Haslam Signs Wine-in-Grocery Stores Bill

Gov. Bill Haslam today signed the bill allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores, the Memphis Business Journal reports. Municipalities can now begin petitioning for referendums on allowing the sale of wine in grocery stores but it will be at least two years before wine could be on shelves. Because of a compromise to allow retailers to continue to compete with grocery stores, liquor stores will be able to sell beer and other items as soon as this summer without a referendum.

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
05 - TN Court of Appeals
14 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
03 - 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 Appeals

BETTY BAXTER v. HERITAGE BANK & TRUST, and PROCTOR FINANCIAL INSURANCE CORPORATION, INC.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

John A. Bell, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Betty Baxter.

Michael Gregory Derrick, Memphis, Tennessee, and Robert W. Briley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Heritage Bank & Trust.

Judge: COTTRELL

Homeowner sued Bank, alleging that it had settled her claim for damages to her house with Insurance Company without her consent. Bank served discovery on Homeowner, and when Homeowner did not comply with discovery requests to Bank’s satisfaction, Bank moved to dismiss Homeowner’s claims. Trial court granted Bank’s motion to dismiss, and Homeowner moved to set aside the dismissal pursuant to Rule 59. Trial court denied Homeowner’s motion to set aside, and Homeowner appealed. We reverse the trial court’s judgment denying Homeowner’s motion to set aside because (1) the scheduling order included a deadline for completing discovery that had not yet passed and (2) there was insufficient evidence of wrongdoing by Homeowner or her attorney.


CHARLES LUIS BLACKBURN, ET AL. V. HENRY E. MCGEE

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Steven Sharp, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Jon C. Peeler and H. Anthony Duncan, Nashville, Tennessee, Tennessee, for the appellee, Charles Luis Blackburn.

Judge: DINKINS

Plaintiff in wrongful death action filed motion to quash Notice of Hospital Lien which had been filed in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. §29-22-101 et seq. on behalf of medical center which rendered care to the decedent. The trial court held that the medical center had not properly perfected its lien and granted the motion; medical center appeals. We reverse the decision of the trial court.


STEVE DICKERSON ET AL. V. REGIONS BANK ET AL.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Daniel L. Wischof, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellants, Steve Dickerson and Deborah Dickerson.

W. Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellees, Beta, LLC, and Sound Marketing, LLC.

Judge: CLEMENT

Plaintiffs, husband and wife, filed this action on February 17, 2009, to quiet title to property they own in Williamson County, Tennessee. At issue was a Deed of Trust that secured a 1997 promissory note, with an original maturity date in 1998, executed by a South Carolina limited liability company of which the plaintiff husband was a member. Plaintiffs asserted, inter alia, that the statute of limitations for the 1997 note and deed of trust had lapsed; therefore, the deed of trust encumbering their property should be released. Defendant Beta, LLC, filed a counterclaim for judicial foreclosure asserting it was the assignee of an October 8, 1998 renewal note with a maturity date of October 1999, the maturity date of which was subsequently extended to October 2000 pursuant to a Change in Terms Agreement executed in October 1999. It is based on the Change in Terms Agreement that Beta insists the statute of limitations had not lapsed and it is entitled to enforce the deed of trust. Although Beta was unable to produce an original or photocopy of an October 1998 renewal promissory note or evidence that complied with Tenn. Code Ann. § 24-8-101 to prove it was a lost negotiable instrument, the trial court held that a copy of the 1999 Change of Terms Agreement was sufficient to established the existence of the October 1998 renewal note and the extension of the maturity date to 2000; thus the statute of limitations had not run and Beta was vested with the right to enforce the deed of trust. Therefore, the court dismissed Plaintiffs complaint to quiet title and ruled in favor of Beta on the issue of foreclosure. On appeal Plaintiffs contend that the evidence was insufficient to support the court’s rulings. Particularly, Plaintiffs contend the trial court erred in finding that the Change in Terms Agreement dated October 8, 1999, was sufficient to establish Beta’s claims under an October 1998 promissory note of which there is no copy. We have determined the trial court erred in finding that the evidence was sufficient to satisfy Beta’s burden of proof as the foreclosing party. We, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand this matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including a determination of the specific relief to which Plaintiffs may be entitled.


