Attorneys Top List of Influential Women

Several Nashville attorneys are being honored by the Nashville Business Journal as finalists for its 2014 Women of Influence Awards. The winners in each of the nine categories will be named Feb. 11 during an awards luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel. Among the finalists are Miranda Christy of Stites & Harbison, Lisa Cole of Lewis Thomason, Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur with the U.S Attorney’s office, Andrea Perry of Bone McAllester Norton and Patricia Head Moskal of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.

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
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


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


James E. Lanier, District Public Defender; Christy Cooper, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Teresa A. Junior.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Senior Counsel; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Karen W. Burns, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant’s probation was revoked after a full evidentiary hearing, and he was ordered to serve his sentence in incarceration. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by revoking his probation. Upon review, we find no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s decision, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment accordingly.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Juni S. Ganguli, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Small.

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


Petitioner, Michael Small, was convicted of aggravated robbery and received a sentence of 20 years, to be served consecutively to his sentences for three prior aggravated robbery convictions. Petitioner appealed his sentence, and this court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. State v. Michael Small, No. W2010-00470-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App., Mar. 28, 2011), perm. app. denied (Tenn., July 15, 2011). A summary of the facts underlying Petitioner’s convictions in this case can be found in that opinion. Petitioner now appeals the trial court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, in which he alleged that his trial counsel and appellate counsel were ineffective. Having reviewed the record before us, we affirm the judgment of trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Mark Stephens, District Public Defender; Jamie Niland, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal); Randall E. Reagan (at sentencing and motion for new trial); and Tommy K. Hindman (at trial); Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Charles Edward Wagner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Randall Eugene Nichols, District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Following a jury trial, appellant, Charles Edward Wagner, was found guilty of the following offenses: aggravated criminal trespass; two counts of aggravated assault; five counts of aggravated kidnapping; one count of especially aggravated kidnapping; one count of false imprisonment; and one count of kidnapping. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of eleven months, twenty-nine days each for aggravated criminal trespass, false imprisonment, and assault; four years each for both counts of aggravated assault; ten years each on the five counts of aggravated kidnapping; nineteen years for especially aggravated kidnapping; and four years for kidnapping. Appealing his convictions and effective nineteen-year sentence, appellant raises the following issues: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) sufficiency of the convicting evidence; and (3) errors with regard to sentencing. Following our careful review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

With dissenting opinion.

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


George Douglas Norton, Jr., Ripley, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricco R. Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joni R. Livingston and Julie K. Pillow, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A jury convicted Ricco R. Williams (“the Defendant”) of five counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, two counts of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The Defendant appealed and contended, among other issues, that the evidence was not sufficient to support his convictions. Upon our review, this Court reversed the Defendant’s two convictions of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony and remanded those counts for a new trial; modified one of the Defendant’s aggravated robbery convictions to a conviction of the lesser-included offense of aggravated assault; reversed and dismissed the Defendant’s conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and affirmed the Defendant’s convictions of and sentences for especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and the remaining aggravated robbery. See State v. Ricco R. Williams, No. W2011-02365-CCA-R3-CD, 2013 WL 167285, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 14, 2013) (“Williams I”). Upon the Defendant’s application for permission to appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court remanded the case to this Court for consideration in light of State v. White, 362 S.W.3d 559 (Tenn. 2012), and State v. Cecil, 409 S.W.3d 599 (Tenn. 2013). See State v. Ricco R. Williams, No. W2011-02365-SC-R11-CD (Tenn. Aug. 21, 2013). Upon our consideration of the Defendant’s especially aggravated kidnapping convictions in light of White and Cecil, we affirm the Defendant’s three convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the victims A.R., K.R., and M.R. We reverse the Defendant’s two convictions of especially aggravated kidnapping as to the victims Timothy Currie and Sherita Currie and remand those charges for a new trial. Our previous holdings regarding the Defendant’s remaining convictions are unaffected by the remand and, thus, remain valid.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Performing Graffiti Removal as Community Service

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-01-07

Opinion Number: 2

Memphis Law to Launch Health Care Institute

The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law announced it will be launching a new Health Law Institute this spring, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The new institute will feature a ramped-up health law curriculum while also emphasizing practical skills and learning experiences with health law attorneys in the region. Associate professor Amy Campbell will lead the initiative.

