County Considers New Conservatorship Agency

A proposal to create a new agency to oversee conservatorships in Davidson County is gaining support among officials in spite of budget concerns, The Tennessean reports. Metro Council member Walter Hunt, who served on a task force that recommended creation of a new agency, said he will be actively seeking support from council members in the coming months. The task force convened by Probate Judge David “Randy” Kennedy concluded that there were too few resources available for a growing caseload that includes many indigent wards.

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
04 - 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

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TN Court of Criminal Appeals

CORRECTION: Page 1 listing of counsel at trial. The District Public Defender Mark Stephens was incorrectly listed as the Attorney for the Defendant. The District Attorney General, Randall Nichols, was incorrectly listed as the Attorney for the State.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Robin R. Flores, Chattanooga, Tennessee (on appeal); Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender; and Blake Murchinson, Assistant District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Guy L. Hines.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III., District Attorney General; and Blake Murchinson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant was found guilty after a trial by jury of one count of robbery, a Class C felony, and one count of assault, which, depending on the circumstances, can be either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor, but which the trial court treated as a Class A misdemeanor. The defendant was sentenced to four years for the robbery and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the assault. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by failing to dismiss the robbery charge due to a defect in the indictment. The defendant also claims that the trial court erred in an evidentiary ruling and by failing to grant him a new trial on the grounds that the prosecutor made improper comments during voir dire. After carefully reviewing the record and the arguments of the parties, we find that the defendant’s arguments lack merit, but we conclude that the trial court erroneously classified the defendant’s assault conviction as a Class A misdemeanor when it was properly classified as a Class B misdemeanor. We modify the judgment of the trial court accordingly and impose a modified sentence of six months on this count. The judgments of the trial court are otherwise affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


H. Garth Click (on appeal), Springfield, Tennessee; and Anne Kroeger (at hearing), Assistant Public Defender, Springfield, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roy L. McAlister.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Jason White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Roy L. McAlister (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated statutory rape and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Defendant was given an effective sentence of three years, suspended to supervised probation after service of 219 days in confinement. Upon the filing of a probation violation warrant, the Defendant was taken into custody, and a probation violation hearing was held. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court revoked the Defendant’s probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in confinement. In his original appeal of the trial court’s ruling, we vacated the trial court’s judgment and remanded the case for the trial court to clarify its findings. Subsequently, the trial court issued an order clarifying its findings and affirming its previous order revoking the Defendant’s probation. The Defendant again appealed the trial court’s ruling. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Kyle Mothershead, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Jeffrey D. Ridner, Manchester, Tennessee (at hearing), for the appellant, Donald Keith Solomon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Charles M. Layne, District Attorney General; and Kenneth J. Shelton, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Donald Keith Solomon, pled guilty in 2009 to numerous charges and, subsequently, sent a letter to the trial court, which apparently was treated as a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Appointed counsel then filed an amended petition, setting out as claims for relief that trial counsel had failed to advise the petitioner of his “legal innocence” of three of the charges for passing worthless checks and that, contrary to his understanding at the plea submission, he was required to pay court costs. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court found that the petitioner’s trial counsel had “thoroughly investigated and reviewed the evidence” with him and “any decisions made about the timing of filing of motions were a strategic decision.” We conclude that the record supports the opinion and order of the post-conviction court denying the petition.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Eugenia R. Grayer, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shelenda Nicole Windmon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Brian Holmgren, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Shelenda Nicole Windmon (“the Defendant”) pleaded guilty to one count of attempt to commit aggravated child abuse. Pursuant to her plea agreement, the Defendant was sentenced as a Range II offender to six years with manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After a hearing, the trial court granted probation but denied the Defendant’s request for judicial diversion. The Defendant now appeals the trial court’s denial of judicial diversion. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Former State Senator Charged with Insurance Fraud

Former Democratic state senator Eric Stewart, who ran for Congress against Republican Scott DesJarlais last year, has been indicted on charges of theft and insurance fraud, WATE reports. He is accused of selling a worker's compensation policy to a contractor and using the $750 premium for his personal use. Stewart turned himself in Tuesday night at the Franklin County jail and posted $5,000 bond. His arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Emails Reveal New Cases of Wrongful Arrest

New documents released yesterday by the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk’s Office reveal additional cases of wrongful arrest, as well as cases that were at risk of mishandling but were caught in time by an employee. The documents also show that at least one supervisor had no sympathy for those wrongfully arrested, Knoxnews reports. As charges of mismanagement continue to mount against the office, Clerk Joy McCroskey met with the county’s five general sessions judges yesterday to discuss the situation.

Gallatin Judge Denies ‘Fixing’ Daughter's Ticket

A complaint filed against Gallatin Judge Connie Kittrell maintains that she gave preferential treatment to her daughter with the dismissal of a traffic citation in 2012. Kittrell denies the accusations and has asked the Board of Judicial Conduct to throw out the complaint. The Gallatin News Examiner has more on the story.

Haslam, Sebelius Differ on Status of Medicaid Talks

Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday he is continuing to have conversations with federal officials about a way to expand Medicaid coverage for Tennesseans, the Times Free Press reports. Haslam, who declined to pursue an expansion of Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, is instead pursuing an expansion of TennCare. In a recent visit to the state though, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said her office has yet to receive specifics from Haslam. The governor denied that claim, saying his administration has "presented a specific plan.”

Counterpoint: Law Prof Argues for 4-Year Curriculum

President Barack Obama got it “exactly backward” when he called for consideration of a two-year law degree, Cardozo law professor Edward Zelinsky argues. “Law school should not be shortened; it should be lengthened.” Not everyone agrees. Above the Law calls Zelinsky's blog post the “worst argument on the Internet this week.” Read more from the ABA Journal.

Judge Durham Announces Retirement

Criminal Court Judge David Earl Durham will retire at the end of his term next August, The Tennessean reports. Durham, who serves the 15th Judicial District, has been criminal court judge since 2009. Prior to taking the bench, he was deputy district attorney general. The judicial district includes Wilson, Jackson, Macon, Smith and Trousdale counties.

Self-Insurers Association Seeking Director

The Tennessee Self-Insurers Association is seeking an executive director. Duties include promoting improvements in workers’ compensation law, acting as a liaison with the state departments of Labor and Insurance, keeping members informed of relevant issues, and managing association operations. Applicants should have an understanding of workers’ compensation law as well as the legislative and regulatory environments in Tennessee. Download a job description. Resumes should be submitted to Board of Directors Chair Gary Eastes.

Podis Seeking Division II Position

Wednesday's TBAToday incorrectly identified the judicial position that Nashville attorney Mark Podis is seeking in the upcoming election. He is running for Davidson County General Sessions Court Judge, Division II, on the Democratic ticket.

Memorial Service Saturday for Former Memphis Lawyer

Former Memphis attorney Richard Scott Wade died Oct. 18. He was 46. A memorial to celebrate his life will be held at 3 p.m. at Cafy é Keough in Memphis. Wade, originally from Columbia, Tenn., graduated from University of Memphis School of Law and obtained an advanced law degree from Temple University. He practiced law in Memphis for four years before moving to Missouri, Pennsylvania and, most recently, Vero Beach, Fla. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.


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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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