Senate Passes Spending Bill; if Gov't Shuts Down Judiciary Would Stay Open 10 Days

The Senate this afternoon approved a bill designed to avoid a partial government shutdown next week, CBS News reports, but the legislation now returns to the House where Republican leaders have already said they won't pass the Senate bill. If that happens and the government partially shuts down on Oct. 1, the federal judiciary says it will remain open for business for approximately 10 days. “On or around Oct. 15, the Judiciary will reassess its situation and provide further guidance," according to a press release from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. "All proceedings and deadlines remain in effect as scheduled, unless otherwise advised.”

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
04 - TN Court of Appeals
15 - 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 Court of Appeals

IN RE CHRISTOPHER S. ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Philip M. Jacobs, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellants, Christopher S. and Tawana S.

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

Judge: FRIERSON

This is a termination of parental rights case focusing on Christopher S., Jr. (“C.J.”) and Lilly S., the minor children (“Children”) of Tawana S. (“Mother”) and Christopher S., Sr. (“Father”). The Children were taken into protective custody by the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) on October 14, 2010. On September 22, 2011, DCS filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of both parents. Following a bench trial held on April 27, 2012, and July 11, 2012, the trial court granted the petition upon its finding, by clear and convincing evidence, that the parents had committed severe child abuse and were mentally incompetent to provide for the further care and supervision of the Children. The court further found, by clear and convincing evidence, that termination of Father’s and Mother’s parental rights was in the Children’s best interests. Father and Mother have appealed. We reverse the finding that Father and Mother were mentally incompetent to provide for the further care and supervision of the Children. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects, including the termination of Father’s and Mother’s parental rights on the statutory ground of severe child abuse.


BARBARA ANN HERNANDEZ v. JOSÉ EMMANUEL HERNANDEZ

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Carl R. Ogle, Jr. and Scott Justice, Jefferson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, José Emmanuel Hernandez.

Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Barbara Ann Hayward, formerly Hernandez.

Judge: SUSANO

The issues in this divorce case are whether the trial court correctly ordered husband to pay wife $600 per month in transitional alimony for 36 months, child support in the amount of $253 per month, and $4,000 of the wife=s attorney=s fees, the latter as alimony in solido. At the time of trial, husband had been unemployed and actively seeking work for about one year. The trial court found that his income was zero. Wife did not argue that husband was voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, and the trial court made no such findings. The proof at trial establishes that many of the statutory factors supporting an award of alimony in futuro B including the need of the wife, duration of the marriage, i.e., 20 years, the parties= relative earning capacities, wife=s contributions to the marriage as homemaker and parent, and wife=s health B were demonstrated. Husband=s current ability to pay, however, is quite limited because of his involuntary unemployment and zero income. Consequently, we modify the transitional alimony award to $50 per month, but designate it as alimony in futuro. The difference in husband=s income, i.e., $1,191.66 per month, at the time his child support obligation was set and his income, i.e., zero, at time of trial likely supports a finding that there is a significant variance between the current support order of $253 and the amount of the proposed presumptive modified support order. Accordingly, we vacate the trial court=s order refusing to modify his child support obligation and remand for a recalculation of child support. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in all other respects.


STEVEN A. PUGH, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Steven A. Pugh, Jr., Mountain City, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, and Dianne Stamey Dycus, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights and Claims Division, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PER CURIAM

This appeal is from an order of the trial court denying the appellant’s motion to waive all fines and costs related to the nolle prosequi of all charges in Hamblen County Criminal Court case number 03CR212. Because it is clear from the record that no court costs or fines were assessed against the appellant as a result of the nolle prosequi entered in the proceedings below, there appears to be no judgment of the trial court adverse to the appellant’s interests and, therefore, we lack jurisdiction to entertain this appeal.


STEIN HOLDINGS, INC. v. GOENSE BOUNDS MANAGEMENT, LP, ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

John J. Heflin, III, Kenneth P. Jones, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stein Holdings, Inc.

David Wade, Andrew R. Gardella, Memphis, Tennessee; Barry S. Rosen, Michael S. Leib, Marina C. Santini, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellees, Goense Bounds Management, LP, Goense Bounds & Partners, LLC, EDG/SW Investors, LLC, SW OLDCO, LLC F/K/A Stein World, LLC, EDG/SW Acquisition, LLC, EDG/SW Holdings, LLC, SW Parent, LLC and EMESS/Stein Holding Corp., Inc.

David Wade, Andrew R. Gardella, Memphis, Tennessee; Barry S. Rosen, Michael S. Leib, Marina C. Santini, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellees, Mark Bounds and John Goense.

J. Kimbrough Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee; Amy G. Doehring, Erin C. Arnold, Chicago, Illinois, attorneys for the appellee, Lincoln International Advisors, LLC.