Water Main Break Forces Closure of Knoxville Supreme Court Building

The Knoxville offices of the Tennessee Supreme and Appellate courts will be closed until Monday because of a water main break outside the court building on Main Street. According to a press release from the court, the deadline for any documents due Thursday, Jan. 9, or Friday, Jan. 10, will be extended until Monday, Jan. 13.

NFL Sued for Consumer Fraud over Super Bowl Tickets

A New Jersey man has sued the National Football League (NFL) for violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The suit accuses the NFL of pricing average football fans out of the Super Bowl by only making 1 percent of all tickets available to the public for purchase at face value. The NFL says it is reviewing the suit, but notes that three-quarters of the game’s tickets are given to teams, which sell them at face value to fans who win lotteries. Knoxnews has the story.

Sen. Henry Hospitalized for Dehydration

State Sen. Douglas Henry has been hospitalized for dehydration but is expected to be released before the start of the legislative session next week. Henry, who represents East Nashville, Antioch and parts of West Nashville, checked into a Nashville emergency room Monday. Aides said he is slated to be released Thursday. The Tennessean has more.

Legislators: Funding Education Will Be a Challenge

Speaking at a Motlow State Community College legislative breakfast, Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, told state and regional leaders that funding education will be a challenge when the second session of the 108th General Assembly convenes Jan. 14. “Education is the most important thing we do at the state level,” Tracy said. But, “the budget is always a challenge … Sales tax is up but our revenues on F&E (franchise and excise tax) are down a little bit." Tullahoma News reports that Tracey was one of four legislators to speak, along with Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Murfreesboro) and Rep. Judd Matheny (R-Tullahoma).

Author to Speak on 'Ag Gag' Legislation Jan. 16

Award-winning author, journalist and activist Will Potter will be speaking at the Chattanooga Public Library on Jan. 16, addressing the expected introduction of “ag gag” legislation in the upcoming Tennessee General Assembly, associated First Amendment and free speech issues, and the broader trend of criminalizing dissent and how that impacts social justice activism. The presentation begins at 6 p.m. on the fourth floor. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the Chattanoogan for more information.

Community Leader to Keynote Waller MLK Tribute

Waller law firm will host its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day tribute luncheon on Jan. 16 at the Doubletree Hotel with community leader Francis S. Guess as the keynote speakers. The theme of Guess' remarks is "It's Our Turn," as it relates to building upon King's legacy to foster equality throughout the Middle Tennessee business community. At the event, Waller will also recognize its annual diversity scholarship recipient, Alejandra Dalton, a student at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Digital Journal has more.

Hamilton Litigator Joins Race for Circuit Court Judge

Longtime Hamilton County litigator Stuart James has picked up qualifying papers to run for the Hamilton County Circuit Judge seat being vacated by Judge Jackie Bolton. Attorneys Catherine White and J.B. Bennett earlier announced their intention to run for the post. The Chattanoogan has more.

2 Challenge Incumbent General Sessions Court Judges

Attorneys Rex Sparks and Larry Ables have picked up papers to challenge incumbent Hamilton County General Sessions Court judges Christi Mahn Sell in Division 1 and David Bales in Division 2, respectively. Incumbents Clarence Shattuck, Lila Statom and Gary Starnes do not have opponents thus far. Mark Rothberger, incumbent Signal Mountain judge, and John Higgason Jr., the Lookout Mountain judge, have also picked up papers. Ryan Hanzelik is the only one to pick up thus far for judge of East Ridge. The Chattanoogan has more.

Circuit Court Clerk to Run for Judge

Roane County circuit court clerk Kim Nelson announced plans to run for 9th Judicial District circuit court judge, the Roane County News reports. Nelson was elected circuit court clerk in 2010. Circuit Court Judge Russell Simmons Jr. announced his retirement from the post last year. His eight-year term ends on Aug. 31.

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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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