Duncan to Speak at Namesake School's Commencement

Congressman John J. Duncan will deliver the commencement address to the inaugural class of his namesake institution, Lincoln Memorial University's John J. Duncan, Jr. School of Law. The ceremony will be held Saturday in the Knoxville Civic Auditorium at 10 a.m. At the school’s naming announcement in 2009, LMU Chairman Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk said, “It is fitting that this program has been named for a great lawyer and civic leader who has helped so many. Our mission is to provide educational opportunities to the people of this region and Congressman Duncan has been serving this region for over 20 years.” The Claiborn Progress has the story. 

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
07 - 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

RUBY BLACKMON v. EATON ELECTRICAL, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Jeffrey Lee, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ruby Blackmon

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, William E. Young, Solicitor General, Derek C. Jumper, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Judge: HIGHERS

Appellant’s claim for unemployment benefits was denied based upon a finding of workrelated misconduct. Appellant sought review in the chancery court, which upheld the decision of the Commissioner’s Designee. On appeal to this Court, Appellant claims that the chancery court erred in denying her request for a continuance and in affirming the decision of the Commissioner’s Designee without considering the evidence which purportedly would have been introduced had a continuance been allowed. We affirm the decision of the chancery court.


WILLOWMET HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. v. CITY OF BRENTWOOD, TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Suzette Peyton, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willowmet Homeowners Association, Inc.

Teresa Reall Ricks, and E. Leith Marsh, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Brentwood, Tennessee.

Judge: CLEMENT

The homeowners’ association of a residential subdivision in Brentwood, Tennessee seeks just compensation from the City of Brentwood for loss of property rights in a portion of the subdivision’s open space. The City acquired the property by purchasing it from the developers of the subdivision without the Association’s knowledge. The Declaration of Protection Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions of the subdivision, which the developers drafted and of which the City was on notice, states that the developers “will deed the completed Open Space on the subject Properties to the Association free and clear of any encumbrances before the first Lot is conveyed to a Lot Owner.” Although they sold the first individual lot in 2001, the developers did not convey any of the open space to the homeowners’ association until after the sale to the City. This action by the homeowners’ association ensued. The trial court summarily dismissed the action on the City’s motion, finding the homeowners’ association did not own a compensable property right in the Open Space when it was sold to the City. We have determined the homeowner’s association had an equitable interest in the Open Space pursuant to the Declaration of Protective Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions when it was sold to the City; therefore, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

TIMOTHY CLINGER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Timothy Clinger, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Amy Hunter, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Timothy Clinger, appeals from the trial court’s summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. The State has filed a motion for this court to affirm pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Having reviewed the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GABRIELLA M. DORADO

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Ann C. Short, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gabriella M. Dorado.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Randall Nichols, District Attorney General; Phil Morton, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Gabriella M. Dorado, pled guilty to attempted possession with intent to sell a Schedule I controlled substance, simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective six-year sentence to be served on supervised probation. Thereafter, the Defendant filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea, claiming that she received the ineffective assistance of counsel, which constituted a “manifest injustice.” After a hearing, the trial court denied her motion. The Defendant appeals the trial court’s denial, claiming the trial court erred when it found that she had not proved that Counsel’s representation prejudiced her. After a thorough review of the applicable law and the record, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


ANTHONY LEROY HARRIS V. HENRY STEWARD, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Anthony Leroy Harris, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Henry Steward, Warden.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Anthony Leroy Harris, appeals the summary denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petitioner is currently serving an effective ninety-year sentence in the Department of Correction following convictions for aggravated kidnapping and armed robbery. In his petition, he alleges he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because his sentences are disproportionate to the severity of the offenses he committed. On appeal, he contends that the habeas corpus court erred in its denial because proportionality of a sentence has been recognized as a habeas corpus claim in the United State Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Following review of the record, we conclude no viable habeas corpus claim was presented and affirm the denial of the petition.


