More Than 1,000 Gather to Remember Seigenthaler

The funeral of former Tennessean editor John Seigenthaler was “a mixture of centuries-old Catholic ritual, social justice rally and close family reunion,” the paper reports in its coverage of today’s service, which brought luminaries from political, religious and music worlds to Nashville. More than 1,000 people, including members of the Kennedy family, former Vice President Al Gore and a host of current and former leaders, gathered at the Cathedral of the Incarnation this morning. Father Charles Strobel, founder of a homeless outreach in Nashville, delivered the eulogy. Honorary pall bearers included Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Jim Cooper, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, former Vice President Albert Gore Jr., former Sen. James Sasser, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, George E. Barrett, Lew Conner, Hal Hardin and Judge Gilbert Merritt. Watch the service or see photos on the Tennessean’s website.

Among those weighing in with tributes is Tennessee Chief Justice Gary Wade, who said Seigenthaler was a staunch advocate of civil rights and “perhaps the greatest defender" of the First Amendment since adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Wade also praised Seigenthaler’s commitment to a fair and impartial judiciary.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212 or to Room in the Inn, P.O. Box 25309, Nashville, TN 37202.

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
01 - 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

Tennessee Supreme Court DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TN Supreme Court

TN Court of Appeals


Court: TN Court of Appeals


J. Harvey Cameron, Jasper, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff/Appellant, Charles Smith.

Susanne Lodico and McKinley S. Lundy, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Plaintiffs/Counter-Defendants/Appellees Robert Walker and Susan Elder.

Counter-Defendants/Appellees Clifford Byrne and Carol Byrne, appellees, pro se (no brief filed).

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves private condemnation of an easement. The plaintiffs and the defendant both owned property on an island in the Tennessee River. There was a causeway or land bridge across the river, connecting the island to the mainland. The trial court rejected the defendant’s claim for private condemnation of an easement on the plaintiffs’ property to enable the defendant to access the causeway. It also enjoined the defendant from using the causeway or from entering onto the plaintiffs’ property to get to the causeway. The defendant appeals. We hold that the causeway is accessible by the public and so vacate the injunction. We reverse the trial court’s decision on the defendant’s private condemnation claim and hold that the defendant is entitled to condemnation of an appropriate easement under the facts of this case.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Craig L. Beene, Mountain City, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Tracy L. Alcock, Assistant Attorney General; and Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: PAGE

Petitioner, Craig L. Beene, pleaded guilty to attempted first degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Craig Lamont Beene v. State, No. M2005- 01322-CCA-R3-PC, 2006 WL 680919, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App. Mar. 17, 2006). Pursuant to the plea agreement, petitioner was sentenced to seventeen years in confinement. Id. Subsequently, he filed the instant petition for a writ of error coram nobis, claiming that affidavits and two pictures constitute newly discovered evidence. The coram nobis court denied the petition. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


B. Jeffery Harmon, District Public Defender; and Robert G. Morgan, Assistant Public Defender, Jasper, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cory Meeks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Caitlin Smith, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, Jr., District Attorney General; David McGovern, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Cory Meeks, appeals the trial court’s revocation of his community corrections sentence and the imposition of a sentence of confinement. Following our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


J. Matthew Bolton (at trial and on appeal), Johnson City, Tennessee; and James Beeler and Todd Ross (at suppression hearing), Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christina Lee Jones Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Tony Clark, District Attorney General; and Janet Hardin and Erin McArdle, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Christina Lee Jones Thomas, was convicted by a Washington County jury of especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed concurrent terms of eighteen years at 100% for these convictions. On appeal, the Defendant claims that she had not abandoned her residence as the trial court determined and that, therefore, it was error to deny her motion to suppress the evidence found inside her home obtained without a search warrant. The Defendant also contends that the evidence adduced at trial is insufficient to support her convictions and that the trial court abused its discretion in enhancing the length of her sentences. After reviewing the record, we conclude that trial court did not err in denying the Defendant’s motion to suppress because the Defendant had abandoned the property, that the evidence produced at trial was sufficient to support the Defendant’s convictions, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in setting the length of the Defendant’s sentences. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

Senators File Complaint Against Judge Moreland

Three state senators have filed a complaint with the Board of Judicial Conduct against Davidson County Judge Casey Moreland in the wake of his decision to waive a 12-hour "cooling-off" period and release a man accused of abusing his girlfriend. In the complaint, Sens. Mike Bell, Randy McNally and Brian Kelsey say Moreland's actions promoted “distrust, suspicion and a belief that the 'good ole boy' system pervades the judiciary” and he should be “severely sanctioned.” Moreland told The Tennessean he regrets his actions, but did what he thought was right at the time. “I regret it. I apologize for it, and I will make sure to get more information next time."