JAMES D. HOLDER AND BARBARA L. HOLDER v. S & S FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Gerald Neenan and Aubrey B. Harwell, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee for the appellant, S & S Family Entertainment, LLC.

James Lawrence Smith and Karen Keyes Diner, Hendersonville, Tennessee, for the appellees, James D. Holder and Barbara L. Holder.

Judge: CLEMENT

This dispute arose at the end of two long-term commercial leases and a contract for the sale of two businesses and their assets, which businesses operated at the leased premises. The issues pertain to what assets were purchased, whether the tenant properly maintained the premises during the lease term, and whether the tenant returned the premises to the landlord in the same condition as at the commencement of the leases. The trial court ruled that the tenant had not purchased the assets in dispute, which the tenant removed at the end of the lease; thus, the tenant was liable for removing the assets. The court also found that the tenant breached both leases by failing to maintain the premises and failing to return the premises in the same condition as at the commencement of the leases. The tenant insists the court erred in finding that the landlord owned the assets in dispute; it also insists it did not breach any duties arising under the leases. The tenant also contends it is not liable for any of the numerous categories of damages awarded because the landlord failed to prove its damages. We affirm the trial court’s rulings as to the ownership of the disputed assets and the findings that the tenant breached numerous provisions of the leases. As for the various awards of damages, we affirm in part and reverse in part.


TONIE V. PETERSON v. GLENN E. LEPARD, ET AL.
With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Cedrick D. Wooten, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tonie V. Peterson.

Thomas Branch and Sasha B. Gilmore, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Glenn E. Lepard.

Robert E. Hayes, Jr., Southaven, Mississippi, for the appellee, Southaven Police Department

Melanie M. Stewart and John J. Bennett, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Felicia N. Henderson.

Judge: STAFFORD

This case arises from the dismissal of the Appellant’s lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Shelby County for failure to timely perfect her appeal from General Sessions Court. Appellant filed her notice of appeal with the 24-hour General Sessions Criminal Clerk’s Office, but did not pay costs or bond because the 24-hour clerk’s office does not accept any payments for civil matters. As a result, Appellant’s bond was not paid until the eleventh day after the General Sessions Court’s judgment was entered, and was therefore outside the ten-day filing period. Tenn. Code Ann. § 27-5-108. Consequently, the trial court dismissed Appellant’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Discerning no error, we affirm and remand.


TN Court of Criminal Appeals

BRIAN BRAWNER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Lee R. Sparks, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brian Brawner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Brian Brawner, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was convicted of facilitation of attempted first degree premeditated murder, aggravated assault, and especially aggravated kidnapping. The conviction for aggravated assault was merged into the conviction for facilitation of attempted first degree premeditated murder. On appeal he contends that the post-conviction court erroneously denied his petition because he was denied the right to effective assistance of counsel when trial counsel failed to file a notice of alibi and failed to preserve the testimony of a witness for appeal. Following a review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTOPHER MARK BRIDGES

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Mark Bridges.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin E.D. Smith, Senior Counsel; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun A. Brown, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Christopher Mark Bridges, pled guilty to violating his probation and now appeals the trial court’s order requiring him to serve his sentence in confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in accordance with Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. EDWARD BROWN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Terita Hewlett Riley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Edward Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Carla Taylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Edward Brown, was convicted of attempted second degree murder, a Class C felony, and reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor. The defendant was sentenced to eight years at thirty percent as a Range I offender for his attempted second degree murder conviction and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the reckless endangerment conviction. On appeal the defendant argues that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain a conviction for attempted second degree murder and that the trial court erred in admitting photographs of the crime scene and of the injuries to the female victim. Having reviewed the record, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction for attempted second degree murder and that the trial court did not err in admitting the photographs. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


