Commission Sends 3 to Haslam for Appeals Court

The Governor’s Commission on Judicial Appointments, which met in Memphis on Friday, has submitted three candidates to Gov. Bill Haslam to fill a vacancy on the Tennessee Court of Appeals. They are Shelby County Chancellor Kenny W. Armstrong, Memphis lawyer Oscar C. Carr III and Jackson lawyer Steven Wayne Maroney. The vacancy on the court was created by the appointment of Judge Holly Kirby to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Kirby will move into her new role on Sept. 1. Read more about the three candidates from the AOC.

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
02 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - 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

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Daniel H. Jones, Only, Tennessee, appellant, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Laura Miller, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights and Claims Division, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., Kent L. Chitwood, and Gregory W. Francisco.


The order from which the pro se incarcerated appellant seeks to appeal was entered on December 13, 2013. The Notice of Appeal was filed more than thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the December 13, 2013 order, even considering the date upon which the appellant placed the Notice of Appeal in the mail for filing with the trial court clerk (February 28, 2014). See Tenn. R. App. P. 20(g). Because the Notice of Appeal was not timely filed, we have no jurisdiction to consider this appeal.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Harold Ross Gunn, Humboldt, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Wynn.

Mary Jo Middlebrooks, Jackson, Tennessee for the appellee, Dana Wynn.


The order appealed is not a final judgment and therefore, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Matthew A. Spivey, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, James F. Hegel.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Julie R. Canter, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, James Frederick Hegel, appeals the post-conviction court’s denial of relief from his convictions for rape of a child and incest. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post- conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Guy T. Wilkinson, District Public Defender; and David H. Crichton, Assistant District Public Defender, Elizabethton, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Leslie Dean Ritchie, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Ahmed A. Safeeullah, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony W. Clark, District Attorney General; and Dennis D. Brooks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Carter County Criminal Court jury convicted the Defendant-Appellant, Leslie Dean Ritchie, Jr., of two counts of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony. See T.C.A. § 39-13-529(a) (Supp. 2009). The trial court sentenced Ritchie as a Range I, standard offender to concurrent sentences of ten years in confinement. Ritchie’s sole issue on appeal is that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his two convictions. Upon review, we remand the case for entry of a corrected judgment in count two to reflect that the jury convicted Ritchie of the offense of soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor rather than that Ritchie entered a guilty plea to this offense and to reflect that the sentence in count two is concurrent with the sentence in count one. In all other respects, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

CORRECTION: On page 1, paragraph 1, line 1 "Maury County" has been changed to "Johnson County"

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David L. Robbins, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Craig Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; and Matthew Edward Roark, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Appellant, James Craig Thomas, was convicted by a Johnson County jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced him to serve twelve years in the Tennessee Department of Correction as a persistent offender. On appeal, appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, that the assistant district attorney general committed prosecutorial misconduct during his closing argument, and that the trial court’s sentencing was inappropriate. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Avoid CLE Late Fees

In advance of next week’s CLE Compliance deadline, the TBA is offering four live programs beginning this Thursday. Offerings include the annual Entertainment & Sports Forum and Preventing Legal Malpractice course in Nashville. The Spring CLE Blast is back as well with programs running from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 29 in Nashville and May 30 in Johnson City. The blast will offer 11 hours of dual credit and lawyers may take as many or as few hours as needed. Avoid a late fee. Register today for a live CLE or browse the TBA’s online catalog for all offerings.

Georgia Court Protects Execution Drug Makers

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled today that the state’s law protecting the source of execution drugs is constitutional, the Associated Press reports. In a 5-to-2 decision, the justices reversed a lower court ruling that granted a stay of execution to convicted killer Warren Lee Hill. His lawyers had argued they needed to know the source of the drug so they would know whether they had grounds to challenge its use as cruel and unusual punishment. They now say they will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if efforts to get the court to reconsider are unsuccessful. WRCB TV has the story.

