News

TALS Seeks Presenters for Equal Justice Conference

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) is seeking presenters to speak at this year’s Equal Justice University set for Sept. 2-4 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro. The conference, cosponsored by the TBA, is the annual gathering for Tennessee’s Access to Justice community. Speakers are sought to provide substantive law courses, ethics and professionalism training, and technology and communications skills. Send proposals by May 15 to TALS’ Policy & Training Director Anne Fox.

read more »

Brooks Gets Probation For Falsifying Election Papers

Former Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks was sentenced yesterday to two years probation, 80 hours of community service and a mental health assessment for falsifying her address on a petition to run for juvenile court clerk. Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan said at the end of the hearing that there was “absolutely no excuse” for listing a false address on election documents. Brooks, who served two terms on the county commission, said she plans to appeal, according to the Commercial Appeal.

read more »

Youth Court Program Identified as 'Promising'

The Tennessee Youth Court Program has been identified as one of five promising programs operating in our state by Vanderbilt University's Center for Safe and Supportive Schools (S3). In a newsletter out this week, S3 highlighted the success of the evidence-based, peer-driven juvenile delinquency prevention and intervention program and premiered a short video it produced on Youth Court programs in Davidson and Hamilton counties.

read more »

New Law Would Let Memphis Open Curfew Centers

The state Senate approved a bill Monday to let Memphis set up juvenile safety centers around the city for minors who violate curfew. The measure could receive approval in the House before the end of the legislative session, according to Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis. Modeled after a program in Baltimore, the bill would give police officers the option to take curfew-violating juveniles to city-operated safety centers where they would receive counseling. Currently, officers can only take them home or to juvenile detention. The Commercial Appeal has the story.

read more »

Austin Peay to Host Juvenile Justice Conference

The 5th Annual Joint Conference on Juvenile Justice will be held Saturday at Austin Peay State University from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Montgomery County Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Task Force, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and the MerryInGOD Foundation will sponsor the conference. The event is free and open to the public. Business Clarksville has more.

read more »

Verizon to Match Donation to Knoxville Family Justice Center

Verizon Wireless has announced it will match all donations up to $10,000 made to the Knoxville Family Justice Center during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month, WATE reports. The center supports victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Knox County and surrounding areas, and is one of only 15 nationwide created by a presidential initiative to help those affected by domestic violence. Donate to the Knoxville Family Justice Center.

read more »

Youth Discuss Juvenile Justice Reform

A group of about 40 young people ranging from 13 to 18 gathered to discuss issues surrounding juvenile justice reform last week at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis as part of the People’s Conference on Juvenile Justice. The students also took part in workshops, including a "Know Your Rights" seminar that taught them rights they are guaranteed despite being below the voting age. The Memphis Flyer has more.

read more »

April Journal Has Insider's View to High Court

This month the Journal takes an inside look at the Tennessee Supreme Court, by former staff attorney Marshall L. Davidson III. Davidson, now presiding judge at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, writes about "unexpected discoveries about the justices, lawyers who appear before them, and pitfalls to avoid in navigating our state’s appellate judiciary." Also, read about the good work through restorative justice that Tennessee Youth Courts are doing, as well as who the TBA Young Lawyers' Division CASA Volunteer of the Year is. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; learn more about related CASA events and resources. It's no April Fool -- you can read the April issue here.

read more »

Nashville to Build Family Justice Center

The city of Nashville will build a Family Justice Center at the former Capitol Chevrolet dealership on Murfreesboro Road near Foster Avenue, WKRN reports. The center would house resources for both victims of domestic abuse and child abuse in one place. The domestic violence unit, youth services and the Nashville Children’s Alliance — currently located in different parts of the city — would likely all have space in the new center.

read more »