Glen G. Reid, Jr., Odell Horton, Jr., Joseph B. Reafsnyder, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Wingate Partners, LLC, Wingate Partners, IV, LP, Stein World Holdings, Inc. (DE), Stein World Operating Company (DE), Stein World Holdings, Inc., (TN), Stein World Operating Company Corporation (TN), Jason Reed, Richard Olmeda, and Judy Williamson

Zachary T. Fardon, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellees, General Electric Capital Corporation, Dymas Funding Company, LLC, Dymas Capital Management Company, LLC, Antares Captial Corporation, and Renee Rempe and Kenneth Leonard in their Representative and Individual Capacities.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent concealment, aiding and abetting breach of contract, common law tortious interference, statutory interference, and civil conspiracy. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RUSSELL DEAN LONG AND JESSICA RENEE ADKINS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Steve McEwen (on appeal), Mountain City, Tennessee and Jeffery C. Kelly and William Donaldson (at trial), Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Russell Dean Long.

James T. Bowman, Johnson City, Tennessee, and Donna M. Bolton, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jessica Renee Adkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Tony Clark, District Attorney General; and Erin McCardle, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Washington County jury convicted Russell Dean Long of first degree felony murder committed during the perpetration of aggravated child abuse and first degree felony murder committed during the perpetration of aggravated child neglect. The jury convicted Jessica Renee Adkins of first degree felony murder committed during the perpetration of aggravated child neglect. The trial court merged Defendant Long’s convictions and sentenced both of the defendants to serve life in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, Defendant Long asserts that: (1) there is insufficient evidence to support his convictions; (2) the trial court allowed the introduction of inadmissible hearsay evidence through the videotaped conversation between the defendants; and (3) the trial court erred by failing to exclude an autopsy photograph of the victim. Defendant Adkins asserts that: (1) there is insufficient evidence to support her conviction; and (2) the trial court improperly overruled her objection to the State’s use of a visual aid during closing arguments. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we conclude there exists no error in the judgments of the trial court. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. EDGAR RAY BETTIS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William B. Lockert, III (at trial and on appeal), and Rick Taylor (at trial), Ashland City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Edgar Ray Bettis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Wendall Ray Crouch, Jr., and Billy Miller, Jr., Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Edgar Ray Bettis, was convicted in the Dickson County Circuit Court of first degree premeditated murder; second degree murder; and unauthorized use of an automobile, also known as joyriding. The trial court merged the second degree murder conviction into the first degree murder conviction and sentenced the appellant to life. For the joyriding conviction, the trial court sentenced the appellant to eleven months, twenty-nine days to be served concurrently with the murder conviction. On appeal, the appellant contends that the evidence is insufficient to show that he murdered the victim, that the trial court erred by allowing the forensic pathologist to testify outside the contents of the autopsy report, and that the trial court’s error resulted in the jury’s improperly seeing a photograph of the victim’s larynx. Based upon the record and the parties’ briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


ERIKA CIENFUEGOS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Elaine Heard, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Erika Cienfuegos.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Sharon Reddick, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Erika Cienfuegos, appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief, contending that she received the ineffective assistance of counsel which, given that she was unmedicated for her mental illnesses during the plea submission hearing, led to her unknowingly entering a guilty plea. Upon consideration of the applicable authorities and the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. REGINALD LAMONT GRAHAM

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

David Dearolf (on appeal); and George Thompson (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Reginald Lamont Graham.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle Consiglio Young, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Hugh Ammerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Reginald Lamont Graham, appeals his Davidson County Criminal Court jury convictions of the attempted sale of cocaine, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT JOSEPH HARR
With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Benjamin S. Dempsey, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Joseph Harr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jeffrey D. Zentner, Assistant Attorney General; Hansel Jay McCadams, District Attorney General; and R. Adam Jowers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

A Carroll County jury convicted appellant, Robert Joseph Harr, of attempted sexual battery. The trial court sentenced him to eleven months, twenty-nine days in the county jail and ordered him to serve forty-five days in confinement with the balance of his sentence to be served on probation. On appeal, appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his conviction, the trial court’s denial of full probation, the trial court’s discovery rulings under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 16, and the State’s denial of his application for pretrial diversion. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. FREEMAN RAY HARRISON, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Andrew Love (on appeal) and Hugh Garrett (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; William Whitesell, District Attorney General; and Laural Hemenway, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Rutherford County jury convicted the Defendant, Freeman Ray Harrison, Jr., of two counts of aggravated sexual battery and one count of reckless endangerment, and the trial court sentenced the Defendant to a total effective sentence of twenty years, to be served at 100%. On appeal, the Defendant contends: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for reckless endangerment and one of the counts of aggravated sexual battery; (2) the trial court erred when it allowed the victim’s grandmother’s testimony about the victim’s initial “complaint”; (3) Rutherford County was not the appropriate venue; (4) the State’s loss of a GPS device about which there was testimony rendered his trial fundamentally unfair; and (5) the trial court erred when it imposed consecutive sentences. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude there exists no error in the judgments of the trial court. As such, the trial court’s judgments are affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL HOOTEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael D. Cox, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Michael Hooten.

