TBA opens diversity dialogue, civil rIghts attorney Fred Gray, Mayor AC Wharton, speak at summit

About 100 leaders in the Tennessee legal community came together Saturday at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis to jump start a statewide discussion on diversity in the legal profession and explore concrete ways of taking on the issue. Nationally known civil rights attorney Fred Gray was keynote speaker. Following his address, a panel discussion led by TBA President Bill Haltom broke down the issue, then attendees met in groups to come up with ideas and action items that could lead to a more diverse bar. See pictures from the Diversity Summit and read more about it on TBA Link.

http://www.tba.org/news/diversitysummit/

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

WALTER BAILEY, ET AL. v. COUNTY OF SHELBY, ET AL.

Corrected. In the introductory summary, sixth line, "terms" should be singular.


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Allan J. Wade, Lori Hackleman Patterson, and Brandy S. Parrish, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Walter Bailey, Julian Bolton, and Cleo Kirk.

Leo Bearman, Jr. and Jason A. Strain, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, County of Shelby, Shelby County Election Commission, Gregory M. Duckett, Richard L. Holden, Nancye E. Hines, O. C. Pleasant, Jr., and Maura Black Sullivan.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Ann Louise Vix, Senior Counsel, for the Intervenor, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAM M. BARKER

In this expedited appeal, this Court is asked to decide two questions of first impression. The first question is whether a term limit provision contained in a county charter is authorized by Tennessee Code Annotated section 5-1-210(4). Like the lower courts, we answer this question in the affirmative. The second question before this Court is whether Tennessee Code Annotated section 5-1-210(4) violates Article VII, section 1, of Tennessee’s constitution to the extent that the statute authorizes a county with a charter form of government to impose term limits upon members of its legislative body. Unlike the Court of Appeals, we answer this question in the negative. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed. The judgment of the chancery court is reinstated.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/baileywCORR040306.pdf


SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2006/certlist040306.pdf


E. RICHARD CORLEY, JR., ET AL. v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Larry Michael Teague, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

Katherine Ann Austin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, E. Richard Corley, Jr. and Paul S. Corley.

Judge: FRANK G. CLEMENT, JR.

Plaintiffs filed this inverse condemnation action to recover damages due to the closure of one end of an alley abutting their property, the closure of which prevented ingress and egress to the next intersecting street. The defendant, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, denied liability. It contended there was no taking of Plaintiffs’ property, that the alley was closed for public safety, and thus was an exercise of its police power. The trial court denied Metro’s pre-trial motion to dismiss. The matter proceeded to trial by jury. At the close of Plaintiffs’ proof, Metro moved for a directed verdict. The motion was denied whereupon Metro presented its case in chief. Metro did not renew its motion for a directed verdict at the close of all the proof. Accordingly, the case went to the jury, which awarded Plaintiffs $44,000 in damages. Metro appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/corleye040306.pdf


ANN W. McDONALD v. METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Larry M. Teague, Deputy Attorney General, for the appellant, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

Katherine A. Austin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ann W. McDonald.

Judge: FRANK G. CLEMENT, JR.

Plaintiff filed this inverse condemnation action to recover damages due to the closure of one end of an alley abutting her property, the closure of which prevented ingress and egress to the next intersecting street. The defendant, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, denied liability. It contended there was no taking of Plaintiff’s property, that the alley was closed for public safety, and thus was an exercise of its police power. The trial court denied Metro’s pre-trial motion to dismiss. The matter proceeded to trial by jury. At the close of Plaintiff’s proof, Metro moved for a directed verdict. The motion was denied whereupon Metro presented its case in chief. Metro did not renew its motion for a directed verdict at the close of all the proof. Accordingly, the case went to the jury, which awarded Plaintiff $15,000 in damages. Metro appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2006/mcdonalda040306.pdf


CLIFFORD LEON FARRA v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Whitney P. Taylor, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Clifford Leon Farra.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Joseph Eugene Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GARY R. WADE

The petitioner, Clifford Leon Farra, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. In this appeal, he asserts that the post-conviction court erred by proceeding with an evidentiary hearing even though the state had failed to file an answer to his original pro se petition. The judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/farrac040306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOANNE GELENE IRWIN

Corrected.


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael T. Cabage, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joanne Gelene Irwin.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; and Ta Kisha M. Fitzgerald, Philip H. Morton, and Mitchell T. Harper, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GARY R. WADE

The defendant, Joanne Gelene Irwin, was convicted of two counts of simple assault, Class A misdemeanors. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-101 (1997). After merging the two counts of simple assault, the trial court imposed a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days and ordered thirty days of confinement. The defendant was fined $1,000. Judicial diversion was denied. In this appeal of right, the defendant argues that she should have been permitted to introduce evidence of the juvenile record of the victim for impeachment purposes under Rule 609 of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence; that the trial court submitted erroneous instructions to the jury; that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence; and that the trial court abused its discretion by denying judicial diversion. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/IrwinjCORR040306.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES RIELS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tony N. Brayton, Garland Erguden, and Robert Wilson Jones (on appeal) and Larry Nance and LaTonya Burrow (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Riels.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Gerald Harris and Michelle Parks, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: NORMA MCGEE OGLE

