News

Court Gives Memphis Man 2nd Chance in Drug, Deportation Case

A Memphis restaurant owner in jail and facing deportation after pleading guilty to a drug charge 7½ years ago will get another chance in court after the U.S. Supreme Court today vacated his conviction on grounds that he had been given bad legal advice, the Commercial Appeal reports. “He was really thankful that someone finally understood the harm that his lawyer’s advice caused him,” said Nashville attorney Patrick McNally, who is part of the legal team that handled the appeal.

read more »

Notices of Appeal Must Be Filed with Clerk of the Appellate Courts

Beginning July 1, all Notices of Appeal filed with the Court of Appeals, Court of Criminal Appeals or Supreme Court must be filed in the office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts rather than in the office of the Trial Court Clerk. The Rules of Appellate Procedure related to the filing of a Notice of Appeal directed to the Appellate Courts will change July 1. After that date, trial court clerks will no longer accept a Notice of Appeal for filing in their office. The Notice of Appeal must be filed in the office of the Appellate Court Clerk in the grand division of the trial court from which the appeal arises.

read more »

Loving v. Virginia Turns 50

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, turns 50 today, and NPR has collected several audio clips from the dramatic trial. Many of the clips document arguments made by Bernard Cohen and Philip Hirschkop, two young lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union who represented Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and a black and Native American woman whose marriage was considered illegal in Virginia.
read more »

Appellate Practice Section to Meet at TBA Convention

Please make plans to join the TBA Appellate Practice Section for a business meeting that will be held in conjunction with 2017 TBA Convention.  The TBA Appellate Practice Section meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date/Time:

Thursday, June 15, 2017
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern

Location:

MeadowView Marriott
1901 Meadowview Parkway
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 578-6600

Room Location – Bays Mountain Boardroom

A conference call will be available for those unable to join us in person. The following are the instructions for joining the call:

You will dial in on the following number: 1-855-795-9620

You will then be prompted to enter the following conference ID number, followed by the pound (#) sign: 5722409#

Items for discussion include:

  1. Collaboration with other Sections
  2. Ideas for CLE programming and webcasts
  3. What items would you like to see in your inbox?  Getting the most out of your Section Connects
  4. Pro Bono Opportunities
  5. Networking and Mentoring within the Section

There is still time if you would like to register for TBA Convention. You may register by calling the TBA at (615) 383-7421 or register online at:

2017 TBA Convention

You do not have to be registered for Convention to attend this Section meeting.  We hope to see you there!

read more »

Court Holds Block on Second Trump Travel Ban

The Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the block on the Trump administration’s executive order restricting travel from six majority-Muslim countries, CNBC reports. This executive order follows an earlier one that was similarly struck down. The revised order was designed to better hold up to legal scrutiny. The ruling stated that the 4th Circuit panel was “unconvinced” that the order “has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the president’s proposed Muslim ban.”
read more »

Court Holds Block on Second Trump Travel Ban

The Virginia-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the block on the Trump administration’s executive order restricting travel from six majority-Muslim countries, CNBC reports. This executive order follows an earlier one that was similarly struck down. The revised order was designed to better hold up to legal scrutiny. The ruling stated that the 4th Circuit panel was “unconvinced” that the order “has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the president’s proposed Muslim ban.”
read more »

Attorney’s Posts Under Fictitious Name Raise Questions on 6th Circuit Nomination

A nominee for the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and prominent Kentucky attorney admitted to authoring more than 400 blog posts under a pseudonym, the ABA Journal reports. Many posts authored by John K. Bush cover his personal thoughts on topics that are still under or subject to litigation, such as the Affordable Care Act and the public financing of political campaigns. The Alliance for Justice calls the nature of the posts “inflammatory and, often, offensive.”
read more »

SCOTUS Holds Caps on Political Contributions

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a lower court’s decision upholding limits on direct contributions to political parties, the ABA Journal reports. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch voted in dissent, indicating that on campaign finance cases, Gorsuch might lean as conservative as Thomas, who believes that all campaign finance limits should be subject to strict scrutiny.  
read more »

Grundy County Man’s Guilt in Murder Conviction Questioned

In a case that calls into question the value of eyewitness testimony, the Knoxville News Sentinel examines the conviction of Adam Clyde Braseel, who was found guilty of murder and has served 10 years of jail time. In 2015, eight years after his original conviction, a judge ruled that Braseel was entitled to a new jury trial, as “identification alone is all that ties the petitioner to the crime,” but prosecutors appealed the judge’s decision and the state Court of Criminal Appeals sent him back. Braseel’s lawyer is currently planning to file a petition for another hearing.
read more »

TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

read more »

Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

read more »

Trump Names Nominees to Lower Courts

President Donald Trump nominated 10 lawyers to federal courts today, including two which were on his list of potential Supreme Court justices prior to his selection of Justice Neil Gorsuch, USA Today reports. Those two are Joan Larsen, a Michigan Supreme Court justice, who was nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, and David Stras, a Minnesota Supreme Court justice, who was nominated to the 8th Circuit. Three judges were named to other federal appeals courts, four were named to district courts and one to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The nominees were praised by conservative legal activists.
read more »

