News

Rogersville Race to Benefit CASA for Kids

The 6th annual CASA Road Race to benefit CASA for Kids will be June 23 at Crockett Spring Park in Rogersville. CASA for Kids advocates for abused and neglected children in Hawkins County. The running events will include an 8K, Kids’ Mile and Open Mile. The event is part of the 2012 Skelton Law Racing Series, directed by Rogersville attorney Mark A. Skelton. Download the race application

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9th Circuit Won't Hear Prop 8, Backers Look to Supreme Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday denied Prop 8 backers' request for a rehearing before a larger en banc panel of the court. The next option for supporters of the ban on same sex marriage is the high court, which they've vowed to pursue. The order denying rehearing leaves in place the court's February ruling striking down the ban on equal protection grounds. However, some observers think a  challenge on the Defense of Marriage Act would be a more likely candidate for high court review since it's a challenge to a federal statute, not a state voter initiative, and since plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case are asking for a far more sweeping ruling — one declaring marriage a fundamental right. Read more about it on Law.com

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Defense of Marriage Act Struck Down

A battle over a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman appears headed for the Supreme Court after an appeals court ruled today that denying benefits to married gay couples is unconstitutional. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel of the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the 1996 law deprives gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples. But the court did not rule on the law's requirement that states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it's legal. It also did not address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry. WRCB-TV has this story from the Associated Press.

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Court Grants Review of 4 Criminal, 1 Civil Case

Five new cases were granted review by the Tennessee Supreme Court last week. This includes four criminal cases addressing constructive possession of drugs, pretrial diversion, the failure of trial court to inform jury of judgments of acquittal, and suppression of statements. The civil case concerns invalidation of a marriage for want of sufficient mental capacity. The Raybin-Perky Hot List details the cases and offers predictions of how the Supreme Court may act.

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Jackson YLD Hosts Wine Tasting for CASA Tomorrow

The Jackson-Madison County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will host "Pour Your Heart Out for CASA" tomorrow, May 24, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Charlie Bulldog's in downtown Jackson to benefit Madison County CASA. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Admission includes appetizers and various types of wine to sample. Contact YLD President Terica Smith at (731) 426-1337 or terica@wtls.org for more information or to buy tickets.

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Rep. Hawk's Assault Case Continued

Greene County General Sessions court moved back a scheduled appearance by Rep. David Hawk to July 16 in a domestic assault case filed by his wife. The Greeneville Republican lawmaker had been scheduled to appear today. The five-term representative pleaded not guilty a day after the charge was filed March 18. The News Sentinel has more

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Court: No Benefits for Babies Conceived After Father's Death

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that a man's children who were conceived through artificial insemination after his death cannot get Social Security survivor benefits. Justices unanimously ruled that twins born to Robert Capato's surviving wife Karen did not qualify for survivor benefits because of a requirement that the federal government use state inheritance laws. Capato died a Florida resident, and Florida law expressly bars children conceived posthumously from inheritance, unless they are named in a will. NPR has this analysis

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Woman Who Returned Boy to Russia to Pay Damages, Child Support

A former Shelbyville woman, Torry Hansen, who sent her adopted son back to Russia two years ago was ordered Thursday to make monthly child support payments and pay damages in the case. Hansen was ordered by Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell to pay damages of $150,206 for breach of contract, legal fees and back child support for the boy, plus an additional $1,000 per month of child support starting June 1 until he turns 18. He is 10. When he was 8, Hansen sent the boy back to Moscow alone on a plane with a letter saying he was violent, had psychological problems and that she didn't want him anymore. The Shelbyville Times-Gazette has more

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Calling to Family Law Takes 'Unique Constitution'

Memphis lawyer Leigh-Taylor White practices family law and credits her "unique constitution" to be able to handle all the emotion of the stories she hears. “It’s some of the most personal things you can go through, and what you don’t need is someone that’s going to cater to every whim and get riled up with you," she says of her ability and love of her job. "You need someone who’s going to advise you calmly.”  Read more about her in the Memphis Daily News

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Deadline for Child Support Form is June 1

The deadline for using the federal Income Withholding for Support form is June 1, the Office of Child Support Enforcement of the Administration for Children and Families reminds those who practice family law. All entities issuing child support income withholding orders must use this form. After this date, employers may begin returning non-compliant income withholding orders. Download more information from U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesread more »

New Family Law Firm Formed in Brentwood

Donna L. Green and Emily Moore Leininger have joined forces to form Green & Leininger PC, a family law firm serving clients in Williamson, Davidson and surrounding counties. Green began her legal career at Neal & Harwell in Nashville after graduating from Vanderbilt Law School in 1998. Leininger graduated from Nashville School of Law in 2006. She previously worked at Hale & Hale in Franklin. Learn more about the new firm

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Law Calls for Tougher Sentences for Repeat Abusers

The Partnership for Families, Children and Adults in Chattanooga has spent years working to help domestic violence victims navigate the often-confusing world of General Sessions and Circuit courts. Now a tougher sentencing measure for domestic violence, meant to deter abusers and protect these victims, is awaiting Gov. Bill Haslam's signature. The new sentencing law will, for the first time in Tennessee, require that a repeat domestic assault offender serve mandatory jail time. As many as 2,500 abusers statewide could face mandatory jail time in the first year alone, according to estimates. reported in  The Times Free Press.

