Application Process Open for Circuit Court Vacancy

The Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments is accepting applications for a vacancy on the 21st Judicial District Circuit Court, created by the appointment of Judge Timothy Easter to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Those interested in being considered for the seat must apply to the AOC by Sept. 16. The commission will interview qualified applicants in Franklin on Sept. 30. Learn more on the AOC website.

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
05 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - 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 Appeals

CORRECTION: In the footnote on the first page, "sitting by interchange" has been changed to "sitting by designation"

Court: TN Court of Appeals


David L. Leonard, Greeneville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeremiah David Hawk.

K. Kidwell King, Jr. and Jerry W. Laughlin, Greenville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Erika Leigh Hawk (Ricker).

Matthew W. Sexton, Morristown, Tennessee, guardian ad litem for the minor.


This post-divorce appeal concerns a parenting plan that provided for equal time between the Parents, who subsequently filed competing petitions to modify, claiming that a material change in circumstances necessitated a change in the parenting plan. The trial court found that a change in circumstances had not yet occurred but awarded Mother approximately 12.5 days of additional parenting time after deciding that the Child should attend school in Mother’s county. Father appeals. We affirm the trial court’s decision.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Matthew William McLaughlin and Tara Michelle McLaughlin, Chapel Hill, Tennessee, pro se.

William L. Moore, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Re/Max-Carriage House Property Management Division, LLC.


Lessor sued lessees for failure to pay rent and received a default judgment in general sessions court. Lessee appealed to circuit court and filed a counterclaim for failure to maintain the premises and make repairs. The trial court found for lessor. Lessees appealed. Due to the lack of a transcript or a proper statement of the evidence, we must affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Donald Capparella and Elizabeth Sitgreaves, Nashville, Tennessee, for Defendant/Appellant Thomas Joseph Salvucci.

Mary Jo Middlebrooks, Jackson, Tennessee, for Plaintiff/Appellee Rhonda Joan Correnti Salvucci.

Judge: KIRBY

This divorce appeal challenges both the original award of alimony and a subsequent increase. The trial court awarded the wife alimony in futuro. The husband filed a timely Rule 59.04 motion to alter or amend the divorce decree. Months after entry of the divorce decree, but prior to the entry of an order on the husband’s motion to alter or amend, the wife filed a motion to increase the alimony awarded in the divorce decree to account for the wife’s tax liability from the alimony. The trial court granted the wife’s motion and increased the alimony. The husband now appeals, challenging the amount and nature of the original alimony award as well as the subsequent increase in the amount of the alimony. We find no error in the award of alimony in futuro in the divorce decree, but hold that the trial court erred in granting the wife’s motion to increase the alimony.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


Candace Watson, Jackson, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Lewis L. Cobb and Richard Lowell Finney III, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Jackson.


Plaintiff in a premises liability action appeals from the trial court’s finding that she was more than fifty percent at fault for her injury. Discerning no error, we affirm.


Court: TN Court of Appeals


J. Michael Ivey, Parsons, Tennessee, for the appellant, Decatur County, Tennessee.

Howard F. Douglass, Lexington, Tennessee, for the appellee, Barry Wood.


Applicant filed a petition for writ of certiorari against Decatur County challenging the denial of his beer permit application. The trial court reversed the decision of the local beer board on the basis that the sale of beer was allowed due to Decatur County’s status as a Tennessee River resort district. Because we conclude that Decatur County’s ordinance restricting the sale of beer within two thousand feet of a church remains in effect despite Decatur County’s status as a Tennessee River resort district, we reverse the decision of the trial court. Reversed and remanded.

TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


Patrick E. Stegall, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Ann Schiller, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Anthony Brown, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court’s denial of postconviction relief from his convictions for possession with intent to deliver cocaine and possession of marijuana and resulting twenty-year sentence. He contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial, specifically, that trial counsel failed (1) to crossexamine the State’s witnesses regarding trial testimony that was inconsistent with that given at the preliminary hearing and (2) to question witnesses about drug paraphernalia found at the scene, in keeping with his defense strategy. After considering the record and the relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals


R. Wylie Richardson, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Annette Tran Hamby.

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


The Petitioner, Annette Tran Hamby, appeals the Bradley County Criminal Court’s denial of her petition for post-conviction relief from her 2008 conviction for first degree murder and resulting life sentence. The Petitioner contends that the post-conviction court erred by denying her relief because she received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, she alleges that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request an independent mental evaluation to rebut the evaluation presented by the prosecution at trial. After considering the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

Witnesses Announced for Criminal Justice Hearing

State Sen. Brian Kelsey today released the names of 26 witnesses scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Sept. 15-16 regarding proposed state criminal justice reforms. The witnesses include Attorney General Robert Cooper, Court of Criminal Appeals Judge John Everett Williams, TBI Director Mark Gwyn, Department of Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons, Parole Board Chair Richard Montgomery, and several academics, mayors, district attorneys, public defenders, attorneys and law enforcement officers. See the full list on

Painter Named Cleveland City Attorney

The Cleveland City Council yesterday selected Barrett Painter as the new municipal judge, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. Painter, an attorney with the firm of Chancey, Kanavos, Love & Painter, was selected over Andrew Morgan, an associate at Richard Banks & Associates and a member of the Cleveland City Council. Painter’s selection continues a family tradition. His father, Harlan Painter, served as Cleveland city attorney for over 40 years. Painter will be sworn in Sept. 8 at the Museum Center at Five Points. He will replace interim city judge George McCoin, who has been serving since the death of Judge Bill Moss.