The appellant, James Riels, appeals his sentences of death imposed by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury. On September 18, 2003, a Shelby County Grand Jury charged the appellant with one count of first degree felony murder for the death of Mary Jane Cruchon, one count of first degree premeditated murder for the death of Mary Jane Cruchon, one count of first degree felony murder for the death of Franchion Pollack, one count of first degree premeditated murder for the death of Franchion Pollack, one count of especially aggravated robbery of Franchion Pollack, one count of attempted especially aggravated robbery of Mary Jane Cruchon, and one count of aggravated burglary of the habitation of Mary Jane Cruchon. On August 9, 2004, the appellant entered guilty pleas to all seven counts. The trial court merged the felony murder convictions with the premeditated murder convictions, resulting in two convictions for first degree murder. A jury was impaneled for the sentencing phase, and on August 13, 2004, the jury imposed the death penalty for the murder of each victim. In the death of Mary Jane Cruchon, the jury unanimously found the presence of three statutory aggravating circumstances. In the death of Franchion Pollack, the jury unanimously found the presence of four statutory aggravating circumstances. The jury further determined that the aggravating circumstances outweighed any mitigating circumstances. The trial court approved the sentencing verdict. In a separate sentencing hearing, the trial court imposed an effective thirty-five-year sentence for the remaining noncapital convictions. The appellant appeals, presenting for our review the following issues: (1) whether the trial court erred by overruling his motion to suppress, (2) whether the trial court erred by permitting the State to cross-examine him regarding the circumstances of the offenses, (3) whether the trial court erred by permitting the introduction of a post-mortem photograph of one of the victims, (4) whether the trial court’s instruction that the appellant’s prior offenses were offenses whose statutory elements involved the use of violence violated the United States Constitution, (5) whether the trial court’s instruction on victim impact evidence constituted a coercive jury instruction, and (6) whether Tennessee’s death penalty scheme is unconstitutional. Finding no errors requiring reversal, we affirm the appellant’s sentences of death.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2006/rielsj040306.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Member Services
TennBarU CLE Programs

Legal News
Cocke Circuit Court judges respond to News Sentinel article
In the March 25 edition of the Knoxville News Sentinel, an article appeared with the headline, "Prosecutor alleges Cocke judges allow felons to be armed." The article implied illegal and unethical actions by all of the circuit judges, who serve or have served Cocke County. Circuit Court Judge Rex Henry Ogle responds to that in
The Newport Plain Talk.
Selection Commission to start filling high court seats
The Judicial Selection Commission will meet later this month in Nashville to consider the process of filling one of two vacancies to be created by the upcoming retirements of Justices E. Riley Anderson and Adolpho A. Birch Jr. Any member of the public can attend the April 20 public hearing; private interviews will be held with applicants on April 21. Eleven lawyers submitted applicatiions for the first position by the March 31 deadline. For details go to the
AOC web site.
ABA honors Memphis attorney for civil rights service
The Equal Employment Opportunity Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor & Employment honored Memphis lawyer Maurice Wexler with an award recently for his "dedicated and exemplary service nationally to his profession, to professionalism and the principals of equality of opportunity to the citizens of our nation." Wexler is a shareholder with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, where he has practiced law since 1964. As part of this award, the ABA committee established a foundation in Wexler's honor at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Vanderbilt graduate programs get high national marks
Graduate and professional programs at Vanderbilt University - including the law school, which maintained its spot at number 17 - had a strong showing in this year's U.S. News & World Report rankings. For information on other ranked graduate programs, read the
Nashville Business Journal.
Winkler gets free 'dream team' defense
The Selmer woman accused of shooting to death her minster husband has the best defense money can buy. But so far, Mary Carol Winkler hasn't had to pay for it. Mississippi lawyer Steven Ellis Farese Sr. is heading a "dream team" of four attorneys in her defense. Read about this pro bono effort in the
Jackson Sun.
Legislative News
Crooks to fund crime victims programs?
Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton is proposing a new bill aimed at making criminals pay up. The mayor says it is the best way to take the burden from taxpayers and penalize the victimizer. Under the proposal, crooks would be forced to pay a $42 fine, and the money would go to benefit crime victim organizations. The bill is set to go before the State House and Senate Finance Commitees. If the bill passes, the money generated will be used to fund crime victims programs throughout Shelby County. See the video from
UPN30 in Memphis.
TBA Member Services
Student loans at low rates through SunTrust
The TBA and SunTrust Bank now have a Partnership Program to help alleviate the burden of student loans. Members and their families can consolidate their federal student loans at a special low fixed rate - right now as low as 5.375%. In addition, those with consolidation loans greater than $10,000 are eligible to reduce their interest rate by another 1.5% for on-time payments and automatic debit payments.
Learn more
TennBarU CLE Programs
Skills session looks at mergers and acquisitions
Join the YLD for the next in the Skills Enhancement series “The Basics of Mergers and Acquisitions” Learn how to structure the deal as well as common methods of valuation and due diligence. Wednesday, April 5, in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga. 2 general credits.
Register or learn more

 
 
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