Lawmakers to Review Judicial Evaluation Commission

Lawmakers Tuesday questioned whether the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC) violates the Tennessee Constitution, the Tennessean reports. The House Government Operations Committee heard testimony from several people, including John Jay Hooker, who brought lawsuits against Gov. Bill Haslam, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell last year contesting the constitutionality of the JPEC and retention election statutes. After hearing the testimony, the committee sent the constitutionality question to the Joint Subcommittee of Government Operations, Judiciary and Government, which will meet this summer. Gavel Grab has more.

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
01 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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 Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Denzil Russ Parton, Emlyn, Kentucky, appellant, pro se.

Joseph Grant Coker, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary Perkins, in his capacity as Campbell County Sheriff.


This is an appeal from a final order entered on July 8, 2013. The Notice of Appeal was not filed until August 9, 2013, more than (30) days from the date of entry of the order to which it is directed. Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; and Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Kristopher Blake Kincer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; Barry P. Staubus, District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Kristopher Blake Kincer, pleaded guilty as a Range I offender to theft of property valued at $1000 or more but less than $10,000, a Class D felony. See T.C.A. § 39- 14-103 (Supp. 2013) (theft of property); 39-14-105(a)(3) (2010) (amended 2012) (grading of theft). The plea agreement called for a two-year sentence, and the trial court ordered that the sentence be served in confinement. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying alternative sentencing. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for the Defendant to be sentenced to community corrections.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Christopher H. Martin, Wartburg, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Petitioner, Christopher H. Martin, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape of a child on May 21, 1997. He filed a petition for post-conviction relief on July 25, 2013. He now appeals from the summary dismissal of his post-conviction petition. On appeal, he contends that the State breached a condition of his plea agreement, that the breach occurred outside of the statute of limitations for post-conviction proceedings, and that due process should preclude the strict application of the statute of limitations in his case. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

TN Attorney General Opinions

Constitutionality of Amended Legislation Regarding Bribery, Extortion, and Riot

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-04-08

Opinion Number: 45

Legislature Considers Return of Electric Chair; State Sets 2016 Execution Date

The Tennessee Supreme Court set a date of March 15, 2016, for Donald Wayne Strouth to be executed, the Tennessean reports. Strouth has been on death row since 1978. On Tuesday, a House committee approved a bill that would make electrocution the state's method for killing inmates sentenced to death if lethal injection were declared unconstitutional or the drugs needed to carry it out were unavailable. But, WBIR reports, a handful of members said they have reservations about the electric chair, which the state has used only once since 1960.

UAW Calls Haslam, Corker, Others to NLRB Hearing

The United Auto Workers has served subpoenaes on Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and 18 others involved in February’s union vote at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The UAW wants them to appear at an April 21 National Labor Relations Board hearing on an appeal of the vote. The UAW also is seeking testimony from Tennessee Economic Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty; Will Alexander, aide to Hagerty and son of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga; state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga, and others.

Editorial: Is Justice Being Served?

In an editorial, the Johnson City Press urges state lawmakers to increase funding for district attorneys and public defenders. It says that with caseloads surging and resources dwindling, "can we truly say justice is being served under these conditions?"

Tree Plantings to Honor Crime Victims

Tennessee ranks among the 10 worst states for domestic assault, with 50,000 cases reported in the first eight months of 2013 alone, according to TBI statistics. This is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, and correctional officials and advocate groups are paying tribute to those who have suffered at the hands of criminals in Tennessee with ceremonial tree plantings honoring women and children who have been killed by their domestic abusers. The Tennessean has more.

Senate: Permit Not Needed to Carry Gun

The state Senate has passed a bill to allow Tennesseans to openly carry guns without a state-issued permit, the Tennessean reports. The chamber voted 25-2 in favor of the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet. Before the Senate floor vote, the measure narrowly made it through the Senate Judiciary Committee with only five votes in favor.

Senate Votes to Protect Info in Sexual Assault Cases

The Senate voted unanimously today to keep personal information in sexual assault cases confidential after the cases have been closed, The Tennessean reports. Under House Bill 2361 by state Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, evidence presented during trials for rape or sexual assault that identifies the victim would be made confidential once a guilty sentence has been given. The legislation had previously come under fire for being to broad in restricting the media’s ability to report on rape cases. The bill that passed was scaled back from earlier versions.

Bills Gives In-State Tuition for Kids of Undocumented Parents

Students whose parents entered the U.S. illegally will be allowed to pay in-state tuition at Tennessee colleges, under a bill now on its way to the governor. The bill passed the House 63 to 27, with little debate, according to Nashville Public Radio.

Tony Clark Confirms Run for Reelection in 1st District

First Judicial District Attorney General Tony Clark officially announced his bid for re-election this week, the Johnson City Press reports. Clark has held the position for eight years and will seek his second term in the May Republican primary. Local attorney Jerome Cochran is challenging Clark in the primary and Independent candidate Dan Smith will face the winner of that in August.

Juvenile Court Candidates Meet Again

The Tennessean looks at the race between two candidates who have faced off before: former Magistrate Sheila Calloway and Judge Sophia Crawford are running for for Davidson County Juvenile Court judge, this time in May's county primary elections. In 2012, Crawford won the appointment in a Metro Council vote, despite Calloway being recommended by the Nashville Bar Association.

Judicial Candidate: I’m Not THAT Blackburn

Davidson County judicial candidate Melissa Blackburn wants voters to know she's not that other female politician from Middle Tennessee with the same last name and a similar first name, The Tennessean reports. In a video released yesterday, Blackburn explains that she's not U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Brentwood. The video pulls out all the stops: a sad face from the candidate, voters looking confused and a country singer borrowing the melody of “I’m Not Lisa” to explain who the judicial candidate really is. Blackburn is running in the Democratic primary on May 6 for a General Sessions Court judgeship.

28 Contested Races in Dickson County

More than 80 candidates for the August election returned petitions seeking Dickson County offices and municipal seats, with 28 of the races contested. Positions to be filled include the 23rd Judicial District attorney general, public defender, circuit court clerk and circuit court judges Division I, II and III. County posts include general sessions judge, juvenile judge and general sessions court clerk. City posts include Dickson and White Bluff municipal court judges. See the list of candidates in the Tennessean.

Divorce, End-of-Life Care and Cybercriminals

In this issue, Helen Rogers and George Spanos outline strategies for the timing of filing for divorce in Tennessee and Eddy R. Smith discusses the painful topic of pregnancy and end-of-life care. If you weren't scared of people stealing your money electronically before, Kathryn Reed Edge's column on cybercriminals will send you running to change all your passwords and tighten your firm security.

ABA Offers Retirement Benefits for the Legal Sector

Looking for a retirement plan for yourself or your employees? The ABA Retirement Fund provides unique, full service 401(k) plans specifically for the legal community. By leveraging the assets of its 3,800 client firms, the ABA plan offers packages typically available only to large corporations. For more information contact a regional representative at (800) 826-8901 or visit


Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2014 Tennessee Bar Association