TERENCE DAVIS v. CHERRY LINDAMOOD, WARDEN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Terence Davis, Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Clark B. Thornton, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Terence Davis, appeals as of right from the Hardeman County Circuit Court’s summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner contends that one of his judgments of conviction is void because it fails to properly reflect his pretrial jail credit. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RICHARD DICKERSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Todd Mosley (on appeal) and Robert Parris (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Richard Dickerson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; Amy Weirich, District Attorney General; and Patience Branham and Doug Carriker, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Richard Dickerson (“the Defendant”) was convicted by a jury of second degree murder. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to twenty-five years’ incarceration. In this direct appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court (1) should have granted a mistrial following “jury misconduct”; (2) erred in admitting proof of prior bad acts; and (3) imposed an excessive sentence. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.


TROY FULLER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, for the Defendant-Appellant, Troy Fuller.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Brian M. Gilliam, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Troy Fuller, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of post-conviction relief from his convictions for rape, aggravated criminal trespass, and violation of an order or protection. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL GOODRUM

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Robert C. Richardson, Jr. and Cynthia A. Cheatam, for the Defendant-Appellant, Michael Goodrum.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Brent Cooper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

A Maury County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Michael Goodrum, of one count of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park, a Class B felony, and one count of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine with the intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a public school, a Class A felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-17- 417, -432 (2008). The trial court merged the two counts into one conviction and sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to fifteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (2) the trial court improperly excused a prospective juror; (3) the trial court erred in submitting his case to the jury for deliberation; and (4) application of the Drug-Free School Zone Act violated his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


ANTONIO HAMPTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

James E. Thomas, for the Defendant-Appellant, Antonio Hampton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Ann Schiller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Antonio Hampton, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of relief from his convictions for especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were not knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COBY CURTIS HARRISON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Lloyd R. Tatum, Henderson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Coby Curtis Harrison.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Senior Counsel; Thomas A. Thomas, District Attorney General; and Kevin McAlphin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Coby Curtis Harrison, admitted to violating his probation and now appeals the trial court’s order requiring him to serve the remainder of his three-year sentence for aggravated assault in confinement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in accordance with Rule 20 of the Rules of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.


MARCUS JOHNSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Marcus Johnson.

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

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Marcus Johnson, appeals as of right from the Knox County Criminal Court’s dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The Petitioner contends that the postconviction court erred by dismissing his petition as having been untimely filed. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RAMONE LAWSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Stephen C. Bush, District Public Defender; Harry E. Sayle, III (on appeal), Jane Sturdivant and James Hale (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Ramone Lawson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Colin Campbell and Tracye Jones, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Ramone Lawson, was convicted by a jury of one count of first degree premeditated murder, two counts of attempted first degree murder, and two counts of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. The Defendant was sentenced to an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus six years. In this direct appeal, the Defendant argues that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred when it instructed the jury about the possible sentences and release eligibility dates for first degree murder. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TIMOTHY DAVALE MARTIN

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; Jeffrey A. DeVasher, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Kristin Stangl and Martesha L. Johnson, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Timothy Davale Martin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Bradshaw, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Amy Hunter, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

A Davidson County jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Timothy Davale Martin, of attempted especially aggravated robbery, attempted second degree murder, attempted aggravated robbery, and aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to an effective sentence of thirteen years in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant argues that: (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions; (2) the trial court committed plain error in failing to merge the convictions for attempted aggravated robbery and aggravated assault; and (3) the trial court erred in imposing a sentence of confinement. Upon review, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the convictions. However, the Defendant’s dual convictions for attempted aggravated robbery and aggravated assault violate double jeopardy protections. Accordingly, we vacate his aggravated assault conviction in count four and remand the matter to the trial court for entry of an amended judgment reflecting the merger of the Defendant’s aggravated assault conviction into his attempted aggravated robbery conviction in count two. The judgments of the trial court are affirmed in all other respects.


ANTON MAYHEW v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

R. Todd Mosley, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anton Mayhew.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Meghan Fowler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Anton Mayhew, filed a petition for post-conviction relief attacking his two jury convictions for aggravated robbery and resulting twelve-year sentence. The post-conviction court denied relief following an evidentiary hearing, finding that the Petitioner had failed to prove his allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel by clear and convincing evidence. In this appeal as of right, the Petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request a severance of the Petitioner’s trial from that of his co-defendant. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RUSSELL VICTOR McCOLLUM

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Russell Victor McCollum.

