New Resources for Lawyers Ready to Go It on Their Own

The Tennessee Bar Association today launched the Solo in a Box Toolkit, a new resource available to lawyers starting their own practice. With advice on everything from how to choose an office space to managing client files, the Toolkit will be a valuable resource for the growing number of lawyers who have decided to “hang out their own shingle.” An initiative of TBA President Cindy Wyrick, the guide was developed and produced by the TBA’s Mentoring Committee under the guidance of Franklin attorney David Veile.

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
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 Court of Criminal Appeals

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT D. EWING and ANTHONY T. EWING

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Kenneth L. Miller (on appeal) and Joseph Hoffer (at trial), Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert D. Ewing.

Kenneth L. Miller, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony T. Ewing.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Stephen Hatchett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIVINS

Robert D. Ewing (“Defendant Robert”) and Anthony T. Ewing (“Defendant Anthony”) (collectively “the Defendants”) each pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor. The Defendants reserved a certified question of law as to whether information received several months prior to obtaining and executing a search warrant was too stale to support probable cause. Pursuant to plea agreements, the trial court sentenced each of the Defendants to two years, suspended to supervised probation. This Court consolidated the Defendants’ appeals. Upon our thorough review of the record and applicable law, we reject the Defendants’ challenges to the search warrant and affirm the judgments of the trial court.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEFFREY WAYNE ROWE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

William J. Harold, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Jeffrey Wayne Rowe.

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

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Jeffrey Wayne Rowe, pleaded guilty to four counts of aggravated burglary, one count of attempted aggravated burglary, one count of vandalism, and two counts of misdemeanor theft, and the Marshall County Circuit Court sentenced him as a Range I, standard offender to a term of 10 years’ imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant challenges the manner of service of his sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHAWN THOMPSON

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Paul Walwyn (at trial) and James J. Ramsey (on appeal), Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shawn Thompson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michelle L. Consiglio-Young, Assistant Attorney General; L. Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Lytle A. James, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Shawn Thompson, was convicted after a jury trial of three counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter, a Class D felony; one count of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, a Class E felony; and one count of employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, a Class C felony. The trial court ordered the defendant’s attempted voluntary manslaughter convictions to run concurrently with one another, but ordered the reckless endangerment conviction to run consecutively to the first three counts and the weapons conviction to run consecutively to all counts. On appeal, the defendant asserts error in the trial court’s failure to dismiss the weapons charge in light of what he asserts is a material variance; in the trial court’s failure to charge the jury on the issue of self- defense; in the State’s improper argument to the jury; and in the trial court’s allegedly erroneous consideration of non-statutory factors in imposing a consecutive sentence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


CORNELIUS O. WILLIAMS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys:

Chase T. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cornelius O. Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Alcock, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and Robert Nash, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Cornelius O. Williams, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. He alleges that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his guilty plea was unlawfully induced and involuntarily made. After thoroughly reviewing the record, we conclude that the petitioner entered a knowing and voluntary plea of guilty and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


TBA Convention Kicks Off Today

The 133rd Annual Convention of the Tennessee Bar Association begins today in Gatlinburg, with meetings of the House of Delegates, a Section Chairs Roundtable and a Welcome Reception. Tomorrow kicks off with Law School Alumni Breakfasts and many hours of CLE, including a panel with Keel Hunt, Hal Hardin and John Seigenthaler discussing Hunt's book, COUP: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Repubican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal. The annual Bench Bar Luncheon will feature Iowa Chief Justice Mark S. Cady. Follow and comment on happenings at the convention on Twitter using the hashtag #TBAannual.


West is New President of Jackson-Madison Bar

The Jackson Madison County Bar Association elected its officers and board members for the 2014-2015 fiscal year in May. They are Matthew R. West, incoming president; Jennifer Free, vice-president; Aaron Chaplin, treasurer; and Anna Cash, secretary. The JMCBA Board will also include Joe Byrd, Danielle Hardee, Brittani Kendrick, Nathan Shelby and Kathryn Tucker. The association is composed of over 200 attorneys who are licensed to practice law in Tennessee and engage in the practice of law in Madison County.


Williamson YLD Elects Officers

The Young Lawyers Division of the Williamson County Bar Association recently elected the following officers for the 2014-2015 year: Katie Mathews Zipper, president; Cort Bethmann, secretary/treasurer; and Ben Signer and Wes Southerland, members-at-large. For more information about becoming involved with this group, please contact Katie Mathews Zipper.


