Robert F. Kennedy Addresses Memphis Law Grads

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. challenged the 122 graduates of the University of Memphis’ Cecil B. Humphreys School of Law to use their law degrees to fight corporate corruption and protect the environment, the Commercial Appeal reports. Law is “a sacred profession,” Kennedy told the law school graduates Sunday afternoon at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. “More than ever, it’s attorneys who are raising their hand or manning the barricades ... to make sure we retain the value of our nation. I hope some of you students will spend at least some of your time if not all of it taking up this battle, recognizing that democracy and the environment are intertwined.”

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 Criminal Appeals

Revised opinion in connection with Clayton Bezuidenhout v. State of Tennessee, M2012-01114-CCA-R3-PC. The ADA has been deleted on the first page

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals



Bawer Jamil Tayip, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Clayton Bezuidenhout.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Smith, Associate Deputy Attorney General; and Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Clayton Bezuidenhout, appeals from the Williamson County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2009 guilty plea to theft of property valued at more than $500 but less than $1000. He contends that the trial court erred by concluding that the petition was untimely and that the one-year statute of limitations was not tolled. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Attorney "Wesley Bray" is being added as counsel of record for the Defendant during the trial. This opinion was filed on 9/27/12.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Wesley Bray (at trial) and David Brady and Jennifer Kollstedt (on appeal), Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gerald Eugene White.
Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Randy York, District Attorney General; and Douglas E. Crawford, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


A Putnam County jury convicted the Defendant, Gerald Eugene White, of possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with intent to sell or deliver and simple possession of oxycodone. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a career offender to an effective sentence of thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Defendant appeals, arguing that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions; (2) the trial court erred when it allowed testimony in violation of Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b); (3) the State made an improper closing argument; and (4) the trial court improperly sentenced the Defendant as a career offender. After a thorough review of the record and relevant law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


James A. Rose, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darius M.


Laura A. Stewart, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Olivia E.


This is a termination of parental rights case involving a set of young twins, Mya E. and Kaleah E. (“the Children”). The Children were born out of wedlock to Jasmine E. (“Mother”) and Darius M. (“Father”) on June 1, 2008. The Children, found to be dependent and neglected by Juvenile Court Order entered January 28, 2011, were placed in the custody of their maternal grandmother, Olivia E. Olivia E. filed a petition seeking to terminate the parental rights of Father and Mother on March 30, 2012. The petition alleged as grounds statutory abandonment and persistence of conditions. Mother later joined in the petition to terminate her parental rights. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition to terminate Father’s parental rights upon its finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that Father had abandoned the Children by willfully failing to visit and support them. The court also found clear and convincing evidence that the conditions leading to removal persisted and were unlikely to be remedied in the near future. The court further found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination of parental rights was in the Children’s best interest. Father has appealed. We affirm.

Today's News

Ginsburg Expands on her Disenchantment with Roe v. Wade

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told several hundred University of Chicago School of Law students of her continuing disenchantment with the legacy of Roe v. Wade as the featured guest for a program on “Roe v Wade at 40.” In the discussion moderated by constitutional scholar Geoffrey Stone, Ginsburg said the court could have, and should have, avoided a broad-based decision. The 80-year-old justice said the sheer sweep of the controversial 1972 decision short-circuited the development of a political groundswell that was building at the state and local level—not only on the issue of abortion—but on all phases of women’s rights. The ABA Journal has the story.

Coffee County Courthouse in Line for Repairs

Coffee County officials are looking to repair and update the 141-year old courthouse, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Rebuilt after a fire in 1870, the courthouse now houses Coffee County Circuit Court, a Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Division office, the Coffee County Historical Society and a University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension law enforcement office. "This is a treasure," Circuit Court Judge Vanessa Jackson said. "It could be magnificent. There's a lot of community interest in trying to raise some funds for it."