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

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Russell Victor McCollum, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of three counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and one count of failure to appear, a Class E felony, and was sentenced to an effective term of twenty-two years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence convicting him of aggravated sexual battery and the trial court’s consolidating the aggravated sexual battery and failure to appear indictments for trial. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


TN Attorney General Opinions

Constitutionality of Tenn. Code Ann. § 65-21-114 Mandating County-wide Calling

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-03-18

Opinion Number: 32


Authority of Electric Cooperative to Provide Broadband Internet Service

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-03-18

Opinion Number: 33


Constitutionality of Legislation Restricting Changes to Health Care Contracts

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-03-18

Opinion Number: 34


Teachers' Union Sues Haslam, Huffman

Tennessee’s largest teachers’ union is suing Gov. Bill Haslam and Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman over an evaluation tool they say penalizes good educators unfairly. It’s the second suit filed recently against the Knox County Board of Education on behalf of a teacher, but this one expands legal action to name top state officials as defendants. The plaintiff is Mark Taylor, a science teacher held up by the union as an example of why they believe a tool that scores teachers based on student learning gains doesn’t work. The Tennessean has more.


'Gideon's Army' Wins Film Prize, Showing Tonight in Nashville

The film Gideon's Army will receive the 2014 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize April 30 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., it was announced Wednesday. The film follows three public defenders as "they struggle with staggering caseloads, long hours and low pay, trying to balance their commitment to public service with a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point." The awards committee said the film "celebrates the legion of idealistic young public defenders who are fighting for equal justice for the disenfranchised within our broken and biased legal system, while struggling to stay one step ahead of poverty themselves.” Business & Heritage Clarksville has more. There is a showing of the film tonight in Nashville at the Carmike Bellevue 8 Cinema, hosted by the Nashville Public Defender’s Office. Tickets are still available online.


Audit Finds Fraud in Maury County

A deputy clerk in the Maury County Clerk’s Office used her position to forge public documents, delete transactions, and keep more than $10,000 from taxes and fees for her own personal use, an investigation by the comptroller’s office has found. The investigative report was part of the audit the Maury County government released today. The deputy clerk confessed to taking the funds last July and was fired while the investigation was ongoing. The audit also noted that an employee in the Maury County Circuit and General Sessions Clerk’s Office was prosecuted for stealing $2,207. Details about that finding were outlined in a separate special investigative report from the comptroller’s office. The Chattanoogan has more.


Second Phase of TBA Balloting Underway

Tennessee Bar Association members in the East and Middle Grand Divisions who did not vote online should be receiving paper ballots this week to select representatives to the Board of Governors. Nashville attorney Jim Cartiglia of Waddey & Patterson PC is facing Franklin attorney David Veile of Schell & Davies LLC for Middle Grand Division Governor, Position 2. Knoxville attorney Sarah Sheppeard of Sheppeard & Mynatt PLC is facing Chattanooga attorney David McDowell of Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon PLLC for East Grand Division Governor, Position 1. All paper ballots must be returned to the accounting firm tabulating results for the TBA by the end of the business day on April 1.


Fleenor, Bennett, Philyaw and Sell Winners in CBA Poll

Chancellor, Part 1, candidate Pam Fleenor and Circuit Court judge, Division 1, candidate J.B. Bennett were winners in a poll conducted among members of the Chattanooga Bar Association. Juvenile Judge Rob Philyaw won the poll for juvenile judge. Incumbent General Sessions Court judges were also graded by the attorneys, with Judge Christie Mahn Sell coming in at the top spot. The Chattanoogan has more.


Memphis Attorney Announces Bid for Congressional Seat

Attorney Ricky Wilkins formally announced his candidacy for the 9th district Congressional seat yesterday, backed by a roomful of enthusiastic supporters. Wilkins faces four-term incumbent Rep. Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary. “I know what it’s like to live off food stamps,” he said. “Who better to represent the people of the 9th Congressional district than one who has walked a mile in their shoes?” The Memphis Flyer has the story.


