New Memphis Police Policy Allows Filming

The Memphis Police Department released an official policy instructing officers not to interfere with civilians who film them in public, the Commercial Appeal reports. The policy comes after two incidents in October in which several people accused Memphis Police officers of violating their First Amendment rights by ordering them to stop filming, confiscating their cellphones and arresting them for disorderly conduct. The policy, signed by Police Director Toney Armstrong, states that civilians have the right to video record, photograph, and audio record MPD members while they are performing their duties in public spaces “unless such recordings interfere with police activity.”

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
05 - 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

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


Court: TN Supreme Court


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; William E. Young, Solicitor General; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Debbie Housel, Leticia Alexander, and Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Richard Lewis Tennent (at trial and on appeal) and Edward J. Gross (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, James Allen Pollard.

Judge: WADE

The defendant was convicted of felony murder, first degree premeditated murder, and especially aggravated robbery. After merging the murder convictions, the trial court imposed consecutive sentences of life for the murder and eighteen years for the especially aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the convictions but remanded to the trial court for a proper determination of whether the sentences should be served consecutively or concurrently. We hold that, when a trial court places findings on the record to support its sentencing decision, the applicable standard of appellate review for a challenge to the imposition of consecutive sentences is abuse of discretion with a presumption of reasonableness. Because, however, the trial court failed to address the factors required to impose consecutive sentences based on the dangerous offender classification, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals and remand to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing.

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Stacy Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Erik O. Thorngren, Richard Horton Frank, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gaylord Entertainment Company, et al.


Musicologist and journalist plaintiff filed a complaint alleging companies that host media events interfered with her business relationships by refusing to issue her press credentials to the events Defendants host. Plaintiff also alleged Defendants invaded her privacy by casting her in a false light when a representative made a statement to Plaintiff indicating she had not been invited to a particular media event. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff’s complaint upon Defendants’ motion to dismiss based on Plaintiff’s failure to state a claim for which relief could be granted. Plaintiff appeals, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Jonathan H. Wardle, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Quentin and Iris Link.

Saul Solomon, Lora Barkenbus Fox, and Emily Herring Lamb, Nashville Tennessee, for the appellee, Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education.


Mother of a third-grade student filed a common-law writ of certiorari seeking judicial review of school board’s decision to uphold a semester long expulsion of her child. The child was considered disabled due to his diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”) and was provided with an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) as required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”). Mother argues that the school board was without authority to expel her child and that the school failed to appropriately administer his IEP which caused his misbehavior. After reviewing the record and relevant authorities, we reject Mother’s arguments and affirm the trial court’s order upholding the expulsion.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Robert H. Plummer, III, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jennifer (Peterson) Marker.

Allen Barnes, Hermitage, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael Wayne Mezo.


Father filed petition to modify a parenting plan, asserting that a material change of circumstance had occurred since the entry of the original parenting plan and seeking to be named primary residential parent. At the close of Father’s proof, Mother moved to dismiss the petition on the ground that the evidence did not show a material change of circumstance; the court denied the motion and adjourned the hearing, expressing a desire to hear testimony from the child’s counselor and receive evidence regarding the child’s performance in school. Following the adjourned hearing, the court granted Father’s petition. Mother appeals, asserting that the court erred in denying the motion to dismiss and hearing further proof, in granting Father’s petition and in making certain evidentiary rulings. Father appeals the court’s award of attorney fees to Mother. We vacate the award of attorney fees and remand the case for entry of a supplemental order relative to the award; in other respects the judgment is affirmed.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


William M. Monroe, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellant, Eric Cross d/b/a Willene’s Home Repair, LLC.

Kevin A. Snider, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Plaintiff/Appellee, Shonda M. Mickel.

Judge: KIRBY

This case involves a complaint for damages alleging breach of contract, fraud, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. After a bench trial, the trial court held in favor of the plaintiff on several of the claims and awarded damages. Almost a year after the final order was entered, the defendants filed a motion to set aside the order pursuant to Rule 60 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, but the trial court denied the motion. The defendants now appeal. We affirm the decision of the trial court.

With dissenting opinion.

Court: TN Court of Appeals


Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Karen D. Stamps.

Rose Palermo, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Roy Denton Stamps.


In this divorce action, Wife appeals the denial of her Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59 motion to alter or amend the final decree of divorce. We vacate the order denying the motion and remand the case for the court to enter a supplemental order stating its basis for denying the motion.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Tony N. Brayton (on appeal) and Taurus Bailey (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Brown, Sr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; and Carrie Shelton and Jennifer Nichols, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A jury convicted Robert Brown, Sr. (“the Defendant”) of one count of rape of a child and one count of criminal exposure to HIV. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve an effective term of twenty-five years’ incarceration. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence was not sufficient to support his convictions. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Ryan Haase.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Senior Counsel; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Ryan Robert Haase (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of one count of criminal attempt to commit first degree premeditated murder, one count of aggravated assault, and one count of domestic assault. The trial court merged the assault convictions into the attempt to commit first degree premeditated murder conviction and sentenced the Defendant as a Range II offender to forty years in confinement. In this direct appeal, the Defendant alleges errors in the admission of certain evidence; contends that the evidence is not sufficient to support his conviction of attempt to commit first degree premeditated murder; contends that the prosecutor engaged in improper argument; and argues that he should have been sentenced as a Range I offender. Upon our thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David K. Calfee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Allen Massey.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Wayne Carter, District Attorney General; and Stephen Hatchett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Allen Massey, appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief by the Criminal Court of Bradley County. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the petitioner entered guilty pleas to promotion of manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine, for which he received suspended sentences of four years and elevenmonths and twenty-nine days, respectively. In this appeal, the petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were involuntarily and unknowingly entered. Upon our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Reginald E. Shelton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Louis Mayes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Glen Baity, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Louis Mayes, contends that both his transfer counsel and his trial/appellate counsel rendered the ineffective assistance of counsel in the juvenile and trial courts, respectively, and that the post-conviction court erred in denying post-conviction relief. Specifically, he alleges that transfer counsel failed to properly prepare for the transfer hearing and that his trial/appellate counsel failed to include a key witness at the suppression hearing and was deficient on appeal for failing to challenge the trial court’s denial of his suppression motion. Upon consideration of the relevant authorities and the record, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