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

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Maury County jury convicted the Defendant, Christopher Michael Hooten, of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, aggravated robbery, and tampering with evidence. The trial court imposed a life sentence for the merged murder convictions and concurrent sentences of eight years for the aggravated robbery conviction and three years for the tampering with evidence conviction. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress evidence found during the search of his vehicle; (2) the trial court erred when it excluded a videotaped confession from a co-defendant; and (3) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgments.


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. JEFFREY KRISTOPHER KING and KASEY LYNN KING
CORRECTION: On page 2 the opinion has been changed from listing Tom P. Thompson as the District Attorney for Sumner County to listing L. Ray Whitley as the District Attorney for Sumner County.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Kimberly S. Hodde, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeffrey Kristopher King.

Jeremy Parham, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kasey Lynn King.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William Whitesell (Rutherford County), Victor S. Johnson III (Davidson County), and L. Ray Whitley (Sumner County), District Attorneys General; and John C. Zimmermann, Senior Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Jeffrey King (“Defendant J. King”) entered conditional guilty pleas in Rutherford County to one count of conspiracy to sell over seventy pounds of marijuana and one count of possessing over seventy pounds of marijuana; to several counts of felony marijuana offenses and several counts of money-laundering offenses in Davidson County; and to several counts of felony marijuana offenses, several counts of money-laundering offenses, and one count of a felony firearm offense in Sumner County. Kasey King (“Defendant K. King”) (collectively “the Defendants”) entered conditional guilty pleas in Davidson County to two counts of felony marijuana offenses and two counts of money-laundering offenses; and to one count of a felony firearm offense and two counts of felony marijuana offenses in Sumner County. These conditional guilty pleas were entered after the trial courts denied the Defendants’ motions to suppress evidence gleaned from wiretaps on several telephones. Each of the Defendants reserved certified questions of law regarding the legality of the wiretaps and timely appealed. This Court ordered that the appeals be consolidated. We now consider the Defendants’ certified questions of law and hold that the trial courts did not err in denying the Defendants’ motions to suppress. Accordingly, the Defendants are entitled to no relief from their pleas of guilt. Therefore, we affirm the trial courts’ judgments and the Defendants’ convictions.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BILLY TATE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen M. Goldstein, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Billy Tate.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Lance Pope, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Billy Tate, was convicted of burglary of a business and theft over $1,000, and the trial court sentenced him to twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. After filing a petition for post-conviction relief, he was granted a delayed appeal of his convictions. On appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by: (1) denying his motion to suppress a showup identification and the subsequent in-court identification by the same witness; (2) not declaring a mistrial when a witness testified that appellant had refused to give a statement; (3) allowing the State to introduce lay testimony regarding scientific evidence; and (4) denying his motion to suppress based on an illegal seizure. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEREMY WENDELL THORPE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jeffrey A. Devasher (on appeal); and Kristin Neff and Aimee Solway (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Jeremy Wendell Thorpe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Sharon Reddick and Sarah Blood, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Jeremy Wendell Thorpe, appeals his Davidson County Criminal Court jury conviction of attempted sexual battery by an authority figure, claiming that the trial court erred by providing a jury instruction on attempted sexual battery by an authority figure as a lesser included offense of sexual battery by an authority figure and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. RAY A. TULLOS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

M. Keith Davis (at trial and on appeal), Dunlap, Tennessee, and Paul Cross (at trial), Monteagle, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ray A. Tullos.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and James W. Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Bledsoe County Circuit Court Jury convicted the appellant, Ray A. Tullos, of attempted second degree murder. The trial court sentenced the appellant to eleven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court’s evidentiary rulings, the sufficiency of the evidence sustaining his conviction, and the sentence imposed. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CLYDE TURNER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Clyde Turner, Lebanon, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Linda Walls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Clyde Turner, appeals the revocation of his probation, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation and ordering that he serve his original four-year sentence in the Department of Correction. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM LANCE WALKER

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

LaShawn A. Williams, Houston, Texas, for the appellant, William Lance Walker.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Carter, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, William Lance Walker, was convicted by a Marshall County Circuit Court jury of two counts of possession with the intent to sell one-half gram or more of cocaine, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver one-half gram or more of cocaine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17-417, 39-17-425 (2010). The trial court merged each possession with the intent to deliver conviction with the corresponding possession with the intent to sell conviction. The Defendant was sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to concurrent terms of nineteen years for each possession with the intent to sell conviction and eleven months, twenty-nine days for the possession of drug paraphernalia conviction. On appeal, he contends that (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress, (2) the trial court imposed an excessive sentence, and (3) the trial judge erred by failing to recuse himself. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


MATTHEW W. WAMBLES V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Jennifer Lynn Thompson (on appeal), Nashville, Tennessee, and J. Runyon (at hearing), Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Matthew W. Wambles.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Chris Monsue, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Matthew W. Wambles (“the Petitioner”) pleaded nolo contendere to one count of aggravated sexual battery and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the trial court sentenced the Petitioner to concurrent terms of eight years’ incarceration. The Petitioner subsequently filed for post-conviction relief, alleging that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his pleas are constitutionally infirm. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief, and this appeal followed. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.


