2014 Rules Package Published

The Tennessee Supreme Court today published its 2014 package of amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, including changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules of Criminal Procedure and Rules of Appellate Procedure. The amendments, which would be effective July 1, 2014, if approved by the General Assembly, include new authority for appellate courts to suspend rules; requirements for electronic copies of transcripts; specification of the color of applications, responses and amici in TRAP 9 and 11 matters; and refinement of criminal contempt provisions. The court adopted the single recommendation from the TBA and Public Defenders Conference that trial court discretion to substitute a statement of evidence for a verbatim transcript on appeal not apply to criminal cases.

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
00 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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 Supreme Court


Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mike Whalen, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Heather McMurray.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Kyle Hixson, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Phillip Morton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Heather McMurray, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of three counts of the sale of less than .5 grams of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school zone, three counts of the delivery of less than .5 grams of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school zone, possession of less than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1000 feet of a school zone, and possession of less than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to deliver within 1000 feet of a school zone, all Class B felonies. The trial court merged the convictions based on the same incidents and sentenced the defendant as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent terms of twelve years for each conviction, with a mandatory eight-year sentence in the Department of Correction due to the fact that the offenses were committed in a drug-free school zone. The defendant raises three issues on appeal: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain her convictions; (2) whether the trial court erred in allowing a police officer to testify as an expert witness; and (3) whether the trial court erred by denying her motion for a mistrial after the State played a redacted version of her statement to police. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Dan R. Smith (on appeal ), Jonesborough, Tennessee, and Ricky A. W. Curtis (at trial), Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Allan Pope.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Barry P. Staubus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Sullivan County jury convicted the Defendant, Allan Pope, of one count of using public equipment for private purposes, one count of official misconduct, and one count of theft of services over $10,000 but less than $60,000. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed the Defendant’s conviction for theft of services and reversed and dismissed the Defendant’s convictions for official misconduct and private use of public property. State v. Pope, No. E2011-01410-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 4760724, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Oct. 5, 2012), perm. app. denied (Tenn. March 5, 2013). On remand, the Defendant filed a motion for reconsideration, requesting that the trial court reconsider its previous denial of the Defendant’s request for judicial diversion; the trial court denied the motion. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred when it denied his motion. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we dismiss the Defendant’s appeal.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


A. Philip Lomonaco, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tammy Kay Scott, alias.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kenneth F. Irvine, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Tammy Kay Scott, alias, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of possession of less than 200 grams of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to sell and possession of less than 200 grams of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to deliver, Class C felonies. The trial court merged the convictions and sentenced the defendant to five years of probation after service of thirty days. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress her statement as it was obtained in violation of her right to counsel. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Insurers Agree to Settle Meningitis Cases

A major settlement reached with insurance companies will provide “a very significant amount” for victims in a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, says bankruptcy trustee Paul D. Moore, who has been handling the cases filed against the New England Compounding Center. Moore announced on Friday that an agreement had been reached with the company's primary insurer. He also said there was an agreement with the insurer for another defendant in a series of civil suits that have been merged before a federal judge in Boston. The settlement is still subject to court approval, though parties on both sides applauded the plan. Read more in The Tennessean.

Bass Berry & Sims Hires 18

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC has hired 18 new associates for its three Tennessee offices. Of the group, 15 will serve in Nashville, two in Memphis and one in Knoxville. The additions beef up the firm’s health care, corporate and securities, labor and employment, real estate and intellectual property practices.

Sumner County Considers New Judgeship

Sumner County commissioners have yet to decide whether to fund a new judgeship for the county due to worries about raising taxes to cover the costs. Rising caseloads have prompted the need for a third judge in the county’s General Sessions Court, but the move could cost up to $1 million, experts say. Commissioners appear split between those willing to raise taxes to fund the position and those unwilling to do so. Supporters of an additional judgeship say crowded dockets and long wait times in the courtroom raise security and constitutional issues. The Tennessean has more.

