Supreme Court to Recognize Pro Bono Work

The Tennessee Supreme Court has launched a new program to honor pro bono service by individual attorneys, law firms and law students, while encouraging greater pro bono participation statewide. Under the program, any attorney who provided 50 or more hours of pro bono service in 2013 will be named an “Attorney for Justice” by the court, while a law student who completes 50 or more hours of pro bono work during their law school career will be recognized as a “Law Student for Justice.” Law firms that averaged 50 or more hours of pro bono service per attorney in 2013 also may apply for recognition. Those who qualify will be recognized at events across the state in October, will be included in an Honor Roll published on the court’s website and will be given a seal that may be used on marketing materials. For additional information contact Anne-Louise Wirthlin, (615) 741-2687.

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


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


William E. Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tavares D. Braden.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rachel Sobrero, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Following a jury trial, petitioner, Tavares D. Braden, was convicted of the sale of less than 0.5 grams of cocaine, possession with intent to sell 0.5 grams or more of cocaine, promoting prostitution, possession of marijuana, and evading arrest, for which he received an effective eighteen-year sentence. Following an unsuccessful direct appeal, he filed a petition for postconviction relief claiming two instances of ineffective assistance of counsel: (1) failure to advise him of his potential sentence exposure and (2) failure to adequately prepare for trial and prepare a defense. After an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Charles Calhoun, Pro Se, Only, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith Devault, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General; Dan Hamm, Assistant District Attorney General, for the respondent, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Charles Deon Calhoun, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery. He then filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition for failing to state a colorable claim for relief. Petitioner appealed, arguing that the court erred in dismissing his petition without holding an evidentiary hearing and without appointing counsel to assist in presenting his claim. Upon review of the record, we affirm the decision of the post-conviction court dismissing the petition.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David Frazier, Memphis, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Robert Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and M. Drew Robinson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, David Frazier, appeals as of right from the Polk County Criminal Court’s summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. See Tenn. R. Crim. P. 36.1. The Defendant contends that the trial court erred by dismissing his motion without a hearing. The State concedes that the trial court erred. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a hearing on the Defendant’s motion.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


David M. Rich, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jacqueline M. Hiyama.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Senior Counsel; Kim R. Helper, District Attorney General; and Carlin Hess, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Jacqueline M. Hiyama, was indicted on alternative counts of driving under the influence (DUI) pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-401(a)(1) and (a)(2). She filed a pretrial motion to suppress all evidence obtained as a result of her arrest, asserting that the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop her vehicle. The trial court denied the appellant’s motion. The appellant pled guilty to the indicted offense reserving a certified question of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2) concerning whether the stop of the appellant’s vehicle by law enforcement was lawful. After review, we conclude that the trial court did not err in denying the appellant’s motion to suppress and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shots Fired at Murfreesboro Judge’s Home

Murfreesboro Police are on high alert after someone shot at the home of Senior Judge Don Ash, News Channel 5 reports. The shooter put nine holes into a bedroom window and two holes in the garage using a high-powered pellet gun. Fortunately Ash, who previously served as a criminal court judge in Rutherford County, and his family were not home at the time. No one was hurt. Police believe the house was deliberately targeted as no other homes in the neighborhood were attacked. Judge Ash told the paper he would not be intimidated and the incident would not affect his performance as a judge.

New Anti-Trafficking Effort Focuses on Visitors’ Centers

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Department of Transportation rolled out a new campaign this week to compliment existing efforts to combat human trafficking in the state, the Tennessean reports. The new effort will focus on working with the state Department of Tourism to reach out to interstate travelers who might notice any suspicious activity. The campaign will feature posters of women in visitors centers across the state with captions such as, “You see a girl who can do anything. He sees a girl he can force to do anything.” In announcing the effort, the Tennessee Department of Tourism noted the posters would be seen by some 12 million visitors who pass through the welcome centers each year.

Morgan named TJC Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

Brad Morgan, the coordinator of access to justice and mentoring programs for the University of Tennessee College of Law, has been named the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Morgan was honored at a reception hosted by the group at the TBA Convention in Gatlinburg last week. While at the convention, Morgan also spoke to law students participating in the TBA’s Diversity Leadership Institute on the importance of making pro bono a priority in their careers.

First Inmates Set to Die Since Botched Oklahoma Execution

Convicted killers in three states are facing executions within a 24-hour period beginning tonight, in what could be the first lethal injections in the nation since a botched execution in Oklahoma seven weeks ago. The states planning executions -- Florida, Georgia and Missouri -- refuse to say where they get their drugs, or if they are tested, according to the Associated Press. Lawyers for two of the men have challenged the process used to obtain the drugs. Nine executions have been stayed or postponed since the Oklahoma incident. WATE has the AP story.

Obama to Sign Order Extending LGBT Protections

President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, a White House official said Monday. There is currently no federal law that explicitly bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and while Obama does not have the authority to include all Americans, he can take unilateral action that impacts federal contractors, the Associated Press reports. The Memphis Daily News has the story.

6th Circuit Reverses Libel Verdict Against Website

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a $338,000 libel verdict awarded to a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader saying that while the allegations made against her on a gossip website were defamatory, the company that operates the site is not liable because third parties posted the content. The lower court had sided with Sarah Jones saying the company was not entitled to protection because it played a significant role in developing the material. The ABA Journal has more on the decision.

Opinion: Justice System Loses When Politicians Target Judges writer Dahlia Lithwick looks at recent efforts to unseat Supreme Court justices in Iowa and Tennessee. Her conclusion? “Knocking off a state supreme court justice is one of the cheapest political endeavors going...But when politicians target elected judges and justices with political claims using political tactics (big money and inaccurate accusations), judges are forced to either respond like politicians or judges. Opting to do the former destroys the notion of impartial justice. Opting for the latter ends judicial careers.” And while she praises the TBA for responding to unjust criticisms against the justices, she notes that when “judicial races turn into spending races, what suffers most is not Democrats or Republicans, but judicial independence and integrity."

Ballot Challenge to Missouri Plan Fails; Colorado Still in Play

Efforts to end Missouri's merit selection of judges through a voter initiative apparently fell short, Gavel to Gavel reports. The Missouri Secretary of State announced yesterday the ballot initiatives that had garnered enough signatures to be considered in 2014, but missing from the list were several that would have ended merit selection of judges. In Colorado, meanwhile, two initiatives are pending as supporters have until Aug. 4 to obtain the required signatures. One proposed constitutional amendment would increase the vote required for retention (from a majority to two-thirds) while the other would disband the Commission on Judicial Discipline and transfer discipline of judges to the state’s Independent Ethics Commission.

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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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