Haslam Appoints Frierson to Court of Appeals

Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed Thomas R. “Skip” Frierson II to the Tennessee Court of Appeals for the Eastern Section. Frierson, who has served as a chancellor in the Third Judicial District since 1996, replaces Judge Herschel P. Franks, who retired at the end of 2012. Frierson is a past president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and currently serves as chair of the Tennessee Judicial Family Institute. He is a past president of the Tennessee Trial Judges Association, a fellow of the Tennessee Bar Foundation and recipient of the Trial Judge of the Year Award from the American Board of Trial Advocates’ Tennessee chapter.

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
03 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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


John Lowell Gulley, Hendersonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Tammy Lynn Fletcher, Lebanon, Tennessee, Pro Se.


In this child support dispute, the trial court erred in dismissing father’s petition to reduce child support and in finding him to be in criminal contempt.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


John D. Kitch, Nashville, Tennessee, and John Ray Phillips, Jr., Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rodney G. Hatfield.

Russell E. Edwards and Michael Wayne Edwards, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Molly Rika Hatfield.


In this appeal from a divorce decree, husband asserts that the trial court erred in its property division and award of alimony. We have determined that the trial court erred in awarding almost all of the marital property to wife and, therefore, modify the property division to award the 401k to husband. We further modify the trial court’s decision in order to change the alimony in futuro to transitional alimony and to reduce the monthly amount.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Hannah Leah Wade, Franklin, Tennessee, pro se.

Michael B. Menefee of Menefee & Brown, LLP, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee.


The appellant (“Mother”) appeals from an order of the trial court entered on November 27, 2012, which granted the counter-petition to alter or amend the parties’ Permanent Parenting Plan and to relocate to Indiana filed by the appellee (“Father”). The November 27, 2012 order stated that “[a]ll other issues raised” in Mother’s response in opposition to the petition to relocate and counter-petition to modify custody as well as Mother’s initial Motion for Contempt were “reserved for further hearing.” It is clear that the order appealed from does not resolve all issues raised in the proceedings below. As such, the order is not a final order and this appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Christopher G. Clark (on motion for new trial and appeal) and Adrienne Fry (at trial), Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher M. Mimms.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Helen Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant was convicted of selling more than 0.5 grams of cocaine, a Class B felony, and selling more than 0.5 grams of cocaine within a school zone, a Class A felony. On appeal, the defendant claims that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of the latter charge. The defendant also claims that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury with respect to lesser included offenses and by permitting the State to ask questions concerning prior drug transactions between the defendant and a confidential informant. After review, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the defendant’s convictions and that his remaining claims have been waived. We affirm the judgments of the trial court accordingly.

Panel Selects 3 for 8th District Chancery Court

The Judicial Nominating Commission met yesterday to interview candidates for a seat on the 8th Judicial District Chancery Court. The vacancy was created due to the death of Judge Billy Joe White in November. The commission selected James L. Cotton Jr. of Johnson City, Charles P. Sexton of Jonesborough, and Andrew R. Tillman of Elizabethton. Learn more about the candidates on the Administrative Office of the Court’s website.

Panel Picks 3 for Criminal Court

The Judicial Nominating Committee chose three applicants as finalists for the First Judicial District Criminal Court seat being vacated by Lynn Brown. They are: Steve Finney of Johnson City, Gene Scott of Watauga and Stacy Street of Elizabethton. The panel interviewed seven candidates today. The Johnson City Press reported the news. Learn more about the candidates from the Administrative Office of the Courts.

50 Years after 'Gideon,' Indigent Defense Funding Still an Issue

In her Tennessee Bar Journal column this month, President Jackie Dixon looks back at the 50 years since the Gideon decision, explaining why adequate funding is still needed for indigent defense.

Judge Changes Way Records Are Released

Arrest warrants and other court papers for the Carter County General Sessions Court and Juvenile Court are no longer being distributed through normal record-keeping channels, reports the Johnson City Press. This week, General Sessions Judge John Walton issued an order limiting release of “arrest warrants, summonses, violations of probation, petitions, capiases and attachments” to the bench clerk Lori Pierce. Circuit court clerks and at least one attorney said they could not get access to the documents. County Attorney Keith Bowers was to meet with interested parties today to find a resolution to the issue.

Paper, FBI Near Agreement on Withers' Records

The Commercial Appeal and the federal government reportedly have agreed in principle to settle the newspaper's lawsuit seeking documents about civil rights-era photographer Ernest Withers' work as an informant for the FBI. In a court filing late Wednesday night, the paper and the FBI said they were in the process of finalizing a settlement agreement. U.S. Dist. Judge Amy Berman Jackson granted the request Thursday morning. The paper’s publisher and one of its reporters are seeking access to documents about Withers’ role as an FBI informant while photographing key historical events during the civil rights struggle.

Paper Raises Rates for Legal Notices; Court Looks at Options

Before some cases can be resolved in Hamilton County Chancery Court, legal notice of the action must be published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Next week, the price of that notice goes up by $50 -- the first time the paper has raised the rate in eight years. Chancery Court Clerk Lee Akers, however, is reportedly considering shifting the notices to a smaller and cheaper newspaper. He confirmed Thursday that he has met with the Hamilton County Herald to discuss possible arrangements.

Track Legislation of Interest to Tennessee Attorneys

The TBA has a number of tools to help you track action in the Tennessee General Assembly. Read TBA Today for regular news updates and follow the TBA Action List to track bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in -- those it has initiated, taken a position on, or has a policy on. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.

Durand Remembered as Kind, Giving Advocate

Memphis lawyer Kemper Durand, who died last Saturday, is remembered by friend and law partner Bill Haltom in this tribute out today. Among Durand's notable accomplishments was his pro bono work that secured freedom for an innocent man who had been in jail 22 years. Read that inspiring story in a 2002 Tennessee Bar Journal article. A crime victim himself, Durand once testified, Haltom writes, for one of his kidnappers to recieve the most lenient sentence possible because he felt the man was an unwilling accomplice. Details for a memorial service, set for next month, are incomplete.

Farewell Reception for Cole Next Tuesday

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) invites friends and colleagues to a farewell reception honoring departing Executive Director Erik Cole next Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the law firm of Dodson, Parker Behm & Capparella, 1310 6th Ave. North, Nashville. Remarks will begin at 5 p.m. Cole has served as TALS’ executive director since 2005. He is departing to take a position with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, where he will oversee the Financial Empowerment Center hosted by the mayor’s Office of Economic and Community Development. Cole will work on creating new programs to bring financial stability and empowerment to low-income Nashvillians. Download the invitation.

Pro Bono Groups, Public Defender to Help Homeless

On Feb. 13, the Legal Aid Society, Nashville Pro Bono Program and Metropolitan Nashville Public Defender’s Office will organize more than 40 legal professionals and volunteers to provide free legal help to those who attend Project Homeless Connect – a one-day event that brings together more than 70 agencies to serve approximately 1,500 individuals and families struggling with homelessness, housing issues and unemployment. It is the first time the pro bono groups have joined the public defender in providing services to this group. The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, 300 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville.

Fiscal Cliff Averted, New Tax Laws in Place -- Are You Ready?

Now that the so-called fiscal cliff has been averted, join John Burns and Ralph Levy from Dickinson Wright as they discuss how the recently enacted American Tax Relief Act of 2012 will affect you and your clients. Among its many provisions, the act raises most income tax rates, raises capital gains and dividend rates, sets a new top estate and gift tax rate, extends a number of tax breaks and provides for permanent AMT relief. The pair will discuss these and other issues during a one-hour webcast on Monday.


Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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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