Conservatorship Bill Passes House, 93-0

The House today unanimously approved TBA-backed legislation to reform conservatorship law in Tennessee. The vote came after a last-minute amendment that the Tennessean said would create a new and special path for hospitals to move patients unable to make decisions for themselves into lower cost settings such as nursing homes or rehabilitation faculties. The amended bill tomorrow goes back to the Senate, where Tennessee Bar Association Executive Director Allan Ramsaur expects it to get the support needed for passage. “We worked with the hospitals to find a third way of preserving rights but not requiring them to keep someone in the expensive hospital bed," he said of the amendment. TBA members will be able to learn more about the legislation during a program at the 2013 TBA Convention in Nashville that focuses on changes in the law coming out of the current General Assembly session.

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
03 - 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


Jill Grim, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony T.

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


Father appeals the termination of his parental rights to his four biological children. The trial court terminated his parental rights on the grounds of abandonment by failure to provide a suitable home, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plan, and persistence of conditions. Finding that at least two of the grounds for termination are supported by clear and convincing evidence and that the Department of Children’s Services exerted reasonable efforts to reunite the family, we affirm the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Barbara E. Futter, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tiffany G.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Leslie Curry, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.


The Juvenile Court terminated the parental rights of the mother of a child on the ground of severe abuse; the court also found that termination was in the best interest of the child. Mother appeals, contending that the evidence is not clear and convincing that termination of her rights is in the child’s best interest. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Michael T. Braxton, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

The Petitioner, Michael T. Braxton, appeals the Circuit Court of Lauderdale County’s denial of his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the trial court’s judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Following our review, we grant the State’s motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James P. DeRossitt, IV, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Justin Diana.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Greg Gilbert, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Justin Diana, pled guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Court to one count of attempted solicitation of sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means and three counts of statutory rape. He received a total effective sentence of four years. Thereafter, the petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that his trial counsel were ineffective and that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. The postconviction court denied the petition, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Joseph T. Howell, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tommie L. Hill, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred L. Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Tommie L. Hill, Jr., appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court denying the petition.

District Court Fee Hike to Take Effect May 1

On May 1, all federal district courts will begin charging a $50 administrative fee for filing a civil action, suit or proceeding in a district court in addition to the $350 filing fee. The Judicial Conference approved this amendment in September thereby increasing the total filing fee to $400. The administrative fee does not apply to miscellaneous civil cases, habeas corpus cases, or to cases filed by pro se prisoner plaintiffs who have been provisionally granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis.

Vanderbilt, UT Score High in Law Student Survey

The University of Tennessee ranked as the top law school in the South for practical and clinical training, while Vanderbilt was ranked number two for quality of faculty and academic instruction in the just released student survey produced by Above the Law, a website that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of law. The schools also scored high in several other categories on the survey.

Feds Charge IRS Workers with Theft

Federal prosecutors have indicted 24 Internal Revenue Service employees in Tennessee with theft, the Tennessean reports. The employees were charged with allegedly lying to get unemployment, food stamps, welfare and housing vouchers. The investigation originated with the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which has been focusing specifically on IRS employees who illegally draw government benefits as part of what they call “Operation Double Dip.”

Juvenile Court Honors CASA Workers

The Williamson County Juvenile Court system recently recognized a number of community members for their work with Williamson County CASA. Those honored included CASA’s program director Barbara Tierno, director of development and public relations Danielle McMorran, advocate supervisor Audrey Freshwater and 11 individual volunteer advocates. The Tennessean has the full list of honorees.

Memorial Service Set for Richard Fields

A memorial service for Memphis attorney Richard Fields, who died this past Saturday, will take place at noon on April 27 at the Church of the River, 292 Virginia Ave. W., Memphis 38103. The Memphis Bar Association reported the update.

New Rule Results in Suspension of 62 Lawyers

The Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order April 12 suspending 62 lawyers who have assumed inactive status but have not paid the required annual inactive status fee to the Board of Professional Responsibility. In January 2012, the court adopted amendments to Rule 9, Sections 20.1, 20.2 and 20.8, which included the new fee requirement. The fee is due on or before the first day of the attorney’s birth month each year. The order issued this week reflects lawyers who did not pay the fee for the first and second quarters of the year. Going forward, the BPR will issue suspension orders monthly. See the list of those suspended.

Veterans' Legal Clinic Set for Tuesday

The next Veterans’ Legal Clinic sponsored by the Memphis Bar Association will take place Tuesday from noon until 2 p.m. at 1407 Union Ave., Suite 815. A training session for volunteers will be held immediately prior to the clinic from 11 a.m. to noon. Training will cover legal issues most often raised by veterans including expungement of a criminal record; handling fines, tickets and court costs; and paying child support. Volunteers do not need to be certified by the Veterans’ Administration to participate in the training or clinic. For more information contact Anne Fritz at (901) 527-3575 or

Senate Approves School Security Bill

The state Senate today approved legislation to allow teachers who have worked as police officers in the past to carry their guns with them at school. The measure was approved along with provisions that would keep parents from information about which teachers are carrying, or even if a school has any armed teachers. The Tennessean has the story.

New Legislator Brings Caution to First-Term Work

Freshman lawmaker, state Sen. Steven Dickerson (R-Nashville) learned during his first legislative session that even the best-intentioned laws can have unintended consequences. In a feature by the Nashville Legder, Dickerson said he has moved cautiously, trying to fully understand how different proposals might impact different people. “Everybody I’ve spoken to is committed to doing the right thing,” Dickerson says. But, of course, different people have different ideas about what the “right thing” is, he adds. While he thinks Gov. Bill Haslam “struck the perfect balance” with his Medicaid expansion proposal, Dickerson said if Haslam and the feds do reach an agreement, he would defer judgment on his vote until he has had a chance to study the details.

Tenn. Senators Help Vote Down Expanded Gun Legislation

Senate Republicans on Wednesday rejected an amendment to tighten background checks for gun buyers and ban assault weapons, the Nashville City Paper Reports. Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker both voted against the legislation. “I voted against the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban because it clearly infringes on Second Amendment rights, and I voted against the Toomey-Manchin amendment because it could easily evolve into a national gun registry.” Alexander said.


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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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