Gorsuch Forgoes SCOTUS Law Clerk Pool

One month into his service on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch has decided not to join the labor pool in which justices share their law clerks, the New York Times reports. The only other member of the court who is not part of the arrangement is Justice Samuel Alito. The pool is designed to streamline decisions about which cases to hear, but has been criticized for giving too much power to law clerks and for contributing to the court’s shrinking docket.
read more »

Tennessee Supreme Court Affirms Death Sentence for Premeditated Murder Conviction

The Tennessee Supreme Court has affirmed James Hawkins’ premeditated murder conviction and sentence of death for the 2008 murder of Charlene Gaither, Hawkins’s long-term girlfriend and the mother of his children. Proof at trial showed that Hawkins had murdered Gaither because she threatened to expose his sexual abuse of their daughter. The Court of Criminal Appeals upheld his convictions and the jury's death sentence. Upon its automatic review of the case, the Supreme Court ruled that, although Hawkins was illegally seized without a warrant, the admission into evidence of the statement he gave while illegally held was harmless error beyond a reasonable doubt, and any impropriety had not deprived Hawkins of a fair trial. Justice Cornelia Clark wrote the majority opinion, while Justice Sharon Lee authored a concurring opinion.

read more »

Appeals Court Denies AG Request for Rehearing Death Row Case

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has declined to reconsider a decision that found the state had violated the due process rights of a death row inmate, the Commercial Appeal reports. In February, a panel of judges found that in the case of death row inmate Andrew Thomas, who was previously found guilty in the 1997 shooting of armored truck guard James Day, the prosecution failed to disclose to him that a witness had received $750 from the federal government before the trial.
read more »

Sessions ‘Amazed’ that Hawaii Judge Blocked Travel Ban

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he was “amazed” that a judge “sitting on an island in the Pacific” could halt President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order. Sessions' comment drew criticism from Hawaiian elected officials, the Hill reports. A federal judge in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Hawaii put a temporary suspension on Trump’s second travel ban in March. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, pointed out in a statement against Sessions’ comments that the AG voted to confirm the judge in question while he was still representing Alabama in the Senate.
read more »

Nashville Schools See Decisions in 2 Cases

The Metro Nashville School District won one case and lost another before the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the Tennessean reports. Both cases affirmed rulings by Nashville Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle. One upheld the ruling that the judiciary system can’t demand the state to provide the full amount of money for schools in its education funding formula. The court also affirmed a ruling that the right to a public education does not extend to the specifics of that education.
read more »

Tennessee AG Joins States Supporting Trump Travel Ban

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of President Donald Trump’s updated travel ban, the Tennessean reports. That adds Slatery to a list of officials in 15 states who believe the decision from the U.S. District Court in Hawaii should be reversed. That decision halted the president’s second version of the travel ban.
read more »

Tennessee AG Joins States Supporting Trump Travel Ban

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in favor of President Donald Trump’s updated travel ban, the Tennessean reports. That adds Slatery to a list of officials in 15 states who believe the decision from the U.S. District Court in Hawaii should be reversed. That decision halted the president’s second version of the travel ban.
read more »

Newspaper Looks at Changes in Court During Haslam Term

Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed three justices to the Tennessee Supreme Court since 2014, and the Nashville Scene this week looks at what impact those appointments have had on the court and its decisions. Several criminal defense attorneys tell the Scene they are concerned with their perception of change in the ideology of the court, while others praise its recent decisions.

read more »

Federal Judge Strikes Down Voter ID Law

A federal judge ruled today that a voter ID law passed in Texas in 2011 was enacted with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters, the New York Times reports. The judge had previously made a similar ruling, but the state of Texas appealed her decision and a federal appellate court instructed her to review the issue again.
read more »

Gorsuch Sworn In as Supreme Court Justice

Neil Gorsuch was sworn in today as the newest justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, NBC News reports. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who Gorsuch once clerked for, administered the judicial oath. In another ceremony, Gorsuch took an oath administered by Chief Justice John Roberts, with the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s family in attendance. 
read more »

Court Holds Death Not Compensable in Workers' Comp Case

The Tennessee Supreme Court has held that based on the testimony regarding Charles Kilburn’s death, his death is not compensable as a direct and natural consequence of his original compensable injury from a motor vehicle accident. Kilburn died from oxycodone toxicity a little over a year after an on-the-job accident. His surviving spouse sought workers’ compensation death benefits, and the trial court concluded that the death was compensable. The Supreme Court unanimously opined, however, that a subsequent injury is not compensable if it is the result of an independent intervening cause, such as the employee’s own conduct.
read more »

Lewis Elected Fellow at Academy of Appellate Lawyers

Memphis attorney Buck Lewis of Baker Donelson has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. A former TBA President, Lewis is a shareholder and chair of the firm’s Appellate Practice Litigation Group. He is one of just three Tennessee attorneys who have been inducted as a fellow of the AAAL.

read more »

Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Warrantless Entry

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that police officers’ warrantless entry onto a defendant’s property, despite “no trespassing” signs, was constitutionally permissible. In the majority opinion, Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins opined, the Court determined that the defendant “failed to demonstrate that he had a reasonable expectation that ordinary citizens would not occasionally enter his property by walking or driving up his driveway and approaching his front door to talk with him ‘for all the many reasons that people knock on front doors.’” Justice Sharon Lee dissented, concluding police had no right to ignore the signs without a warrant.
read more »