Robin Miller Named Hamilton Clerk and Master

Robin L. Miller, an attorney with Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams in Chattanooga has been named clerk and master by Chancellor Jeff Atherton and Chancellor-Elect Pam McNutt Fleenor, the Chattanoogan reports. Miller, who was selected from among 17 applicants for the post, is expected to be sworn in Sept. 9. She will replace Lee Akers, who has held the position for 18 years. A retirement ceremony for Akers and Chancellor Frank Brown will take place Aug. 29 at noon in the courthouse rotunda.

Pilot to Pay $92M, Avoid Prosecution

Pilot Flying J has reached a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid criminal charges against the company, Knoxnews reports. Under the deal made public today, Pilot must pay a $92 million penalty over two years and cooperate with an ongoing criminal investigation into diesel fuel rebate fraud. Federal prosecutors said in a news release that the Criminal Enforcement Agreement “expressly states that it provides no protection from prosecution to any individual” in connection with the case. A criminal investigation against individual employees is ongoing with 10 already pleading guilty to charges.

MALS Moves to New Offices

Effective today, Memphis Area Legal Services has relocated to the Falls Building, 22 N. Front Street, 11th Floor, Memphis 38103. All telephone numbers remain the same. The agency previously was located in the Claridge House Building at 109 N. Main.

Belmont Dean’s Cup Title Goes to Columbia Student

Samantha Simpson of Columbia, a rising 2L at the Belmont University College of Law, recently won the school's Dean’s Cup Tournament. Simpson presented arguments in the finals round before Dean Alberto Gonzales, former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Harold See, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch and Judge Jeffrey Bivins. The presentation earned her a position on a Belmont advocacy competition team and on the Belmont Law Review. Simpson is working in the office of Nashville lawyer John Cobb Rochford this summer. The Columbia Herald has a photo from the event.

Bristol Bar Association Supports Retention of Judges

The members of the Bristol Tennessee Bar Association unanimously adopted a resolution today supporting retention of all judges on the state Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals as well as the three Supreme Court justices who will face voters Aug. 7. The association reported that it took the position based on recommendations from the Tennessee Judicial Evaluation Commission, believing that promotion of a fair and impartial process for electing jurists is necessary to ensure the integrity of the state’s legal system. The group also reports that the five judges present at the meeting did not vote on the resolution in accordance with Canon 4 of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

DesJarlais to Begin Neck Cancer Treatment

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais announced Friday that he has neck cancer and will undergo extensive therapy beginning this week. The Jasper Republican said his doctors have told him there is a 90 percent cure rate, the Tennessean reports. DesJarlais, 50, said he will continue his campaign for a third term. He faces state Sen. Jim Tracy of Shelbyville in a heated primary on Aug. 7.

Service Set for Former Sessions Judge, Administration Official

Retired Loudon County General Sessions Judge William Henry "Bill" Russell, 75, died July 10. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Russell began practicing law in the county but later moved to Nashville to work for Gov. Winfield Dunn, serving as assistant commissioner of conservation and administrative assistant. In 1974, he returned to Loudon County and was elected county judge. While maintaining an active law practice through the 1980s, Russell established Southeastern Title & Abstract Company and worked for a time as an assistant in the Ninth Judicial District Attorney's Office. He was elected to the General Sessions Court in 1998. A memorial service will be held July 22 at 7 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church, 301 Hickory Creek Rd., Lenoir City 37771. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, 105 Westpark Dr., Brentwood, TN 37027. Knoxnews has more on his life.

Investiture Wednesday for Justice Bivins

A formal investiture ceremony to install Judge Jeffrey Bivins as the newest member of the Tennessee Supreme Court will take place Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin. The Administrative Office of the Courts announced on Friday that Gov. Bill Haslam will perform the swearing in. A reception will follow. The theater is located at 419 Main St.

Asian Lawyers Gather in Nashville for SE Conference

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association is meeting today and tomorrow in Nashville for its 2014 Southeast Regional Conference. The Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association (TAPABA) is serving as host. Speakers at the conference include former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Tu M. Pham of Memphis, Rhonda M. Taylor, general counsel of Dollar General Corporation, and Mary S. Flipse, general counsel of Healthways Inc.

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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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