TBA Judicial Election Poll Coming Soon

The Tennessee Bar Association next week will launch the new Tennessee Supreme Court Candidate Evaluation Poll to measure TBA members' opinions on the upcoming retention elections. Members are encouraged to visit the TBA Tennessee Judicial Selection Information Center and other resources to learn about the candidates and the election. The poll is part of the TBA’s efforts to help ensure that the 2014 judicial elections help to maintain a fair, impartial and accountable judiciary.

Suit Seeks Damages for Alleged Court Incident

A lawsuit filed in federal court is seeking $250,000 from Cocke County in connection with an alleged incident in its General Session Court last year. In the lawsuit, Christi Williford, the mother of a then-14-year-old son, claims a deputy serving as court bailiff struck her son. According to the suit, the boy was in court on a charge of underage consumption of alcohol and reportedly refused to answer Judge John Bell’s demands that he disclose how he obtained the alcohol. Williford is being represented by Robert Arrington. The deputy in question has been identified as Jim Huskey.

Memphis Law Launches New Magazine

The University of Memphis School of Law has launched a new magazine dedicated to showcasing not only Memphis Law and its alumni, but also legal issues of interest to the general reader. “ML – Memphis Law” will be published twice a year. Executive editor is Ryan Jones, director of communications for the law school. The first issue features an article about former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, a Memphian by birth; a profile of U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton; and a review of recent legislative changes that have helped usher in a new renaissance of microbreweries and beer in the mid-south.

Court Revives 'Raging Bull' Lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a copyright lawsuit over the 1980 movie "Raging Bull" can go forward, a decision that could open Hollywood studios to more claims from people seeking a share of profits from classic films, TV shows and other creative works, the Associated Press reports. In a 6-3 decision, the justices found that Paula Petrella, daughter of the late screenwriter Frank Petrella, did not wait too long to file her lawsuit against Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The studio had argued that Petrella' decision to wait 18 years to file a lawsuit was an unreasonable delay. The Memphis Daily News has the story.

GOP Sessions Candidate Withdraws

Davidson County attorney Rick Dumas said over the weekend that he will not campaign for a General Sessions Court judgeship, though his name will appear on the August ballot as the Republican nominee. Dumas, who was unopposed in last week’s GOP primary, said he will support Judge Rachel Bell, the Democratic nominee who won her party’s primary by a 13,000-vote margin, and urged others to do the same. Writing to supporters, Dumas said, “After much hard thought and deliberation and discussions…I have decided not to run for General Sessions judge. There are a number of reasons, but primarily, the main reason is, is that my heart simply isn't in it.”

Cracker Barrel Lawyer Dies at 80

James Haggard Kinnard of Lebanon died unexpectedly May 15. He was 80 years old. A native of Sparta, Kinnard served in the U.S. Army after high school. Following discharge, he earned a law degree from the Nashville School of Law and began practicing in 1966. Among his professional achievements, Kinnard was the organizing attorney for Cracker Barrel, where he copyrighted the menu and registered the building design. He also recently was honored by the Wilson County Bar Association with a lifetime achievement award. Funeral services were held yesterday, The Tennessean reports. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the William R. Pease Jr. Memorial Scholarship at Tennessee Technological University, School of Agriculture, 1 William L. Jones Dr., Cookeville 38505; or the Castle Heights National Alumni Association, c/o Rob Hoosier, 1045 Woodmont Dr., Gallatin 37066.

Lawyers to Bowl for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee is hosting its annual “Lawyers for Littles” bowling tournament to raise money for the organization. The event will take place June 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Nashville’s Hillwood Strike & Spare. Lawyers, law firms, legal organizations and legal vendors are invited to form five-person teams to compete for the best score, team name, costumes or bowling shirts and most money raised. If you or your firm would like to form a team or play on a team with other lawyers, contact Tom Shumate with Kay Griffin Enkema & Colbert at (615) 742-4800. Download a flyer or register online under the "Lawyers for Littles" group to participate.

Fastcase: Free Premium-Level Legal Research

Have you been using your unlimited access to online legal research through Fastcase? It comes free with your TBA membership. Court opinions are available from all 50 states, the U.S. Supreme Court, all federal district and appellate courts, and the U.S. bankruptcy courts. Framed statutes, regulations, court rules and constitutions from all 50 states also are free. Log in through your account and start saving money on your online legal research.


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