05)

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Samuel J. Harris, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Shanta J. Murray, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children’s Services.


The trial court determined that the minor children in this case were dependent and neglected upon finding that one of the children was the victim of severe child abuse. Mother appeals. We dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Darren V. Berg, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brett D. Stokes.

Kelli L. Thompson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Federal National Mortgage Association.


Plaintiff brought this action against defendant, occupant of the property which had been foreclosed. Plaintiff held a deed of ownership. Plaintiff sued for possession and for damages for unlawful detainer of the property. The Trial Court granted plaintiff summary judgment for possession and damages for unlawful detainer pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-18-120. On appeal, we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Johnny V. Dunaway, LaFollette, Tennessee, for the appellants, James Lueking and Jim Reed.

John R. Wingo, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Cambridge Resources, Inc., PDC Resources, Inc., Oneida Gas, Inc., and Lick Branch Unit Joint Venture.


In this case the Trial Court entered a "Final Judgment". The Judgment did not resolve defendant's Counter-Claim. On appeal, we hold we are without jurisdiction to consider the Appeal and dismiss the Appeal.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Venita Marie Martin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carl Mabry.

Robert L. Crawford and Joseph B. Reafsnyder, Memphis, Tennessee, and Charles L. Perry, Dallas, Texas, for the appellees, PNC Multifamily Capital Institutional Fund XXVI, Limited Partnership; PNC Multifamily Capital Institutional Fund XXX, Limited Partnership; PNC Multifamily Capital Institutional Fund XXI, Limited Partnership; Columbia Housing SLP Corporation; Eagles Landing Apartments, L.P.; April Woods Apartments, L.P.; and Harmony Woods Apartments, L.P.


Appellant takes exception to the trial court’s order, enforcing a settlement agreement. Following a judicial settlement conference, the parties signed a written agreement, which contemplated the execution of more formal settlement documents. When the formal documents were presented to Appellant, he refused to sign. Upon Appellees’ motion, the trial court enforced the settlement and Appellant appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James E. Gayles, Mountain City, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; Joe Crumley, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, James E. Gayles, appeals the Johnson County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that his convictions are void because he was sentenced in direct violation of Tennessee statutory law. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded 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


David K. Calfee, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeff Henson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Andrew C. Coulam, Assistant Attorney General; Steven Bebb, District Attorney General, and A. Wayne Carter, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Jeff Henson, pled guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, attempted aggravated sexual battery, driving under the influence third offense, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The trial court sentenced the Petitioner, as a Range I offender, to an effective sentence of twelve years of confinement followed by community supervision for life. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court dismissed after holding a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred when it dismissed his petition because his trial counsel was ineffective and because his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the post-conviction court’s judgment.

Court Starts Process to Fill 8th District Post

The Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applications to fill the 8th Judicial District Chancery Court (Campbell, Claiborne, Fentress, Scott and Union counties) vacancy created by the death of Chancellor Billy Joe White last week. Applicants need to submit required forms to the Administrative Office of the Courts by Dec. 21.

Legal Professionals Increasing Use of Social Media

Attorneys are increasingly utilizing Facebook and other social media sites to gain evidence for their cases due to the ease of obtaining publically accessible personal information, the Memphis Daily News reports. Memphis lawyer Greg Grishahm with Jackson Lewis LLP cited a recent Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case in which an employee was fired after she called in sick to work but posted photographs of herself out in a social setting. Since her page was public, Grisham notes that using information retrieved from a public domain would not be considered by a court to be “deceptive” tactics. 

Ky. Court Considering Miranda Rights for Students

The Kentucky Supreme Court is considering a case that would require school officials to read Miranda rights to students being questioned. WBIR News Channel 10 reports that the case stems from a 2009 incident in which a student appealed his sentence because he wasn’t read his Miranda rights before admitting to a school official and school resource officer to giving away two prescription pain pills. He was charged with illegally dispensing a controlled substance and given 45 days in adult jail.

New Court in Memphis Helps Veterans in Trouble

The new Veterans' Court in Memphis was created to help returning veterans in legal trouble. Since Anchorage, Alaska, established the first Veterans’ Court in 2004, approximately 120 courts across the country have diverted vets’ cases to the special court, addressing offenders' underlying mental or emotional problems, and getting many cases expunged. While those charged with serious violent crimes are not eligible, the court commonly addresses cases related to drug abuse, mental issues, and domestic violence.

Miller & Martin PLLC Announces New Leadership

Chattanooga-based law firm Miller & Martin PLLC recently selected John R. Bode to chair the firm’s Labor & Employment department and John Y. “Jay” Elliot III to assume the role of department vice chair. "We are delighted to have each of these talented individuals serve as leaders of our firm. Their depth of expertise and dedication to outstanding client service will greatly support the continued success of the firm," said Miller & Martin Chairman Jim Haley. Read more in the Cleveland Daily Banner.

Memphis Attorney's Communication Skills Serve Him Well in Law

Memphis attorney Kirk Caraway jokingly claims that he went to law school to hear himself talk, however, he doesn't dismiss the fact that communication and confidence are vital skills litigators must possess in order to argue in front of the United States Court of Appeals or the Tennessee Supreme Court. A product of Memphis City Schools and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Caraway is currently a partner with Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie & Gresham, PLLC where he puts his communication and proactive problem solving skills to use in the courtroom. Read more at the Memphis Daily News.

Court Accepting Comments on Attorney Advertising Petition

The Tennessee Supreme Court is accepting written comments on proposed amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct relating to attorney advertising. In May, the Tennessee Association for Justice filed a petition to amend the Rules in order to “reduce the threats to the civil justice system posed by some advertising in the State of Tennessee and to help civil justice clients receive fair and unbiased consideration by juries.” Download the petition notice.

Former Davidson County Public Trustee Dies at 55

Attorney Thomas Henry "Tom" Ware of Goodletsville died Nov. 14. A graduate of Overton High School, Middle Tennessee State University, and the Nashville School of Law, Mr. Ware practiced law in Nashville for 28 years . He was elected to serve as the Davidson County Public Trustee in 1997 by the Metro Council, a position he helf for 15 years. He was a member of the American and Tennessee Bar Associations, the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, and was a Fellow of the Nashville Bar Association. A Celebration of Life service was held at Woodlawn's Dignity Hall on Nov. 17. Read the Tennessean obituary.


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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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