Pay Raise for Court Appointed Work Set for Committee

The TBA bill calling for an increase in pay for court appointed attorney will go before the House Civil Justice Subcommittee next week. Sponsored by Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, HB1025 would raise compensation to a minimum of $100 per hour. The companion bill in the Senate, SB1009, is sponsored by Sen. Lee Harris, D-Memphis. It has been referred to the Judiciary Committee and is expected to be considered in the coming weeks. Court appointed attorneys have been working at the same rate since 1994 and have the lowest compensation rate in the nation. Use TBAImpact or contact subcommittee members directly to express your views.

read more »

Retirement Celebration Set For CASA Director

Join CASA Nashville volunteers and staff on March 27 to celebrate Executive Director Jane Andrews’ retirement. Andrews has served CASA for nearly a decade, doubling the size of contributions and increasing reach to serve the more than 2,000 children in need in Davidson County. The event is at 601 Woodlands St. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

read more »

Juvenile Court Seeks Beds to Keep Kids Out of Detention

The Shelby County Juvenile Court is seeking money for more beds at Porter-Leath, a nonprofit organization that accommodates kids who can't go home but shouldn’t be detained. The bed shortage often finds kids locked in detention with some of the county’s worst juvenile offenders. In its fiscal 2015 budget request to the County Commission, court CAO and chief counsel Larry Scroggs said the court needs an additional $140,000 for alternative beds. The Commercial Appeal has more.

read more »

Austin Peay Juvenile Justice Conference to Feature Gonzales

The 5th Annual Joint Conference on Juvenile Justice will feature Alberto Gonzales, former U.S. Attorney General and current Dean of Belmont University’s School of Law. The Montgomery County Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Task Force in partnership with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and the MerryInGOD Foundation will sponsor the conference, which will be held April 11 at the Morgan University Center on the campus of Austin Peay State University from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. The Leaf Chronicle has more.

read more »

YLD Produces New GAL Webcast

Thanks to the efforts of the YLD’s Children’s Issues and CLE committees, lawyers interested in learning more about serving as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) can tune in to a TBA webcast on March 4 at noon Central.
The one-hour session “Guardian ad Litem: Managing Your Child-Client, Third Parties and Opposing Counsel” will look at the responsibilities of a GAL, offer best practices for developing a relationship with the child-client and cover tips for managing parents’ counsel and third parties such as the Department of Child Services (DCS), Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and psychologists. Finally, the course will review the differences in rules governing GALs in juvenile and circuit cases. Register online to watch the webcast live.
read more »

CAC Fundraiser to Feature Detroit Prosecutor

A conference and fundraiser for the Third Judicial District Child Advocacy Center (CAC) will be held Friday. “From Hope to Healing” will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Crescent Office Building, at 615 W. Main St. in Mosheim. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy of Detroit will give the keynote address at 9 a.m. A survivor of child sexual abuse, Mulcahy will speak about his experience as both a victim and prosecutor of child exploitation cases. A panel discussion will follow Mulcahy’s remarks. For more information call (423) 422-4446 or email cacmosheim@etncac.org. The Greeneville Sun reports on the event.

read more »

Juvenile Detention Rates Drop in Memphis

Admissions to the Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court's detention center have decreased more than 65 percent since 2012. According to the Memphis Flyer, the drop is solely attributed to the area's implementation of the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI). The goal of the program is to reduce the number of juveniles detained for misdemeanor offenses, like domestic assaults, and place emphasis on felonies. In addition to reducing detainment, JDAI also seeks to reduce racial and ethnic disparities affecting African Americans in the juvenile justice system.

read more »

Concubines and Dead Partners? TBJ Has Them This Month

The Standard of Clear and Convincing Evidence has never been so interesting, as when Judge Tom Wright and Ben Welch write about it, using concubines and dead partners as examples, in the February Tennessee Bar Journal. Also in this issue, Monica J. Franklin explains the ABLE Account, an alternative to special needs trusts, and Edward G. Phillips and Brandon L. Morrow delve into wage and hour issues in the high court. Bill Haltom has in mind a perfect Valentine's gift for the lawyer on your list.