TERRY WAYNE ROBINSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terry Wayne Robinson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Terry Wayne Robinson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of one count of theft of property over $10,000, a Class C felony, and sentenced as a multiple offender to ten years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying his petition because he was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he contends that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to interview witnesses and by failing to insist that the petitioner testify at trial. Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of the petition.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COLLIER SMITH

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Leslie I. Ballin and Richard S. Townley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Collier Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Collier Smith, pled guilty to statutory rape, a Class E felony, and was sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to one year, suspended to two years probation. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in denying his request for judicial diversion. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


ANTHONY L. WASHINGTON v. DWIGHT BARBEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Anthony L. Washington, pro se, appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter and Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Dwight Barbee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

Petitioner pro se appeals the Lauderdale County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for habeas corpus. The petitioner contends that his conviction for first degree (felony) murder is void because of a defect in his indictment. This issue was previously adjudicated in one of the petitioner’s prior petitions for habeas corpus, and this court is bound by the result reached in the prior case. The judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.


JOHN WILLIAMS V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert C. Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Teresa McClusker, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, John Williams, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner is currently serving an effective sentence of 161 years following his convictions for five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping and three counts of aggravated robbery. In this appeal, he contends that his petition for relief was erroneously denied because his right to a public trial was violated and that trial counsel was ineffective in failing object to or raise that violation. Following review of the record, we affirm the denial of the post-conviction petition.


Today's News

Tennessee Receives Portion of Drug Quality Claim

Attorney General Bob Cooper announced yesterday that Tennessee will receive more than $5.5 million in the $500 million settlement with generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy. The settlement resolved claims that Ranbaxy sold inferior drugs and made false statements about how they were made, the Memphis Daily News reports.


Ceremony Set for New Federal Defender in Memphis

An installation ceremony for Doris Randle-Holt, the new chief federal defender for the Western District of Tennessee, will take place May 24 at 2 p.m. in Judge John T. Fowlkes’s courtroom on the ninth floor of the Federal Building at 167 North Main Street in Memphis. Download the invitation.


Report: Top Law Schools Fall Short on Diversity

Lawyers of Color magazine catalogued minority faculty at all 200 ABA-accredited law schools and found that the most racially diverse schools fall well outside of the U.S News top ranking list. Florida International University College of Law topped the diversity list, despite being ranked number 105 overall. The National Law Journal notes, however, that a number of professors have raised questions regarding the thoroughness and accuracy of the report.


This Day in History: 1954 Ruling Ended 'Separate but Equal'

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that state laws establishing separate but equal educational institutions for blacks and whites violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The primary question Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the court’s opinion is “the constitutionality of segregation in public education. We have now announced that such segregation is a denial of the equal protection of the laws.” In an opinion piece for the Tennessean, Frank Daniels III examines the societal and legal impact this groundbreaking ruling had on the American educational system.


Memphis Courts FBI for Downtown Offices

The FBI is searching for new office space and Memphis leaders are attempting to convince the agency to locate in the city’s downtown. Currently occupying office space in East Memphis, the FBI is looking to sign a 20-year lease on more than 95,000 square feet of office space beginning in 2015.


Haslam Signs School Gun Bill

Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a bill to allow teachers with law enforcement training to carry weapons in classrooms, Nooga reports. Introduced a month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the bill makes confidential which teachers are armed and dictates the kinds of ammunition allowed.


Cane Ridge Student Considers Future Career in Law

Calvin Jenkins is one of the participants of the Cane Ridge High School Academy of Law, a youth court program in which students get coaching from Tennessee Bar Association lawyers and a glimpse of a possible future career. Jenkins, a senior, has successfully handled both sides of students’ truancy cases before the Cane Ridge Restorative Court this year, although he says he prefers prosecution. He plans to attend Lipscomb University in the fall to major in law and, hopefully, walk on the basketball team. The Tennessean has the story.


White House Pushes for Media Shield Law

A White House official called Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York., on Wednesday to ask him to reintroduce the media shield law that he supported in 2009 but that never received a vote on the Senate floor. The push comes in the wake of Department of Justice subpoenas of a broad swath of Associated Press phone records, including several main numbers used by more than 100 reporters, WRCB reports." This kind of law would balance national security needs against the public's right to the free flow of information. At minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case," Schumer said in a statement.


Nashville School of Law to Host Patron’s Dinner

The Nashville School of Law will host a Patron’s Dinner and Reception on Thursday at the Richland County Club. The event leads up to the 20th Annual Recognition Dinner, scheduled for June 7. This year's event will honor Distinguished Alumna Judge Barbara Haynes, Distinguished Faculty Member Marshall Davidson, and Community Service Award recipient Howard Gentry Jr.


 
 

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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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