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Adoption of Special-Needs Girl a Happy Occasion

Shelby County Chancellor Arnold Goldin's job has some perks, like presiding over the adoption of 7-year-old Keona Vaughn, as he did Monday with assistance from lawyer Kevin Weaver. Keona was shaken when she was 3 months old and was left severely developmentally delayed, but Debbie and Mark Vaughn say the blessings are all theirs. Read more in the Commercial Appeal

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New Alimony Bench Book Available

News from the Family Law Section
The 10th Edition of the Alimony Bench Book is now available from the TBA's Family Law Section. The new version, edited by the section's Alimony Committee, includes published and unpublished cases from August 2003 to December 2011. It is available for purchase in a loose-leaf format for $40 or in a three-ring binder for $50. You can  order the book from the TBA's online bookstore or by contacting the TBA at (615) 383-7421.

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Two CASA Fundraisers on Tap for Nashville Area

Two Nashville-area CASA agencies have fundraisers scheduled in the next few weeks. On April 21, CASA of Nashville will host its 13th annual Red Shoe Party at the Pinnacle at Symphony Place. This year's event begins at 7 p.m. and features a silent auction, live music and food from Margaritaville. Tickets are available online www.casa-nashville.org or by calling (615) 425-2383. Then on May 1, Williamson County CASA will hold a benefit concert featuring Wynonna Judd at the Franklin Theatre. A silent auction will begin at 6 p.m. The concert will follow at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at FranklinTheatre.com. Read more about the event in The Tennessean

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AOC Accepting Applications for 2 Grant Programs

The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) is seeking applications for two grant programs it administers. The first, the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP), was created by the state legislature in 1993 to provide alternatives to the courts for the resolution of felony, misdemeanor and juvenile delinquent disputes, and encourage community participation in such programs. The second, the Parent Education and Mediation Fund, was created as part of Tennessee's parenting plan law to provide court-ordered mediation, parenting education programs and other related services to families facing child custody matters. Organizations seeking to provide services under these programs should apply by April 23. Notification of grant awards will be sent in late May.

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Adoptive Mother Must Pay Child Support

Torry Hansen has lost the child support lawsuit filed against her after refusing to appear in person. Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell granted a motion for default judgment against the former Shelbyville resident, who had been ordered to appear in court on Wednesday morning. In April 2010, Hansen sent her adopted Russian son back to Moscow alone on a plane with a letter saying he was violent, had psychological problems and that she didn't want him anymore. Since that time, she has refused to cooperate with investigators. Read more in the Shelbyville Times Gazette

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Bills Moving as Session End Gets Closer

With some House subcommittees announcing they will be shutting down in the next couple of weeks, the General Assembly seems to be preparing to take more definitive action on pending legislation. The TBA-prepared bill to update Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code – making changes that track the 2010 Uniform Law Commission recommendations dealing with secured transactions -- was recommended for passage by the Senate Commerce Committee, and the House Commerce Committee’s General Subcommittee this week. The bill, SB 2931 by Sen. Doug Overbey (R-Maryville ), HB 3150 by Rep. Jon Lundberg (R- Kingsport), would be effective July 1, 2013, allowing the Secretary of State to prepare for the changes. The effective date would also coincide with that in the many other states adopting the changes.

Discussions also continued with state officials regarding SB 2200/HB 2338, which would alter the law regarding termination of parental rights, and more than a dozen proposals to affect tort law are set for committee and subcommittee calendars next week. The TBA is active in trying to defeat or limit the harmful impact of many of these proposals.

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Dad Can’t Sue Mediator/Judge in International Custody Case

A Tennessee father locked in an international custody battle with his ex-wife in Japan cannot sue a mediator-turned-state judge who presided over the dispute, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today. The court ruled that Dr. Christopher Savoie's lawsuit didn't state a valid claim against 21st District Judge James G. Martin III and the law firm of Stites & Harbison. News Channel 5 reports.

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Supreme Court Grants Review to Six Cases

Five cases granted review by the Tennessee Supreme Court this week involve criminal issues, including two Fourth Amendment cases, a statute of limitations question, a technical application of certified questions, and a case involving improper juror communication. One civil case involves termination of parental rights. The Raybin-Perky Hot List reviews them.

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Adoptive Mother of Returned Russian Fires Her Lawyer

The attorney for a former Shelbyville resident who abandoned her adopted son from Russia has asked to withdraw from representing her in an ongoing lawsuit. Last week, Sandra L.M. Smith filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for Torry Hansen, saying that the woman terminated her legal services on Feb. 8. A hearing has been set for Thursday in Shelbyville to hear the motion. The Shelbyville Times-Gazette has the story.

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