DOJ Report: Reduce Jail Time for Some Drug Crimes

As prison populations swell, the Justice Department is seeking sentencing changes that would keep tough penalties for violent and repeat drug offenses, but provide reduced or alternative sentences for less serious offenders, the Leaf Chronicle reports. Jonathan Wroblewski, director of the Justice Department’s policy and legislation office, wrote an annual report sent Thursday to the U.S. Sentencing Commission urging the independent agency to consider sentencing changes enacted at the state level as potential models for change at the federal level.

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
00 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
01 - 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 Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Douglas T. Jenkins, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, G.W.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Marcie E. Greene, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.


This termination of parental rights case concerns Joshua P. and Quinn W. (“the Children”), the children of G.W. (“Mother”). The Children were placed in the protective custody of the Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) after both parents were arrested. Later, DCS petitioned the court to terminate Mother’s parental rights. Following a bench 1 trial, the court found that multiple grounds for termination exist and that termination is in the Children’s best interest, both findings said to be made by clear and convincing evidence. Mother appeals. We affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Joshua H. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jason C. Woods and Monica Woods.

David P. Hawley, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, David Lowrey and FAVA, LLC.

B. Thomas Hickey, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellees, Cindy Walker, individually and dba Crye-Leike Realtors, Inc. REO Division; Crye-Leike, Inc.; and Crye- Leike of Chattanooga, Inc. nka Crye-Leike South, Inc.


The buyers of a house sued their real estate agent, the seller’s real estate agent, and others, alleging that the defendants concealed the fact that their home’s garage violated the neighborhood restrictive covenants. The trial court granted summary judgment, finding, as a matter of law, their garage did satisfy the requirement of the restrictive covenants, i.e., that the garage be large enough to accommodate at least two cars. Because the undisputed material facts establish that the plaintiffs’ home is in compliance, we affirm.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Public Establishments Denial of Admittance to Persons Wearing Motorcycle Club Insignia

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-07-12

Opinion Number: 55

Pro Bono Hours Down Second Straight Year at Big Firms

Despite healthy increases in revenues and profits in 2012, The Am Law 200 posted drops in both total pro bono hours and average hours per lawyer for the second year in a row. There were, however, two hints of a nascent rebound. After dropping 10.6 percent in 2011, The Am Law 200's average percentage of lawyers performing at least 20 hours of pro bono work rose 0.4 percent in 2012, to 44 percent.

DAG Office Holds Open House

The Eighth Judicial District Attorney General’s office held an open house last week at its new location at 411 Blue Top Rd., the Claiborne Progress reports. Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones and staff members were on hand to give tours, answer questions and serve refreshments to the public. “Our new office facility enhances the services we are able to provide to Claiborne and Union Counties.” Phillips-Jones said. “We’re excited by the opportunity to give these counties and our district the best we have to offer.”

Survey: Law the Least Valued Profession

The Pew Research Center released a poll last week asking Americans to rate 10 professions on their contributions to society. Results showed lawyers ranked last at number 10 with only 18 percent of respondents believing that lawyers contribute to society. The military ranked at number one, followed by teachers, medical doctors, scientists and engineers. The Nashville Business Journal has the story.

Access to Justice Videos Now Include Closed Captioning

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice informational videos now include closed captioning to make legal guidance accessible to even more people, the Administrative Office of the Courts reports. The videos review topics for the general public for civil cases in general sessions courts — where many civil legal matters take place — such as contract disputes, debt, landlord issues and civil suits under $25,000.

AG Revises Rules for Investigating Journalists

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. promised tough new restrictions on the seizure of journalists’ phone records and emails, backing off from the Obama’ administration’s aggressive use of secret court orders to obtain news media records as part of investigations into leaks of government secrets. Knoxnews reports that under the new rules, prosecutors in nearly all cases will be required to give news organizations advance notice before seeking records of contacts between reporters and their sources. That will give a news organization time to challenge the demand for records in court. Moreover, the Justice Department will be forbidden from using search warrants to obtain records from reporters except in cases where the reporter is the target of a criminal investigation not involving news gathering.

Law Prof Offers Practical Tips for Landing J.D. Jobs

Many law school students and graduates are frequently —but fuzzily— advised to “be entrepreneurial," "build your brand" and "think outside the box" while searching for a job within the legal sector. American University Washington College of Law professor Walter A. Effross instead complied a list of 10 specific and practical tips for maximizing one’s professional credentials, networks and career opportunities. The National Law Journal has the story.

Battle Over 'Guns in Trunks' Law May Continue

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said he will “probably” support an anticipated push to change the state’s “guns in parking lots” law next year to clarify that permit holders cannot be fired solely for having their guns in a locked car in their employers’ parking lots. In May, Attorney General Bob Cooper issued a formal legal opinion that said the new law— while forbidding any criminal prosecution of permit holders complying with its provisions — will have no impact on Tennessee law that otherwise generally allows a company to fire an employee “at will,” for any reason or no reason. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that Ramsey stated Cooper “muddied the waters” on the issue and he has received complaints from employee’s who were upset that their company’s prohibition on guns in parking lots remains unchanged.

Rand Paul Aides Say Alexander Ad Not an Endorsement

Aides to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul say that footage of him praising Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander in a campaign advertisement is not an endorsement for a third term in the Senate. Paul, a tea party favorite who praises the senator in Alexander’s statewide ads, said through a spokesman his remarks should be viewed in a very narrow context. "The footage that Sen. Alexander's campaign is using is from a public press conference in regards to a bill they both co-sponsored," spokesman Sergio Gor said. "At this time Senator Paul has not made an endorsement in this race." The Chattanooga Times Free Press has more.

NALS Silent Auction on Thursday

NALS Association of Legal Professionals, Nashville chapter, will be hosting its first annual After Hours Silent Auction Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz PC, located at 211 Commerce St. in Nashville The event will feature country music artist Stephanie Quayle, who performed at this year’s CMA Fest. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. Click here to RSVP.


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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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