Apperson Crump Acquires Family Law Firm

Memphis’ oldest law firm, Apperson Crump, is expanding its family law practice with the acquisition of the Putnam Firm PLC, the Memphis Business Journal reports. The move adds attorneys Rachael Putnam and Austin Rainey, counsel Cynthia Pensoneau and several staff members to the firm. Putnam joins as a partner. In announcing the news, Apperson Crump Managing Partner Richard Myers said, “These additions substantially augment our existing family law practice."

New DA Hopes to Rebuild Office, Regain Public Trust

After more than two years of turmoil and investigations into the 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the new man in the job says a top priority will be rebuilding the office and regaining public trust. In an interview with the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Steve Crump said he will take a hands-on approach to resetting how justice is served within the district. His goals include improving intelligence sharing among law enforcement, restructuring caseloads to improve efficiency and expertise, and being more responsive to crime victims and families.

Judge Ross Honored at Retirement Reception

A retirement reception last Friday brought out a standing-room only crowd to honor 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Carroll Ross. McMinn County Mayor John Gentry was on hand to present Ross with a proclamation thanking him for his 18 years of service on the bench. Steve Lawson with the 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force also presented Ross with a plaque, noting that he had been helpful, open and welcoming to law enforcement. Finally, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee spoke about working with Ross early in her career, saying, “He's one of the finest people I know.” The Daily Post Athenian has a full report on the event.

Kyle Seeks AG Opinion on Succession

State Sen. Jim Kyle is asking the Tennessee Attorney General for a legal opinion on how the process will work for putting his Senate seat on the November ballot and how party nominees should be chosen. Kyle is leaving the legislature two years into a four-year term after he was elected this month to the Chancery Court. In seeking the opinion, Kyle cites “the confusion and the ambiguity of the statute” that governs the process. In related news, the Shelby County Democratic Party executive committee had been set to select a nominee for the Senate seat tomorrow but have put off that meeting until more guidance is available. The Memphis Daily News has both stories.

No Challenge in Anderson County Judicial Election

While years of unpaid taxes and past-due child support were viewed by some as an issue that might keep him from serving as judge, no challenge was filed to the election of Roger Miller as Anderson County’s Division II General Sessions Court judge. The deadline to file suit passed last week, Knoxnews reports. Miller, a Republican, defeated longtime Judge Ron Murch, a Democrat, in the Aug. 7 election. Murch said Monday that the short time frame for contesting an election and the “very technical nature of those suits” precluded any challenge, though he said an ouster lawsuit could be filed after Miller takes office. Under that scenario, “there would be more time to thoroughly research” the issues, Murch said.

Shelby County Certifies August Vote

The Shelby County Election Commission certified the August election results yesterday, clearing the way for those who won to be sworn in this week. Judges will take the oath of office on Friday afternoon at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Memphis. The Memphis Daily News has more on the story. In addition, the Commercial Appeal reports that U.S. Department of Justice monitors observing the county’s election did not report any findings of impropriety.

Seersucker Flash Mob Planned for Friday

Memphis lawyers are gathering for the Fourth Annual Seersucker Flash Mob this Friday at noon in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel. The hotel is located at 149 Union Ave., Memphis 38103. Contact Bill Haltom at or (901) 525-8721 for more details.

Austin Peay Hosts Civil Rights Films in September

Austin Peay State University in Clarksville will host four documentaries on the history of civil rights in America during the month of September. The films, which will screen at 7 p.m. on Tuesday nights, are part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ program “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle.” The initiative is designed to encourage discussions of America’s civil rights history. With each film, the university will host a forum and discussion. The films are The Abolitionists, Sept. 9; The Loving Story, Sept. 16; Freedom Riders, Sept. 23; and Slavery by Another Name, Sept. 30. Learn more in Business & Heritage Clarksville.

Services Thursday for Virginia Lawyer

John Buster Hemmings of Lexington, Virginia, died Saturday. He was 88. A native of West Virginia, Hemmings attended the University of Virginia and its law school. He spent most of his career as a partner with the Penn Stuart law firm in Abingdon, where he specialized in wills, trusts and estates. His work took him throughout southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee. A memorial service will be held at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lexington at 2 p.m. on Thursday with a reception to follow. Read more about his life in

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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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