O’Connor Pushes Civics Education at Nashville Event

More than 100 lawyers and judges from across the southeast today heard about the “appalling level of public ignorance” about our democratic system from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The lawyers were in Nashville attending SEABOTA, the regional gathering of members of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Among the solutions offered to what was described as a “crisis” in civics education was the iCivics program, which now numbers more than 65,000 registered teachers; the new civics education and engagement and assessment requirement for Tennessee schools sponsored by Sen. Mark Norris, R-Memphis; and respect for jurors and effective access to justice programs. Also at the event, Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade moderated a panel of judges from 10 southern states who highlighted the importance of fair and impartial state courts. Learn more about ways to assist civics education efforts in Tennessee.

Today's Opinions

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00 - TN Workers Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - 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

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TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Dawn Deaner, District Public Defender; Jeffrey A. Devasher (on appeal), Kristin Strangl and Richard Strong (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Jose Antonio Henriquez.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Brian Holmgren and Sharon Reddick, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Jose Antonio Henriquez, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of two counts of aggravated sexual battery, Class B felonies; attempted aggravated sexual battery, a Class C felony; solicitation of a minor, a Class C felony; and sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class C felony. See T.C.A. §§ 39-13-504 (2010) (aggravated sexual battery), 39-12-101 (2010) (criminal attempt), 39-13-528 (2006) (amended 2013) (solicitation of a minor), 39-13-529 (2006) (amended 2011, 2012, 2013) (sexual exploitation of a minor). The trial court sentenced the Defendant to concurrent terms of eleven years as a violent offender for each of the aggravated sexual battery convictions and five years as a Range I, standard offender for each of the attempted aggravated sexual battery, solicitation of a minor, and sexual exploitation of a minor convictions. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) his right to a speedy trial was violated and (2) a fatal variance exists between the solicitation of a minor charge and the trial proof. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

TN Attorney General Opinions

School Teachers Serving on Local School Boards

Court: TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2014-05-01

Opinion Number: 53

Nashville Mayor Proposes New Conservator Agency

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has proposed a new Office of Public Guardian to defend the elderly and others who are not able to care for themselves. His budget, released this week, includes $195,000 to establish the office and hire a public guardian and accountant. The office would be the first publicly funded in the state. Guardians typically are paid through fees assessed on individuals receiving the assistance. Davidson County Probate Judge David “Randy” Kennedy praised the move and said he was confident the Metro Council would approve the funding. Dean’s proposal tracks recommendations from a task force Kennedy appointed.

Professional Tax Due June 1, Must Be Filed Electronically

Taxable professionals holding an active license in Tennessee must pay the annual professional privilege tax of $400 by June 1. Under state law, the returns must be filed electronically. The Department of Revenue says that taxpayers may only file paper forms if the electronic filing requirement creates a hardship. Learn how to file electronically in this document from the department. For questions about the professional privilege tax call (800) 342-1003 or (615) 253-0600. For questions about electronic filing call (866) 368-6374 or (615) 253-0704.

Blackwood Appointed to Handle Poston Case

Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood has been tapped to preside over the case of Bruce Poston, a Knoxville defense attorney accused of giving prescription painkillers to the wife of a client. Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade issued an order Thursday appointing Blackwood as a special judge after all of Knox County’s judges recused themselves. A special prosecutor also has been assigned, Knoxnews reports. Poston is being represented by defense attorney Mike Whalen. An arraignment date has not yet been set.

Brown Contempt Upheld, Case Sent to Appeals Court

Senior Judge Paul G. Summers, who is acting as a special judge in the case of former Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown’s contempt citation, ruled today that Brown was in contempt during an outburst in March before Juvenile Court Magistrate Harold “Hal” Horne. He then turned to the issue of whether the appeal of the contempt charge was improperly filed in criminal court instead of an appellate court. As Brown’s attorneys argued for the appeal, Summers replied, “Sounds to me like you’re wanting to have an extra charge lodged against your client,” WREG News Channel 3 reports. He ultimately decided to send the case to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

14 Apply to be Hamilton County Clerk and Master

Fourteen Chattanooga area attorneys have applied to be Hamilton County clerk and master, the Chattanoogan reports. The deadline to file was Wednesday of this week. Lee Akers, who is retiring from the post, said the next step in the process would be delayed until after the Republican primary next week so that the new chancellor can have a say in the selection. Pam Fleenor and Joe Manuel are facing off to be chancellor Part 1. Jeff Atherton, who is unopposed to remain as chancellor Part 2, and retiring Chancellor Frank Brown also will take part in the selection process. Akers is set to retire on Sept. 8.

Rutherford and Cannon Bar Releases Judicial Poll

The Rutherford and Cannon County Bar Association has released results of a member poll ranking judicial candidates on the Republican primary ballot. Those receiving the highest marks, reports the Daily News Journal, were Aaron J. Conklin, General Sessions Division I; Barry Tidwell, General Sessions Division II; Toby Gilley, General Sessions Division III; Keith Siskin, Circuit Court Division III; Howard Wilson, chancery court; and Donna Scott Davenport, juvenile court. In the race for district attorney general, Charles G. Ward polled stronger than Jennings H. Jones, while in the public defender’s race, incumbent Gerald Melton fared better than Andy Brunelle. The association said it would conduct a similar poll for the general election in August.

Justice Lee to Speak at UT Law Graduation

The University of Tennessee College of Law announced this week that Tennessee Supreme Court Justice and law school alumna Sharon Lee will address the 2014 graduating class during the spring hooding ceremony May 9. The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena. Lee graduated from the school in 1978. Her daughter earned a law degree there in 2012.

TBAImpact Connects Lawyers to Legislative Issues and Lawmakers

TBA now provides resources for those who want to follow legislative action. On TBAImpact, members can learn about issues important to lawyers, track legislation pending before the General Assembly and contact their legislators to express their opinions. The TBA has a long tradition of advocating on behalf of its members in the state legislature. TBAImpact will enhance these efforts, giving you an opportunity to weigh in on issues important to the profession. Log in to your TBA account, then click on the TBAImpact tab to make sure your voice is heard. Get started here.


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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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