Former Councilman to Run for Nashville Vice Mayor in 2015

Former Metro councilman David Briley announced he will run for vice mayor of Nashville next year. Incumbent Diane Neighbors will be stepping down in 2015 because of term limits. Vice mayor presides over the 40-member Metro Council and only votes when necessary to break a tie. "It's a hard job. It's thankless. It's not necessarily a stepping stone to anything else. This is something I want to do because I love Nashville,” Briley, an attorney with Bone McAllester Norton, told the Tennessean.


More Candidates Agree to Campaign Code

Close to 180 judges and judicial candidates have now agreed to a higher standard of campaign conduct by signing the Tennessee Fair Judicial Campaign Code of Conduct. In doing so, they agree not to comment during the campaign on legal issues that might come before them as a judge, and if elected, to conduct themselves in a fair and impartial manner and recuse themselves from issues on which they already have announced how they would rule. To see who has signed the pledge, visit the 2014 Tennessee Judicial Selection Information Center. Candidates who have not signed but would like to, can also find a copy of the pledge there.


Advocates for Showing Murder Victims' Photos in Court Gather at State Capitol

Dozens of murder victims’ loved ones packed Nashville’s Legislative Plaza yesterday, supporting a bill to allow a living picture of a victim to be shown during a murder trial — currently, the jury only sees autopsy photos and gruesome crime scenes. Critics of the bill argue it could jeopardize the entire outcome of the trial, along with current judicial rules that are already in place. Judges often rule that a living photo of the victim is not relevant when presenting the facts of the case. The House Civil Justice Committee decided to move the bill to a summer study session. WRCBTV has more.


Debate Heats Up on Retirement for Ginsburg

Court-watchers are renewing a debate over whether U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently turned 81, ought to retire so that President Barack Obama could pick her successor while Democrats still control the chamber, Gavel Grab reports. With control of the U.S. Senate increasingly seen as up for grabs in the midterm elections this year, many news sources have chimed in the debate, including The Economist, Slate, The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Bloomberg View.


High Court to Hear Religious Challenge to Health Care Law

The Affordable Care Act will be considered in the Supreme Court next week in a case full of hot-button issues: religious freedom, corporate rights, federal regulation, abortion and contraception. On one side is the Obama administration, insistent that health policies written under the act include full coverage for all methods of birth control. On the other side are two family-owned corporations — the Hobby Lobby chain of arts-and-crafts stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a Mennonite-owned cabinet maker. They cite religious objections to intrauterine devices (IUDs) and "morning-after" pills, which they say can cause abortions. WBIR has the story from USA Today.


Deadline Near for Environmental Law Writing Competition

April 1 is the deadline for entering the TBA Environmental Law Section's Jon E. Hastings Memorial Award writing competition for law students. Entries may be submitted by law students enrolled in a Tennessee law school in 2013 or 2014. The competition is held in memory of one of the section’s outstanding founding members and has a cash prize pool of $1,200. This writing contest is a juried competition for the best legal writing on a topic of Tennessee or federal environmental law. The competition Rules and Announcement are available online. For more information contact Lynn Pointer


TLAW Presents Panel on Career Niches in the Law

The Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women will host “How I Put My Law Degree to Work — Finding Your Niche in the Law,” a panel discussion including the Hon. Holly Kirby who was recently appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The event is Tuesday at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, from noon to 1:30 p.m. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Women Attorneys and is open to practicing attorneys as well as law students. RSVP/register online at www.tlaw.org


Hamilton County Lawyer Temporarily Suspended

Michael Lee West was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on March 18 upon finding that he misappropriated finds to his own use. Download the BPR notice.


Personalized Insurance Service

TBA Member Insurance Solutions provides association members with exclusive benefits, personalized service and pricing discounts through Graham Swafford, our insurance agent dedicated to serving TBA members. Whether you need professional liability insurance or guidance on other insurance needs, Graham is here for you.


 
 

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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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