Judge Approves Pilot Settlement

U.S. District Judge James M. Moody yesterday gave Pilot Flying J a major boost in its efforts to get past a financial scandal, approving a nearly $85 million settlement between Pilot and hundreds of trucking companies that allege they were shorted on diesel fuel rebates. Under terms of the deal Pilot will pay approximately $56.5 million in principal owed to customers, $9.75 million in interest and $14 million in attorneys’ fees for the settlement class counsel. Monday’s hearing took less than 30 minutes. Moody described the settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate, though more than 50 companies have opted out of the settlement and many of those have filed separate legal actions against the company. Knoxnews has more on the court proceeding.

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
06 - TN Court of Appeals
12 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
02 - 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

JEFFREY R. COOPER v. PHILLIP GLASSER ET AL.

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys:

Andrew W. Coffman, Philip K. Lyon, and Richard S. Busch, Nashville, Tennessee, and Neville L. Johnson, Beverly Hills, California, for the appellant, Jeffrey R. Cooper.

Cheyenne K. Kinghorn, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Phillip Glasser and David Glasser.

Stephen Andrew Lund, Dallas, Texas, for the appellee, Richard Glasser.

Judge: HOLDER

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants in California state court, alleging a number of business-related torts. After one of the defendants moved to dismiss based on a forum selection clause contained in the parties’ contract, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his California complaint and refiled his action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. In his federal court complaint, the plaintiff invoked federalquestion jurisdiction by pleading a number of federal securities law violations. In its discretion, the federal district court exercised supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s state-law claims. One of the defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing that the statute of limitations applicable to the plaintiff’s federal securities law claims had expired. Before the federal court could dispose of the motion, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his complaint without court approval pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a). The plaintiff later filed the present action in the Circuit Court for Davidson County, Tennessee, pleading only three of the state-law claims that formed the basis for his two previously dismissed lawsuits. The defendants moved for summary judgment, alleging that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the plaintiff’s second voluntary dismissal in federal court. The trial court granted summary judgment, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. We granted the plaintiff permission to appeal. We conclude that a plaintiff’s second voluntary dismissal of supplemental state-law claims filed in federal court does not, under Tennessee law, preclude the plaintiff from later refiling an action based on the same claims in Tennessee state court. We therefore reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings.


TN Court of Appeals

BRAD BLEVINS v. CITY OF BELLE MEADE, TENNESSEE BY AND THROUGH ITS BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Shawn R. Henry, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brad Blevins.

James L. Murphy and Eric W. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Belle Meade, Tennessee, by and through its Board of Zoning Appeals.

Judge: DINKINS

After receiving a stop-work order, a property owner petitioned the City of Belle Meade Board of Zoning Appeals for a declaration that a nearly completed structure on his property constituted an accessory use as a children’s playhouse under the city’s zoning code. After a hearing, the Board denied the request and the property owner filed a petition for a writ of certiorari seeking court review; the trial court affirmed the Board’s denial. We concur with the trial court and affirm the Board’s action.


MILTON G. HUMBERD, JR. v. WANDA N. FITZSIMMONS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Ginger Wilson Buchanan, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Milton G. Humberd, Jr.

Barrett T. Painter, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Wanda N. Fitzsimmons.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This is a boundary line dispute involving the placement of a new fence and the location of a corner. The suit involves a small triangular piece of property approximately two-tenths of an acre out of two adjoining 40-acre tracts owned by the parties. The value of the land in dispute is approximately $200. The trial court found the boundary line runs along a tree line essentially synonymous with the agreed upon old fence line as indicated on the Lawson survey. The court then located the corner as a car axle in the southwest corner of the plaintiff and the southeast corner of the defendant. The plaintiff appeals. We affirm the findings of the trial court.


KALA SHAY HUNN v. KEVIN CARLTON HUNN

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Justin Sensing, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kevin Carlton Hunn.

Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kala Shay Hunn.

Judge: DINKINS

In this divorce proceeding, Father appeals the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees to Mother. Finding no error, we affirm. Additionally, we grant Mother her attorney’s fees on appeal.


BRANDON W. MARTIN AND AMY MARTIN v. W. B. MELTON AND PEGGY MELTON

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael S. Pemberton, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Brandon W. Martin and Amy Martin.

Daniel H. Rader, III, Walter S. Fitzpatrick, III, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellees, W. B. Melton and Peggy Melton.

Judge: COTTRELL

An apprentice lineman agreed to help a neighbor by climbing a utility pole on the neighbor’s land and disconnecting an electrical wire at the top. After he disconnected the wire, the pole fell over, causing the lineman himself to fall and to suffer severe injuries. He filed a negligence complaint, alleging that the neighbor had not set the pole deeply enough into the ground, thereby rendering it unreasonably dangerous. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant, holding that because of the plaintiff’s expertise in electrical matters, it was his duty alone to make sure the pole was safe before climbing it. We reverse.