Reduced Time Urged for Non-Violent Drug Offenders

The Justice Department is urging the U.S. Sentencing Commission to approve a measure that would make potentially thousands of non-violent drug offenders now serving time in federal prison eligible for reduced sentences. Attorney General Eric Holder, who supported the commission's April action to cut prison time for certain future drug offenses, is supporting a proposal set for a vote next month that would apply the changes retroactively for current inmates. WBIR reports.


Oklahoma to Consider Execution Alternatives

An Oklahoma Republican lawmaker said Tuesday he wants to explore giving condemned prisoners the option of death by firing squad, hanging or the electric chair. State Rep. Mike Christian said he's formally requesting a legislative hearing on the state's death penalty procedures, WATE reports from the Associated Press. Five execution methods are currently legal in various places in the United States: injection, electrocution, gas, firing squad and hanging. Tennessee last month became the first state to allow use of the electric chair in some circumstances regardless of the inmate's wishes, if injection drugs are not available.


Youth Experience Jail, Courts During 'Justice Week'

The YMCA's YCAP Program recently held its justice week for middle-school aged-kids from Hamilton, Bradley and Rhea Counties. The program gives kids a chance to tour jails, sit through court trials, and see what it's like to be an offender. The program also toured the Walker State Prison, and on Thursday, deputies from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office will speak to the kids about the importance of not joining gangs. NewsChannel 9 has the story.


Editorial Condemns Judicial Ouster Efforts

In an editorial, the Daily News Journal condemned efforts "to oust three state Supreme Court justices whose primary offense appears to be that former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed them to the high court." The editorial board writes "we agree with the TBA and think the state’s high court should have an appropriate distance from the daily tumult of political considerations. Justices should follow the canon of the law rather than the latest poll numbers." The paper continues, urging voters to "look at these elections and decide what is in the best interest of the state regardless of partisan ramifications."


Dugan Sues to Get Name on Dickson Ballot

Dickson attorney Mitchell B. Dugan filed a lawsuit last week asking a local court to overrule his disqualification as candidate for Dickson Municipal Court judge, the Tennessean reports. The Dickson County Election Commission last month upheld its disqualification of Dugan, saying he failed to meet the one-year city residency requirement to run for office. Nashville attorney Jason D. Holleman, representing Dugan, argued that he is entitled to a writ of mandamus, requiring the local election commission to add his name to the Aug. 7 ballot. The parties are scheduled to appear June 19 in Dickson County Chancery Court.


Senate Hearing Date Set

The Tennessee Senate Government Operations Committee has scheduled a hearing June 24 to examine whether reforms enacted by the General Assembly in 2012 to bolster disciplinary procedures are enhancing “judicial accountability” as intended. Gov-Ops Committee Chairman Mike Bell, R-Riceville, announced his intention to initiate the probe last week. TNReport.com has the story.


'Bacon King' Added to Line-up for Restaurant CLE

If you are hungry for news about the business and law of restaurants, be at the TBA June 27 for this continuing legal education seminar covering business development for restaurants, charitable food donations, tax law and auditing procedures. A new addition to the line-up is "The Bacon King" Allan Benton of Benton’s Country Hams. He will discuss how he started his business, what he does and how he sources his pork supply. The program, "Restaurant CLE: Serving up Success at the Corner of Law and Food," will also feature real estate professionals discussing leasing versus buying space, and others will cover licensing, liquor laws and labor and employment issues. An expert panel of former practicing lawyers who have traded in their law books for the life of restaurant owners will share their experience with you and answer questions. Sessions are packed with farm fresh ideas and food for attendees throughout the day.


Get Innovative Payroll Solutions with CompuPay

CompuPay Inc. offers a variety of payroll service solutions for TBA members, including phone, fax and online payroll. For more information about CompuPay’s offerings and to receive TWO FREE MONTHS of payroll services, please call (615) 791-4000 and mention that you are a TBA member.


Georgia Lawyer Suspended

James A. Meaney III of Dalton, Georgia, was suspended from the practice of law in Tennessee for 11 months and 29 days, with three months to be served as an active suspension and the remainder on probation, subject to several conditions including a practice monitor and compliance with state licensure rules. All four of the complaints of ethical misconduct involve the unauthorized practice of law in Tennessee during periods of time when he was suspended for failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements and failure to pay professional privilege taxes. Learn more from the BPR press release.


 
 

Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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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