KBA Elects Officers, Presents Award

At the Knoxville Bar Association’s Annual Meeting last week, Wade V. Davies assumed the presidency, and the organization elected Tasha C. Blakney as president-elect, Amanda M. Busby as secretary and Wayne R. Kramer as treasurer. The following were elected to the Board of Governors: Charles E. Atchley Jr., Wynne du Mariau Caffey, Dawn Coppock and Keith D. Stewart. Also at the meeting, John T. O’Connor II was presented the KBA's highest award, the prestigious Governor’s Award. In making the presentation, Bill Vines said “John T. O’Connor II has been described as one of the hardest working lawyers in the Knoxville Bar and he is a worthy recipient of the Knoxville Bar Association’s Governors’ Award.” Also at the meeting, James P. Moneyhun Jr. was introduced as president of the Knoxville Barristers, the KBA's Young Lawyers Division.

Gallatin Judge Receives Reprimand

Gallatin City Recorder and Judge Connie Kittrell was publicly reprimanded by the Board of Judicial Conduct for violating state judicial conduct rules when she had a city employee dismiss her daughter’s traffic citation in 2012. According to the board’s website, a public reprimand “details the findings of judicial misconduct and lists reasons why such conduct is improper and a discredit to the judiciary.” It is the least public discipline that the state board can impose by law, the Tennessean reports.

DCS One Year Later

One year after various media coalitions sued the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services for access to child death records, WREG news Channel 3 reviews the changes and progress DCS has made. In the past year, DCS has made major staff and policy changes and revised its child death review process. Agency leaders say the abuse hotline is dropping fewer calls, case workers are training with the TBI and more data will be added online, like a child’s age, gender and history with the department before the full case file is posted. “We’re trying every way we can to be more open, we think that, that makes us better, we invite the oversight,” says Commissioner Jim Henry.

Memphis-Shelby Mayors Set Priorities for State Legislature

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Lutrell today presented Shelby County legislators with a joint list of requests, plus separate city and county requests, for the upcoming legislative action. The mayors asked for new authority from the state to attack blight in Memphis and Shelby County and for an increase in money for health, education, anti-crime and job-training programs. The Commercial Appeal has more.

Rep. Watson Attends Drug Control, Policy Panel in DC

Rep. Eric Watson represented Tennessee in a discussion on drug policy issues facing the nation, the Chattanoogan reports. Topics at the Washington, D.C. conference included opioid abuse and diversion, “smart on crime” initiatives, and intergovernmental strategies for states to partner with the Office of National Drug Control Policy. As chairman of the House Criminal Practice Committee, Rep. Watson oversees efforts to prevent illegal drug use in Tennessee communities, strengthen drug treatment services, disrupt domestic drug production and trafficking, and improve drug-related information systems.

Meth Bill to be Revisited in 2014

House Speaker Beth Harwell says she expects the House in 2014 to revisit proposals requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine, a cold drug also used to make methamphetamine. Police say past efforts to control the sale of the medicine through electronic systems in pharmacies haven’t done enough. According to Nashville Public Radio, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick is in favor of the proposal, pointing to a Vanderbilt poll out last week saying two-thirds of Tennesseans favor requiring a prescription to get pseudoephedrine.

More Join Hamilton County Races

Ron Parson, an administrator in the sheriff's office, has decided to run in the Republican primary for Circuit Court clerk against County Commissioner Larry Henry. For more on Hamilton County election news, visit the Chattanoogan.

Media and the Courts Panel Jan. 16

Middle Tennessee journalists will tackle the topic of the media and the courts at a program sponsored by the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. The event will be on Jan. 16 at Waller Law Offices in Nashville from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. Following a reception, there will be a panel discussion featuring journalists and judges.

Ginsberg: Justices Should Stay if Able to Work

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said Tuesday that Supreme Court justices should work as long as they can and shouldn't manipulate their retirement so a like-minded president can appoint their successor, the Associated Press reports on WRCB Channel 2. Some liberals have recently called on the 80-year-old Ginsburg to retire so President Barack Obama can choose her replacement. If she stays beyond his term, it would leave open the possibility that a Republican would name the liberal justice's successor.

16 Lawyers Reinstated After Administrative Suspension

A number of Tennessee-licensed lawyers have been reinstated after being administratively suspended for failure to meet CLE requirements in 2012; failure to submit the annual BPR fee and/or IOLTA report in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and failure to pay the 2012 inactive fee. They are now noted as reinstated. See the updated lists at the links above.

Madison County Lawyer Censured

Bede O. M. Anyanwu on Dec. 18 received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility. Although his wife was to be the buyer in a real estate transaction, Anyanwu represented the seller in matters related to the transaction, and drafted documents that were misleading as to the true sales price of the property. Download the BPR notice.

Henderson County Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

April Rebecca Mims has been temporarily suspended from the practuce of law for failing to substantially comply with a monitoring agreement with the Tennessee Lawyer’s Assistance Program. Download the BPR notice.


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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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