JAMES M. ROBERTS, II v. JACQUELINE R. ROBERTS

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Kim C. Gilleland, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, James M. Roberts, II.

Scottie O. Wilkes, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jacqueline R. Roberts.

Judge: FARMER

Plaintiff/Appellant appeals the trial court’s division of property and award of alimony in this divorce action. We affirm.


FRANCES WARD V. WILKINSON REAL ESTATE ADVISORS, INC. D/B/A THE MANHATTEN, ET. AL.
With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Jennifer L. Chadwell, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, Frances Ward.

Linda J. Hamilton Mowles, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Wilkinson Real Estate Advisors, Inc. d/b/a The Manhatten; Woodland View Apartments d/b/a The Manhatten; and The Wilkinson Group, Inc. d/b/a The Manhatten.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This is a negligence case in which Plaintiff filed suit against the wrong party but sought to amend the complaint to add Defendant once the statute of limitations had passed. Defendant objected to the amendment and filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion, finding that the applicable statute of limitations had passed because Rule 15.03 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure did not allow for the amendment of the complaint. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm the decision of the trial court.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LYMUS LEVAR BROWN, III

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Bob C. Hooper, Brownsville, Tennessee, for appellant, Lymus Levar Brown, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Jerald Campbell and Larry Hardister, Assistant District Attorneys General, for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

A Haywood County jury convicted appellant, Lymus Levar Brown, III, of aggravated robbery. The trial court sentenced him as a Range III offender to serve thirty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction, with a release eligibility of eighty-five percent. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-35-501(k)(1) (release eligibility for aggravated robbery conviction). On appeal, he argues that: (1) the evidence supporting his conviction was insufficient; (2) the trial court erred by allowing a witness to testify despite a violation of the rule of sequestration; (3) the trial court erred by not granting him a mistrial or some other remedy for the State’s failure to provide previously requested discovery; (4) his right to a speedy trial was violated; (5) the trial court erred by allowing the jury to hear that appellant was a convicted criminal; (6) the State failed to provide a sufficient chain of custody for the cellular telephone found at the crime scene; and (7) the trial court erred by considering his prior convictions during the sentencing hearing despite not having certified copies of said convictions. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


JOSEPH L. COLEMAN v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Yvonne K. Chapman, Germantown, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Joseph L. Coleman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Willis, Senior Counsel, Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; Anita Spinetta, Assistant District Attorney General; for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Petitioner, Joseph L. Coleman, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that the habeas corpus court erred when it dismissed his petition because his sentence is void and unconstitutional. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the habeas court properly dismissed the petition for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the judgment of the habeas corpus court is affirmed.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHAUN ANTHONY DAVIDSON AND DEEDRA LYNETTE KIZER
With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Deborah House, Assistant District Attorney General, for appellant, State of Tennessee.

Justin Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Shaun Anthony Davidson.

Jodie A. Bell, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellee, Deedra Lynette Kizer.

Judge: PAGE

Following a traffic stop premised on a possible violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-9-107 (the window tint statute), appellees were charged with several drug offenses. Appellee Shaun Anthony Davidson was indicted for possession with intent to sell or deliver 0.5 grams or more of cocaine in a drug-free zone. Appellee Deedra Lynette Kizer was indicted for possession or casual exchange of hydrocodone. Both appellees were indicted for possession or casual exchange of marijuana. The trial court granted the appellees’ motion to suppress evidence, ruling that Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-9- 107(c) was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. As a result, the case was dismissed. The State now appeals, arguing that Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-9-107(c) is constitutional. We reverse the ruling of the trial court, reinstate the indictment, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


BRUCE ELLIOT v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James O. Martin, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bruce Elliot.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and John Zimmerman, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Bruce Elliot, challenges the post-conviction court’s finding that he received the effective assistance of counsel at trial and its denial of post-conviction relief from his jury convictions for conspiracy to deliver 300 grams or more of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, conspiracy to possess 300 grams or more of cocaine, possession of 300 grams or more of cocaine, all Class A felonies; money laundering, a Class B felony; possession of over one-half ounce of marijuana and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, both Class E felonies. The Petitioner contends that his trial counsel’s failure to file a motion to suppress the wiretaps on his telephone, which provided the basis for all evidence subsequently obtained against him, was deficient and that he was prejudiced by this deficiency. Upon consideration of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the postconviction court.