Fifth Trucking Company Sues Pilot

A fifth trucking company has filed suit against Pilot Flying J in the wake of a federal investigation into charges that the travel center chain cheated truckers out of promised rebates. Filing in U.S. District Court in Alabama, Osborn Transportation of Gasden accused Knoxville company of breach of contract, unjust enrichment fraud and violations of consumer protection statues. Pilot CEO James Haslam has begun to reimburse trucking firms for rebates that were improperly reduced. The Tennessean has more.

Bar Draws Praise for Comment on Bias Rule

As reported in TBAToday on Friday, the Tennessee Supreme Court last week turned back a proposal to broaden the application of the prohibition on manifestations of individual bias and prejudice in the rules of professional conduct. Commenting on the action, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today said, “Rules already in place prevent lawyers from engaging in discrimination. The proposed rule was merely an attempt to write political correctness into professional codes of conduct. I congratulate the Bar Association for fighting against this unnecessary rule.” Read the story from TBAToday including the TBA comment.

Tennessee Walking Horse Industry Faces New Cruelty Case

Authorities recently seized 19 Tennessee Walking Horses that may have been subjected to cruelty, the Tennessean reports. Trainer Larry Wheelon has not entered a plea on his one count of aggravated cruelty to livestock on suspicion of soring, but vigorously disputed the charges in a statement to a trade magazine. Wheelon’s case echoes last year’s soring scandal involving famed trainer Jackie McConnell whose arrest spurred the Department of Agriculture to release new rules over horse industry groups that handle show inspections.

Book: Young Lawyers are More Miserable Than Ever

In a new book titled “The Lawyer Bubble,” author Steven Harper argues that Big Law is taking a huge toll on young lawyers. Harper discusses the reasons why young corporate associates are unhappy with their jobs using findings from a 2007 ABA survey and American Bar Foundation longitudinal study called “After the JD.” The author theorizes that that the intense pressure to log “billable hours” attributes to junior attorneys’ dissatisfaction. Business Insider has the story.

Baker Donelson Expands Memphis Office

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC has renewed and expanded its lease at the First Tennessee Building in downtown Memphis. According to the Memphis Business Journal, it is the largest law firm in the city and is now taking 27 percent of the 415,658-square-foot office tower.

Brentwood Continues Election Commission Lawsuit

The City of Brentwood will ask the Tennessee Supreme Court to hear its appeal in a lawsuit with the Williamson County Election Commission, the Brentwood Homepage reports. Last year, the Brentwood library refused an election commission request to hold early voting during the Republican primary in 2012, citing interference with previously scheduled community group events. The Williamson County Election Commission sued the city of Brentwood to clarify the issue. After the state Appeals Court overturned the decision by Chancery Court Judge Tim Easter that the local Election Commission cannot demand use of a public building, city commissioners voted to continue the lawsuit.

Internet Sales Tax Bill to Face Fight in House

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey joined with Gov. Bill Haslam Thursday to encourage congressional Republicans to support the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would allow states to collect sales tax on Internet purchases. Ramsey said traditional retailers are disadvantaged by having to collect state and local sales taxes while many online retailers don’t. The bill passed the U.S. Senate yesterday, but faces an uncertain future in the U.S. House. U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., supported the bill, however U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told the Chattanooga Times Free Press last week, “There’s nothing fair about the Marketplace Fairness Act.”

Williamson Bar Recognizes Students, Attorney and Citizens, Elects New Leaders

The Williamson County Bar Association, in conjunction with the National Law Day, recognized the Franklin High School Mock Trial team as local champions. Five students were recognized and awarded scholarships. Local attorneys and citizens received awards, as well as the General Sessions and Circuit Court deputy clerks. The association also voted in the 2013-2014 slate of officers including Craig Brent, president; Neil Campbell, vice president; Christina Ferrell Daugherty, secretary; Shauna Billingsley, treasurer; and Elaine Beeler, immediate past president. Read more about the award winners.


Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2013 Tennessee Bar Association