U.S. Attorney Steps Down

U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Jerry Martin is stepping down after three years to create a Nashville office for Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, a San Diego-based firm recognized as a leader in class action and whistleblower litigation. According to the Tennessean, the firm represents investors who allege deception and fraud, and has represented shareholders in high-caliber lawsuits against Enron, WorldCom and Wachovia. “I wouldn’t be happy representing big corporate interests,” Martin said Wednesday morning. “I’m more interested in unearthing fraud and representing the underdog.”

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
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 Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


D. Scott Hurley and Ryan N. Shamblin, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, David L. Alley, Sr. and David L. Alley, Jr.
John W. Cleveland, Sr., Sweetwater, Tennessee, pro se, and for the appellees, Stephen H. Cook and John W. Cleveland, Sr.


This appeal concerns the statute of limitation for the extension of a judgment. J. Waymon Ellison (“Plaintiff”) obtained a judgment in the Chancery Court for Loudon County (“the Trial Court”) against David L. Alley, Sr. and David L. Alley, Jr. (“the Defendants”) in an action related to a real estate transaction. Years later, Plaintiff’s successors-in-interest1 (“the Successors”) sought to extend the judgment a second time for another ten years. The Trial Court extended the judgment, holding that the first ten year extension of the judgment began to run upon the expiration of ten years from the date the judgment was entered, and, that the initial ten year period in this case began to run from the date the judgment actually was entered rather than the nunc pro tunc date indicated in the judgment. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court as modified.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David Christensen, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gregory Lamont Hodge a.k.a. Gregory L. Locke.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Derek K. Smith and Stacey B. Edmondson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Williamson County Criminal Court Jury found the appellant, Gregory Lamont Hodge a.k.a Gregory L. Locke, guilty of delivery of .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced the appellant as a career offender to thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department’s refusal to allow defense counsel to record an interview with the confidential informant who purchased drugs from the appellant prevented him from receiving a fair trial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


M. Keith Davis, Dunlap, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lonnie Lee Owens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steven M. Blount, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Lonnie Lee Owens, appeals the Franklin County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his convictions for second degree murder, abuse of a corpse, and theft over $10,000 and his effective twenty-four-year sentence. On appeal, he contends that (1) counsel was ineffective by failing to object to an erroneous statement contained in the presentence report and by failing to include the trial transcript in the appellate record, (2) counsel was ineffective in cross-examining the medical examiner, (3) counsel was ineffective by attempting to negotiate a plea agreement in the jury’s presence, (4) counsel was ineffective by failing to request a jury instruction on lesser included offenses, (5) counsel was ineffective by failing to interview a witness before the trial, (6) counsel was ineffective by failing to request a change of venue, (7) counsel was ineffective by failing to file a motion for a new trial and by failing to appeal his conviction, (8) the cumulative effect of counsel’s errors deprived him of the effective assistance of counsel, and (9) he is entitled to a delayed appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Candidates Interview for Juvenile Judge

Candidates seeking to replace Juvenile Judge Suzanne Bailey offered suggestions on how they would improve the juvenile justice system in Hamilton County during public interviews. Ideas included jailing parents of truant children, holding Saturday court, and allowing reformed youth to determine punishments for new youth offenders. Judge Bailey announced in February that she will retire April 30. Commissioners plan to name her replacement next Thursday. The Chattanooga Times Free Press has more. 

Lawyers and Doctors Partner to Help Patients

Lawyers and doctors are finding some common ground in clinics and hospitals across the country, according to NPR. In an Ohio women’s clinic, doctors are studying how adding lawyers to the health care team can help improve patient care. Meredith Watts is an attorney for Community Legal Aid, a nonprofit that gives free legal help to low-income people, but works out of the clinic. Watt’s role on the team is to help solve issues outside a doctor’s control -- such as anxiety over an eviction -- that might affect a patient’s health. "It's exciting to be able to do what we think of as preventative law, rather than always being crisis intervention because you can help something not happen, before it becomes a crisis.” explained attorney Marie Curry who runs the medical-legal partnership.

Pro Bono Hotline Helps Hundreds of Tennesseans

The new toll free hotline for pro bono legal assistance 1-888 aLEGALz has received nearly 800 calls during the first three months of its opening, reports the Memphis Daily News. Funded by the International Paper Co. and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization, the hotline helps improve citizens' access to free legal assistance. Memphis attorney Tim Hughes, formerly of Memphis Area Legal Services Inc., was hired to man the line on weekdays and make the arrangements for legal representation. In addition to the hotline, the Access to Justice Commission also operates an online pro bono website, making Tennessee the first state to offer both options.

Law Firm Mergers Hit 4-Year High

Law firm mergers and acquisitions in the South have been as high as it’s been in four years, according to the most recent data from legal industry consulting firm Altman Weil. The Nashville Business Journal reports the organization’s MergerLine indicates the highest number of mergers and acquisitions occurred since first quarter 2009, primarily concentrated among small firms. Of the 21 acquisitions announced through the first quarter, 19 involved firms with 25 or fewer attorneys.

Senate Committee May Seek Records from DA Investigation

The Senate Judiciary Committee next week will consider a resolution directing the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to hand over all documents pertaining to the agency’s probe of 10th District Attorney General Steve Bebb. After a four-month TBI investigation, Attorney General Bob Cooper found no prosecutable criminal acts by Bebb, although Cooper did criticize Bebb’s office for poor judgment, mismanagement and deficient record keeping. As part of the panel’s oversight duties, Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, said “we need to be ensuring everyone in the judicial branch is doing their job correctly.” The Chattanooga Times Free Press has the story.

Amended Guns in School Bill Passes

The amended version of the bill that would allow some school staff to carry their weapons in the classrooms passed the House Civil Justice Committee and the Senate Education Committee yesterday afternoon. The measure gives local school districts the final say about allowing employees to carry a weapon on school property, but an added amendment states that any staffer doing so must be certified as a police officer. Former police officers who are now teachers and criminal justice teachers who have extensive police training would qualify. WKRN has the story.

Meth Bill Halted in Senate

A bill that would have reduced the amount of pseudoephedrine cold medication that can be purchased unanimously passed the House Health Committee but was stopped in the Senate General Subcommittee. HB 617, sponsored by Rep. Tony Shipley, R-Kingsport, aims to reduce the availability of the drug used in making methamphetamine. According to Knoxnews, Shipley expects it to pass the House then he will wait until next session so the Senate can reconsider it.

Wills for Heroes Clinic Planned for Saturday

The TBA Young Lawyers Division will hold a Wills for Heroes clinic in Franklin this Saturday and additional lawyer volunteers are needed to draft wills and other end-of-life documents for first responders and their families. The event, coordinated by Franklin City attorney Shauna Billingsley, will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Franklin Police Department, 900 Columbia Ave. Contact Billingsley at shauna.billingsley@franklintn.gov or (615) 550-6603 to get involved. Since 2008, the YLD has provided wills for more than 1,800 first responders in the state.

Free Legal Clinic to be Held Next Saturday

The Access to Justice Commission's free legal clinic will he held next Saturday, April 13 at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Yesterday's TBAToday gave the wrong date for the event. Clinics are held every second Saturday of the month.


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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