Commission sends Supreme Court candidates to governor

The Judicial Selection Commission has submitted three candidates to the governor to fill one of the two impending vacancies on the Supreme Court. The three are: Nashville Chancellor Richard Dinkins, Covington attorney Houston Gordon and Sevierville-based Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Gary Wade.
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. To search all opinions in the TBALink database, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
07 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

TBA members can get the full-text versions of these opinions three ways detailed below. All methods require a TBA username and password. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on-line at

Here's how you can obtain full-text version. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 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. Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion. Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink


Court: TCCA


R. B. Baird, III, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Wayne Bernard.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Cecil Clayton Mills, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial in Greene County, Defendant, David Wayne Bernard, was found guilty of possession of more than one-half ounce of marijuana with intent to deliver, and possession of a deadly weapon (a .357 caliber Ruger revolver) with the intent to employ it in the commission of an offense. Both offenses are Class E felonies. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve two years for each conviction, concurrently with each other. Defendant's only issue on appeal is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support both convictions. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Leslie Ballin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Vivian Braxton.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General & Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Linda Kirklen, Assistant District Attorney General; and Mike Meyers, Assistant Attorney General Special Prosecutor, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Vivian Braxton, pled guilty to one count of theft between ten and sixty thousand dollars, a Class C felony. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to three years to be served as follows: six months in the County Workhouse with the remainder suspended, and three years of probation to follow the confinement. The Defendant now appeals, contending that the trial court erred in declining her request for judicial diversion; denying her request for full probation; and in ordering her to serve six months day-for-day in confinement. We modify the Defendant's sentence insofar as removing any requirement that she serve her period of confinement day-for-day. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

CORRECTED OPINION (filing date corrected)


Court: TCCA


John Haws Burrell, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Joe C. Crumley, Jr., District Attorney General; Preston Shipp, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, John H. Burrell, appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Johnson County Circuit Court. The state has moved this court to affirm the order via memorandum opinion pursuant to Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. The petition presents no cognizable ground for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, we sustain the state's motion and affirm the order pursuant to Rule 20.


Court: TCCA


Robert Wilson Jones, Shelby County Public Defender, and Tony N. Brayton, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); Cornelius Bostick, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Torian Dillard.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Jerry Harris and Paul Hagerman, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Torian Dillard, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of attempted first degree murder, a Class A felony, and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, both Class E felonies. The trial court sentenced him to consecutive terms of forty years as a multiple offender for the attempted murder conviction and six years as a career offender for each of the Class E felony convictions, for an effective sentence of fifty-two years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant contends that the State excluded African-American venire members from his jury in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution, the evidence was insufficient to sustain his attempted first degree murder conviction, and the trial court erred in ordering consecutive sentences. Having reviewed the record and found no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Frank Deslauriers, Covington, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Marlon Hayes.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Jane L. Beebe, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Colin A. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Marlon Hayes, appeals the Tipton County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, Hayes collaterally challenges his guilty pleas for first degree felony murder and aggravated robbery upon grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. After review of the record, we affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.


Court: TCCA


Thomas H. Pleasant, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie Price, Assistant Attorney General; and C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Thomas H. