Vanderbilt, American Judicature Society Join Efforts

The American Judicature Society (AJS) and Vanderbilt Law School announced an affiliation agreement today that, according to the groups, will result in joint educational programming, publications and new research. In addition, AJS will relocate from Des Moines, Iowa, to the Vanderbilt campus in Nashville. Vanderbilt Law Dean Chris Guthrie said the partnership provides the opportunity to “strengthen ties to the bench and bar, conduct academic programming in areas of mutual interest, create new educational and professional opportunities for students, facilitate faculty research, and enhance the reach and reputation of the law school’s dispute resolution and criminal justice program." With the move to Tennessee, AJS executive director Seth Anderson has decided to remain in Iowa so the group is searching for a new director. Learn more about the job opening on the AJS website.

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
00 - 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 Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Jeremy B. Epperson, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Malcolm J. Coble.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Rolf Hazlehurst, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Malcolm J. Coble, contends that his right to a speedy trial was violated when the trial court revoked his community corrections sentence on the basis of a 2010 violation warrant, later amended in 2012, because the warrants were not executed and an evidentiary hearing held until 2012. After a review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Russell Jensen, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


This matter is before the Court upon the State’s motion to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Petitioner, Russell Jensen, filed a petition for habeas corpus relief, which the trial court summarily dismissed. This case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State’s motion is granted, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Gregory D. Allen, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Oscar Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; and Pamela Fleming, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Oscar Thomas (“the Petitioner”) filed a petition for post-conviction relief from his guiltypleaded convictions for carjacking and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief, and this appeal followed. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that his plea was constitutionally invalid due to the ineffective assistance of counsel. He also contends that his employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony conviction violates Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-1324(c). Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

TBA Volunteers Take Part in Teen Law Camp

TBA Public Education volunteers last week had the opportunity to work with a group of highly motivated students from across the state, helping them explore different aspects of the law and become more informed about educational and career paths they may want to pursue. The 20 students were participants at Law Camp, an annual event hosted by Lipscomb University’s Institute for Law, Justice & Society and co-sponsored by law firms and legal organizations, including the TBA. Law Camp 2013 focused on issues related to the U.S. Civil Rights movement and the evolution of the right to vote, from the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution through current Supreme Court decisions. See photos from the program.

Winchester Judge Won't Seek Reelection

After serving the citizens of the 12th Judicial District since 1986, Circuit Judge Buddy Perry will not seek re-election to the post when his term ends, The Herald Chronicle reports. In making the announcement, Perry said, “This is a difficult decision to make, not because of a desire to continue in office, but because of all the friends, colleagues, associates and wonderful people throughout the district I will miss seeing, talking and working with.” He also expressed his appreciation to the other judges in the district as well as the local public defender, district attorney general, court clerks and administrative staff for their support over the years.

Sassers Donate Papers to Vanderbilt

James R. Sasser, former U.S. senator from Tennessee and ambassador to China, and his wife, Mary, have donated their papers to Vanderbilt University, the Nashville Post reports. Sasser met his wife at the school while they were undergraduates. He also earned his law degree from the university. The donation contains photographs and other memorabilia from Sasser’s years in the Senate – including the gavel he used while chairing the Budget Committee -- and his time in China, where he forged close relationships with national leaders. Mary Sasser’s contributions include materials associated with her efforts to advance the cause of women around the world and promote women entrepreneurs.

Knox County Trustee Pleads Guilty to Misconduct

Knox County Trustee John Duncan III, son of U.S. Rep. Jimmy Duncan, pleaded guilty today to a felony charge of official misconduct, Knoxnews reports. According to prosecutors, Duncan and members of his staff received bonuses for training that was never completed. Duncan received a one-year probation and resigned from office. As part of the plea agreement, he will cooperate with all probes into the matter. Duncan has asked the Knox County Law Department to take over much of the legal operations for his department.

Roberts: Budget Cuts Affect Courts Differently

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday told a group of federal judges that federal budget cuts are having a different and more severe impact on the courts than other government agencies. “The cuts hit us particularly hard because we are made up of people. That is what the judicial branch is. It is not like we are the Pentagon where you can slow up a particular procurement program … When we have sustained cuts that mean[s] people have to be furloughed or worse and that has a more direct impact on the services that we can provide.” Gavel Grab reports on the remarks.

Holder’s Alma Mater Honors Her Work

Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Holder recently was honored by her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, for her leadership and dedication to the legal needs of Tennesseans throughout her career. The school presented her with its 225th Anniversary Medallion, which recognizes her “longstanding and dedicated leadership and service that has benefitted the people of Tennessee and those who serve Tennessee’s legal community; and for her mentoring of young people and young professionals.”

Knoxville Lawyer Dies

Knoxville lawyer Edward Calvin Miller Jr. died June 25 at 63. Miller attended the Webb School of Knoxville, the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis School of Law. He earned his law degree in 1980 and returned to Knoxville to practice in the areas of contract law and Social Security disability law. He was a principal at Miller & Drozdowski at the time of his death. Funeral services were held on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association or the charity of one’s choice.

Lawyer, Former Congressional Aide Dies

Macon County attorney Fletcher “Keith” Adkinson died June 19 at the age of 69. Adkinson, a 1969 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, represented corporations and entertainers in Beverly Hills and later in Washington, D.C. From 1974 to 1979, he was counsel to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations where he managed probes into organized crime, labor racketeering and government corruption. Adkinson was national director of Democrats for Reagan/Bush in 1980 and after the election, served on the Department of Justice Transition Team. In 1984 he took on a case to prove Jett Williams was the daughter of Hank Williams. He married her in 1986 and the couple lived for many years in Lafayette. He died while undergoing heart surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center. The Macon County Times has more on his life.

Williamson County Lawyer Suspended for 2 Years

Williamson County lawyer Thomas Holland McKinnie Jr. was suspended by the Tennessee Supreme Court on June 28 for two years. McKinnie submitted a conditional guilty plea that he violated Rules of Professional Conduct by (1) knowingly writing himself a check from his trust account that created an overdraft, (2) failing to account for a portion of the money he paid himself, and (3) not adequately responding to requests from the Board of Professional Responsibility. Download the BPR notice.

Knox Lawyer Censured for Facilitating Misconduct

Knox County lawyer Chadwick Barry Tindell received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility on June 28 after he pleaded guilty to facilitation of official misconduct. The conviction was based on his involvement in a plan by the Knox County Trustee to give employees bonuses for training and certification that they did not complete. Download the BPR notice.

Portrait Unveiling and Reception for Judge Phillips

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee will hold a portrait unveiling and reception in honor of Judge Thomas W. Phillips on July 11, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The event will take place in the courtyard of the Howard H. Baker Jr. U.S. Courthouse, 800 Market Street, Knoxville. Phillips is retiring effective Aug. 1. Knoxville lawyer Pamela Reeves has been nominated by President Obama to replace him.

Investiture of Judge Croom Set for Next Week

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Tennessee will host the investiture of Judge Jimmy L. Croom on July 12 at 2 p.m. The event will take place in the Fourth Floor Courtroom at the U.S. Courthouse, 111 South Highland Ave., Jackson. To RSVP contact or call (731) 421-9372.


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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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