Judge Completes Training, Project for ‘Crossover’ Youth

Rutherford County Juvenile Court Judge Donna Scott Davenport has completed 44 hours of training and a community project designed to reduce the number of youth who “crossover” from the child welfare system to the juvenile justice system, or vice versa. Her project, Rutherford County: A Multi-Systemic Strategy with Partners, was approved by the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and she was named a member of the center’s fellows network. Davenport completed training on crossover issues last year at the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. That program aims to create a network of individuals across the country committed to reforming the juvenile justice system. WGNS Radio has more on the story.

Chattanooga Grand Jury Recommends Mental Health Court

The Hamilton County Grand Jury wrapped up two months of work with a recommendation that the government set up a mental health court to reduce recidivism, reduce the length of incarceration for participants and improve mental health outcomes. "It is difficult to provide humane and just treatment to persons with mental health issues in our jails and prisons," the jurors reported. “We believe that combining judicial supervision with community mental health treatment would in turn curtail criminal activity while improving the participants' quality of life." Chattanoogan.com has the full report.

Mynatt Named Manager of Oak Ridge Legal Aid

Janet Mynatt is the new managing attorney of the Legal Aid Society's Oak Ridge office. She replaces Neil McBride, who retired this month after 35 years of service. “Janet is an outstanding attorney and natural leader -- the perfect person to fill the big shoes of Neil McBride, who has managed the Oak Ridge office since 1978,” said Gary Housepian, executive director of Legal Aid Society. Mynatt has served at Legal Aid since 2001 and has been active in the medical and benefits community, editing Legal Aid’s Sixth Circuit Social Security Manual, helping form a medical-legal partnership at a rural health center in Jellico and serving as chair the TBA’s Disability Law Section. The Oak Ridger has more.

Scalia Shares Legal Insights in Memphis

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was in Memphis last Friday at several events connected to the law school and at a public luncheon. Notable remarks from the day included a defense of gridlock in the nation’s capital, the suggestion that the U.S. Supreme Court is not the most important court in the country and an endorsement for maintaining the third year of law school. Scalia also promoted the importance of an independent judiciary and the U.S. system of a decentralized government. The Memphis Daily News and the Memphis Business Journal have more on the visit.

Turner Decides to Remain in House Leadership

State House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner has reversed course after announcing plans to quit his leadership post, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. He now says he will remain at the helm through the 2014 election. In early November, the Nashville lawmaker said he planned to step down, citing differences with Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron over political philosophy and campaign strategy. In making the announcement, Turner said colleagues in the House urged him to reconsider, while a talk with Herron cleared the air. “He's going to do what he does, and I'm going to do what I do and we're moving on,” Turner explained.

Ethics Roadshow on Eastern Swing

The TBA Ethics Roadshow heads east this week, making stops in Knoxville on Tuesday, Chattanooga on Wednesday, Cookville on Thursday and Johnson City on Friday. Ethics expert Brian Faughnan of Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell PLLC this year talks about bad habits, struggles and misconstrued meanings – activities that have produced 50 ways that lawyers in Tennessee and elsewhere have lost their practice due to ethical violations. Don’t miss this engaging three-hour, dual credit CLE program.

Retired Sessions Judge Dies at 81

Former Ashland City and General Sessions Judge William R. “Bill” Baker died Dec. 12 at the age of 81. Baker received his law degree from Vanderbilt University and spent three years in the Foreign Service in northern Brazil. After returning to Tennessee, he opened a private law practice, served as general sessions judge from 1966 to 1974 and served as municipal judge from 1981 to 1988. Among his many distinctions, Baker served as a delegate to the 1965 Tennessee Constitutional Convention, as a member and chair of the Tennessee Claims Commission and as secretary-treasurer of the Tennessee General Sessions Judges Conference. Funeral services were today at St. Martha’s Catholic Church, The Tennessean reports. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Aquinas College, 4210 Harding Rd., Nashville, TN 37205; University Catholic, 2004 Terrace Pl., Nashville, TN 37203; or St. Martha’s Catholic Church, 3331 Bell St., Ashland City, TN 37015.


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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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