BRADLEY MITCHELL WEST, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Christopher P. Westmoreland, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bradley Mitchell West, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Robert James Carter, District Attorney General; and Richard A. Cawley, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Bradley Mitchell West, Jr., appeals as of right from the Bedford County Circuit Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to locate and interview a potential witness. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

2013 Appropriations Act Provision Relating to York Institute

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2012-09-26

Opinion Number: 75


Opinion: Everyone Should Read the Constitution

In an editorial board opinion, the Daily News Journal looks back on Constitution Week and encourages citizens to take the time to read the document fully. While current debate focuses heavily on the First, Second and Fourth Amendments, the DNJ reminds readers that other amendments afford Americans important rights and addresses all manner of issues including the abolition of slavery, voting rights, judicial power over foreign nationals, women’s suffrage, limitations on terms of presidents and even how U.S. senators are elected. “At the end of the day,” the paper states, “we are left with one indelible fact: The U.S. Constitution is an incredible document that has stood the test of time for more than 200 years.”


Memphis Law Enrollment Holds Steady

As law school enrollment continues to decline nationally, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law enrollment is holding steady with 112 first-year students, the same number as last fall, the Memphis Daily News reports. Prior to 2008 and its economic slump, however, that number might have been as high as 150 students. “I think we did a little better enrollment than most did," said Peter Letsou, dean of the law school, "but it’s very much a national tidal wave that’s hitting all of us.”


Judges' Conference Honors Two for Outstanding Service

Judge Thomas L. Moore Jr. of Weakley County and Judge A. Ben Strand Jr. of Jefferson County were the recipients of the inaugural Judge Leon Ruben Awards in recognition of outstanding service and accomplishment by General Sessions judges. The awards were presented at the annual Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference last Wednesday in Gatlinburg. The award was named in honor of Davidson County General Sessions Judge Leon Ruben for his outstanding service to the conference and in recognition of his integrity, love of the law, and his desire to seek justice. Ruben died in 2011. The Administrative Office of the Courts has the story. 


Law Schools Adding More Business Courses

A growing number of law schools are adding courses intended to give students a foundation in business in addition to the law, the National Law Journal reports. Law schools such as Georgetown, Elon and the University of Pennsylvania are offering programs and courses in finance and accounting, management, leadership and entrepreneurship in order to prepare graduates to practice law, whether the student ends up counseling corporate clients, goes solo or works in a small nonprofit.


Memphis Leaders Attend DOJ Youth Violence Summit

"A lot of times the international things get all the attention," Memphis Mayor AC Wharton said, "but we've got wars going on right here in our streets." Wharton was part of a delegation to Washington D.C yesterday for the Department of Justice's third annual summit on preventing youth violence, WMC-TV reports. The DOJ selected Memphis as one of 10 cities to take part in the two-day event. Other invited Memphians included police director Toney Armstrong, Tennessee Department of Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Rev. Keith Norman.


Rubenfeld Tells UT Law Her Plans for Marriage Equality Suits

The University of Tennessee College of Law recently hosted Abby Rubenfeld, a marriage equality advocate and Nashville-based lawyer, to discuss the Supreme Court’s June ruling declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Rubenfeld said she is working on a plan to attack Tennessee's DOMA through two separate lawsuits involving couples who married outside of the state and returned home to find that their marriage would not be recognized. "I believe in our legal system," she said. "I want to help make it work right." The UT Daily Beacon has more.


Yale Beats Harvard in Number of Law School Deans

According to a new report, Yale Law School edges slightly past Harvard Law School in producing the most law school deans: Yale has educated 26 deans serving now compared to the 23 from Harvard. Mississippi College School of Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt created Rosenblatt’s Deans Database, which allows users to search in a variety of ways and includes some presorted data points, like which schools have produced the most sitting deans. Vanderbilt University Law School made this list with three alumni serving as law school deans. Read more in the National Law Journal. 


TBA Offers CLE Your Way

Remember to use the three hours of free CLE programming that comes with your TBA membership. Members can use this credit to cover all or part of the cost of live programs across the state, weekly webcasts or any of the 300-plus online courses offered in both video and text formats. Find a course now.


 
 

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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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