MICHAEL T. GIBBS, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael T. Gibbs, Jr., pro se, Clifton, Tennessee, as the appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Michael T. Gibbs, Jr. (“the Petitioner”) filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Hamilton County Criminal Court, claiming that his sentences had expired. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition, and the Petitioner now appeals. After a careful review of the record, we conclude that the Petitioner’s notice of appeal is untimely. Moreover, the Petitioner offers no reasons why the interests of justice would support a waiver of the filing deadline. Accordingly, we dismiss the Petitioner’s appeal.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RENITRA HARLEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Sandra L. Wells, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Renitra Harlen.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; Mary K. White, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Williamson County jury convicted the Defendant, Renitra Harlen, of two counts of theft of property valued at more than $1,000.00. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to concurrent terms of two years, to be served on probation following the service of fourteen days in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred when it allowed the State to introduce a handwritten list of stolen items prepared by store employees immediately after the shoplifting incident occurred; (2) the State failed to disclose a victim questionnaire in violation of the rules of discovery; (3) the trial court erred by failing to merge the two theft convictions; and (4) the evidence is insufficient to support her convictions. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we remand to the trial court for the entry of modified judgments reflecting the merger of the Defendant’s two convictions and affirm the trial court in all other respects.


SAMUEL RYAN HAWKINS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

G. Jeff Cherry, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Samuel Ryan Hawkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Randall A. York, District Attorney General; and Beth Willis and Anthony Craighead, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Samuel Ryan Hawkins, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief attacking his conviction for aggravated child abuse. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred in denying relief because trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to obtain an expert witness to rebut the State’s theory of shaken baby syndrome. Following our review, we affirm the denial of relief.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. GUY L. HINES
CORRECTION: On page 1 in the last two lines "and Blake Murchinson, Assistant District Attorney General" has been deleted

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

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, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

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.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DEMETRIUS HOLLINS

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Andrew M. Bonderud (on appeal); Samuel Rodriguez, III (at trial and on appeal); and Kevin P. Henson (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demetrius Hollins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Stacy McEndree, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Demetrius Hollins, appeals his Shelby County Criminal Court jury convictions of attempted second degree murder and especially aggravated robbery, challenging the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the exclusion of certain evidence, as well as the imposition of consecutive sentencing. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CORY LEE JACKSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Joshua L. Brand, for the Defendant-Appellant, Cory Lee Jackson.

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

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Cory Lee Jackson, was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury for theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000. At trial, the jury convicted Jackson of the lesser included offense of theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. § 39-14-103(a), -105(a)(3). The trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to six years in confinement. On appeal, Jackson argues: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction; (2) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of his missed court dates on unrelated charges; (3) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting testimony regarding Budget’s loss regarding the rental vehicle; and (4) his sentence was excessive. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


ALDRICK LILLARD v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Benjamin L. Parsley, III, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellant, Aldrick Lillard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Trevor H. Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Aldrick Lillard, appeals the Rutherford County Circuit Court’s denial of postconviction relief from his convictions for first degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that both his trial attorneys provided ineffective assistance of counsel in their failure to raise in the motion for new trial or on direct appeal the trial court’s denial of the Petitioner’s motion for mistrial. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHARLES JUSTIN WOOSLEY

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; Jeffrey A. DeVasher (on appeal) and Aisha McWeay (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Charles Justin Woosley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rob McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

Following a bench trial, the Defendant-Appellant, Charles Justin Woosley, was convicted of domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-101, -111 (2010). He was sentenced to ninety days in the county jail, which the trial court suspended and ordered to be served on unsupervised probation. The sole issue presented for our review is whether the evidence is sufficient to support the conviction. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Granting Preferences for Local Businesses Under Municipal Purchasing Law of 1983

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-11-25

Opinion Number: 92


Constitutionality of Criminal Statute Regarding Admission of Minors to Movies
This opinion has been removed at the request of the Tennessee Attorney General's office.

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2013-11-25

Opinion Number: 93


Criminal Charges Considered in Meningitis Case

No criminal charges have been filed so far in the fungal meningitis outbreak that killed more than a dozen in Tennessee. But Michigan's attorney general and Boston's federal prosecutor say they’re now sharing evidence from their separate investigations, NPR reports. A federal grand jury in Boston has been investigating the New England Compounding Center for more than a year now, and the FBI recently made a plea through its website, asking anyone who received a tainted steroid shot to describe where and how they received the injection and what their illnesses have been. The pair spoke about the progress of the case at a press conference yesterday. “It’s a very complex, wide-ranging investigation," U.S. Attorney Carmen Oritz said. "I believe it’s moving very steadily forward. But no charges have been filed, as of yet.”


Teen Seeks Damages For Being Jailed Due to Clerk’s Mistake

An attorney for a teenager arrested earlier this month on charges of driving with a revoked license is seeking $50,000 in damages for what he says is a wrongful arrest. The teen, Joshua Michael Kitts, was arrested Nov. 15 when Knox County Sheriff's deputies pulled him over and discovered his license was revoked in 2012 for drag racing. But Kitts and his lawyer say the drag racing charge was removed from his record when he agreed to attend driving school and that his license was never suspended. The situation, they say, is one of many resulting from mistakes made by the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk's office. In Kitts’ case, he spent eight hours in jail and had to pay to get his car back. Knoxnews has more.