read more »

CSI Actor Speaks on Youth and Justice Issues

Film, television and stage actor Hill Harper will speak on “Youth and Justice” at East Tennessee State University this Thursday, WJHL reports. His free public lecture will begin at 7 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center’s Martha Street Culp Auditorium. Perhaps best known as coroner Dr. Sheldon Hawkes in “CSI: NY," Harper now stars in the USA Network spy drama “Covert Affairs.” Off the screen, he has founded the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering underserved youth through mentorship, scholarship and grant programs. He holds a law degree from Harvard as well as a master’s degree from the university’s Kennedy School of Government.

read more »

Children’s Advocacy Center and Family Justice Center Joining Forces

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Hamilton County has formalized a partnership with Chattanooga’s Family Justice Center, News Channel 9 reports. In a letter of intent submitted to the city, the advocacy center says it will “co-locate and lease approximately 10,000 square feet at the Family Justice Center facility.” “We are incredibly excited to have a leading organization such as the Children’s Advocacy Center partner on this important initiative,” said Mayor Andy Berke. “Their commitment and willingness to collaborate will produce maximum impact in the community’s effort to address family violence.”

read more »

Should Vaccination Be a Choice?

The question of whether parents should be forced to vaccinate their children spilled into the 2016 presidential race this week as potential Republican contenders Kentucky Sen. Ran Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended and clarified comments they made expressing support for voluntary immunizations. A review of state laws, however, shows that parents already have a fair amount of freedom in deciding whether to vaccinate their children. Every state requires school-aged children to receive certain vaccines, but many states also carve out exemptions — some broader than others — that give parents the choice to opt-out. The Wall Street Journal law blog has more.

read more »

Nonprofit's Role Unclear with New Chattanooga Family Justice Center

With the opening of the new Chattanooga Family Justice Center later this year, the role of the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults is no longer clear, WDEF reports. Established 137 years ago, the Partnership is a non-profit group that deals with family violence, elder abuse and human trafficking. It already offers most of the same crisis one-stop services at its downtown location that the new Family Justice Center will offer. The city's goal with the new facility is to also offer those in crisis one-stop service, but the question arises: what role will Partnership will play?

read more »

Shelby Juvenile Court to Report on Progress

The Juvenile Court of Memphis & Shelby County will hold a public forum Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. to update residents on its progress in meeting the goals of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Memorandum of Agreement, which is designed to address issues such as the disparate treatment of black youths, the high number of youth transferred to adult court, and due process rights violations. The meeting will take place at the Memphis Public Library on Poplar Ave.

read more »

Overspending on Juvenile Court Leads to State Audit for Greene County

The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury discovered that Greene County’s expenditures exceeded its appropriations in various funds, including juvenile services. The county anticipated spending around $112,000 but instead spent $170,000. General Sessions Court Judge Kenneth Bailey Jr. said the fund went over in fiscal year 2013- 2014 because of extreme cases and housing more juveniles at the Johnson City Juvenile Detention Center for $189 per day. The Greeneville Sun has more.

read more »

Antioch High Launches Youth Court

Davidson County Juvenile Judge Sheila Jones Calloway today swore in 30 Antioch High School students who will run the school’s new youth court. The move marked the end of a yearlong effort to launch a youth court at the school. There are now four youth courts in the county, including Cane Ridge, Whites Creek and McGavock high schools. The courts are supported by the Tennessee Bar Association, Metropolitan Nashville Juvenile Courts, Metro-Student Attendance Center and the MNPS Student Services Division. Read more about the Antioch program.

read more »

New Years Polar Bear Plunge and 5K to Benefit Children’s Advocacy Center

The Children's Advocacy Center of the First Judicial District will host the Polar Bear Plunge and 5K on New Year’s Day, WJHL reports. You can start your New Year's resolution with an icy cold dip in the pool at the Wellness Center in Johnson City. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m. All proceeds benefits the center.

read more »