LSAT Numbers Continue to Decline

For the fourth straight year, the number of people who took the LSAT has decreased, the National Law Journal reports. LSAT numbers for the October test — traditionally the biggest cohort annually — dropped by 11 percent since last year, while numbers for the June test decreased 5 percent. "This is a big deal," said Dan Filler, a professor at the Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law. "I think there was a kind of optimism bias among a lot of people in the academy, and maybe a little sense of disbelief that the number of applicants could and would continue to decline."

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
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 Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES MATTHEW GARRETT

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Roger Eric Nell, District Public Defender; and Charles Bloodworth, Assistant District Public Defender, for appellant, Charles Matthew Garrett.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Bradshaw, Assistant District Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Timothy Peters, Assistant District Attorney General, for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, Charles Matthew Garrett, entered a guilty plea without a recommended sentence to robbery, for which the trial court imposed a four-year sentence to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. He appeals the manner of service of this sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DENVER JOE McMATH, JR.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Manuel B. Russ, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Denver Joe McMath, Jr.

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

Judge: WOODALL

Defendant, Denver Joe McMath, Jr., was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury for six counts of aggravated sexual battery and four counts of rape of a child. On motion of the State, the indictment was amended to include four counts each of aggravated sexual battery and rape of a child, and the remaining two counts of aggravated sexual battery were dismissed. Defendant was convicted as charged on all counts of the amended indictment and sentenced to an effective sentence of 140 years. In this direct appeal, Defendant asserts 1) the State’s bill of particulars was insufficient to state the offenses with specificity; 2) the trial court erred by allowing into evidence the testimony of three State’s witnesses, as the testimony constituted inadmissible character evidence and inadmissible hearsay; 3) the trial court erred by allowing the State to introduce into evidence a drawing enclosed with a letter from Defendant to the son of Defendant and the victim’s mother; and 4) the trial court erred in its sentencing. Finding no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


DANIEL MUNGIA v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William E. Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daniel Mungia.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rachel Marie Sobrero, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Daniel Mungia, appeals as of right from the Davidson County Criminal Court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends (1) that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to prepare a defense; and (2) that his guilty pleas were not knowingly and voluntarily entered. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Authority of City and County to Dispose of Surplus Real Property by Private Sale

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-10-31

Opinion Number: 84


GOP Blocks Obama Nominees, Hopes to Reduce D.C. Court Size

Senate Republicans yesterday blocked President Barack Obama’s picks of Patricia Millett to become a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Rep. Melvin Watt, D-North Carolina, to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, prompting Democrats to threaten curtailing the GOP's ability to derail nominations. The defeats immediately subjected Democratic leaders to pressure from liberal groups and newer Democratic senators to change Senate rules that let the minority — currently Republicans — force the majority to muster 60 votes on controversial nominations, instead of a simple majority. WKRN News 2 has more from the Associated Press. A Republican-sponsored bill would also eliminate three seats on the D.C. Circuit Court, reducing the total number of authorized judgeships from 11 to eight. Learn more from Gavel Grab.


Senate Approves NSA Surveillance Bill

After the global uproar over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, Congress is beginning to make some legal changes, CNN reports. The Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday approved a bill 11-4 to make some limited changes to the law that governs the NSA's surveillance activities. The proposed changes include requiring the NSA to publicize annually the number of telephone metadata inquiries from the NSA database and the number of times such queries led to an FBI investigation; a limit on the number of people who may authorize such queries; a requirement for a "reasonable articulable suspicion" that someone is associated with international terrorism; and a five-year limit on the retention of the records.


State Rep. Granted Judicial Diversion in Domestic Dispute

State Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, will receive no jail time after a jury found him guilty of reckless endangerment stemming from a domestic dispute with his ex-wife. Judge Paul Summers decided to grant Hawk judicial diversion and sentenced him to two years' probation and 150 hours of community service. The judge also ordered Hawk to pay $1,500 in restitution to his former wife and pay all court costs. Hawk told WJHL News Channel 11 he was glad to put the situation behind him and plans to run for re-election in 2014.


AG Rules on Surplus Property Private Sale

Attorney General Robert Cooper issued an opinion maintaining the authority of the City of Jellico to sell surplus real property by private sale if the city determines that a private sale is the most advantageous manner available. Cooper also ruled that a county that has adopted the 1981 Act is only authorized to sell surplus land by public sale unless the property is historically or architecturally significant and qualifies for private sale.


Public Notice for Reappointment of Incumbent Judge

The current term of office of U.S. Magistrate Judge John S. Bryant is due to expire on Aug. 2, 2014. The United States District Court is required by law to establish a panel of citizens to consider the reappointment of the magistrate judge to a new eight-year term. The duties of a magistrate judge in this court include: (1) The conduct of most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases; (2) trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases; (3) conduct of various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from a district judge; and (4) trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants. Comments from members of the bar and the public are invited as to whether Bryant should be recommended by the panel for reappointment by the court. Comments must be received by 5 p.m., Dec. 2. Read the details in the full public notice or contact Clerk of Court Keith Throckmorton for more information.


New TBJ Features Update on Med Mal

In the November issue, out today, the Tennessee Bar Journal looks at the Tennessee Medical Malpractice Act five years after two important statutes were enacted. Clinton L. Kelly writes about how the appellate courts have interpreted the notice statue and the certificate of good faith law. Also, don't miss words of wisdom from the students of the Law Launch Project, such as: "A group of people thrown into a pit of hell together will either kill each other or band together to fight the evil forces. I think in law school it happens both ways."


Early Voting Opens in Memphis in Sales Tax Referendum

Early voting opened today in Memphis in the citywide referendum on a half-percent sales tax hike and the Tennessee House District 91 general elections. The citywide sales tax hike ballot question includes in its wording a provision for $30 million of the estimated $47 million in revenue the increase would generate to be used for an expansion of pre-kindergarten services in the city of Memphis. The general election for state House District 91 is a contest between Democratic nominee Raumesh Akbari, who won the October primary special election, and Libertarian candidate Jim Tomasik. The Memphis Daily News has more.


Wyatt to Run for General Sessions Judge

Nashville attorney Vince Wyatt announced he will run for General Sessions Court Division IV in the Democratic primary in May. He spent four years working as a prosecutor, nine years as a defense attorney and seved a four-year stint as a judge advocate general in the Navy. The son of long-time Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Randall Wyatt, the younger Wyatt also told the Tennessean, “It’s probably always been in my blood, so to speak.”


Davidson County Lawyer Placed on Disability Inactive Status

The law license of Nashville lawyer Jean Norris Crowe was transferred to disability inactive status on Oct. 28 by the Tennessee Supreme Court. Crowe cannot practice law while on disability inactive status and may return to the practice of law after reinstatement by the court upon showing of clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and she is fit to resume. Download the BPR notice.


Personalized Insurance Service

TBA Member Insurance Solutions provides association members with exclusive benefits, personalized service and pricing discounts through Graham Swafford, our insurance agent dedicated to serving TBA members. Whether you need professional liability insurance or guidance on other insurance needs, Graham is here for you.


 
 

Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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