Newspaper: Senate Rules Change Will Help Reeves

The Knoxville News Sentinel predicts that recent changes to Senate rules will clear the way for attorney Pamela Reeves to be confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. Though no senator has expressed opposition to Reeves, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had threatened to hold up all of the president’s nominees until witnesses were made available to testify about last year’s deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


Cool Springs Firm Expands Space

Thompson Burton has completed its relocation within Seven Corporate Centre in Cool Springs, a move that will allow the firm to add to its six-attorney roster. "We are adding lawyers and need more square footage to accommodate the growth," Walt Burton, firm co-founder with Kevin Thompson, said in a release. The new space will accommodate 10 to 12 lawyers, the Nashville Post reports. Thompson Burton opened in April 2012. It focuses on corporate law.


Judge Simmons to Retire After 23 Years

Ninth Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons Jr., who has presided over cases in the four-county district for 23 years, has announced he will not seek re-election next year, Knoxnews reports. A Roane County resident, Simmons was appointed interim judge in 1990 and then won elections in 1992, 1998 and 2006. Before he became judge, Simmons practiced law for 20 years in Rockwood with J. Polk Cooley. In his brief announcement, Simmons said he decided to step down from the bench to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family.


Former State Rep. Runs for First District DA

Elizabethton attorney and former state representative Jerome Cochran says he will seek the Republican nomination for First Judicial District Attorney General, the Elizabethton Star reports. Tony Clark is the current DA for Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington counties. In making the announcement, Cochran cited “questionable decisions” by Clark in the charging of crimes and the prosecution of certain cases. The Carter County native also said he wants to aggressively target the methamphetamine “epidemic” by seeking substantial jail time for all-meth related crimes.


Judge Dozier Announces Plans for Re-election

Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier has announced his candidacy for re-election, and has named Nashville lawyer Aubrey B. Harwell Jr. as his campaign treasurer. Dozier, who has served on the bench for 15 years, will run in the May 2014 Democratic primary, The Tennessean reports. Among the accomplishments he touts is overseeing many high-profile murder cases and handing down the city’s first nuisance injunction to ban suspected members of the Kurdish Pride Gang from two public parks. Prior to becoming a judge, Dozier worked as an assistant district attorney for 10 years. He earned his law degree from the Nashville School of Law.


Circuit Judge Wright to Seek Re-election

Third Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Wright has filed a petition to run in the May 2014 Republican primary, the Greenville Sun reports. He was the first to file a petition for the primary elections according to the paper.


Juvenile Judge Running for Chancellor

Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge Brandon Fisher has announced he is running for chancellor. William Lantrip now holds that post but has announced he’s retiring at the end of his term. Fisher, 34, will be a candidate in the May Democratic primary, Knoxnews reports. Fisher was first appointed juvenile judge in January 2010. A native of Clinton, he earned his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. After law school, he became a partner in the law firm of Cantrell, Cantrell & Fisher and maintained a private practice until joining the bench.


Randolph Running Again for General Sessions Court

Bradley County General Sessions Judge Sheridan Randolph has announced he will seek re-election when his current term expires, the Cleveland Banner reports. Among the past accomplishments he cites is handling more than 11,000 cases over the last year, making sure that those who appear before him always know what they owe before leaving court and making a special effort to collect from those who do not pay fees and fines. Randolph will run in the Republican primary for the position.


2 Court Clerks Pull Qualifying Petitions on Opening Day

Two court clerks in Shelby County were among the first candidates to pull petitions on the opening day of the 2014 Shelby County election filing season, the Memphis Daily News reports. Probate Court Clerk Paul Boyd and Juvenile Court Clerk Joy Touliatos will run in the Republican primary. The deadline for candidates to file petitions for the county ballot is Feb. 20, 2014. Election day for the primaries is May 6, with the general election on Aug. 7.


Retired Lawyer Dies in Maryville

Floyd Wallace Lewis Sr., 88, died Monday (Nov. 25) in Maryville. Originally from Mississippi, Lewis served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and then earned his law degree from Tulane University Law School. Lewis worked for Middle South Utilities (now Entergy) in various capacities -- from corporate lawyer to CEO -- for more than 36 years. Though he lived in New Orleans for most of his life, Lewis moved to Tennessee after Hurricane Katrina. A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Nov. 27) at 2:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Maryville. The family will receive friends prior to the service. Funeral services will be Saturday at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Kentwood, La. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery. Read more about his life in Knoxnews.


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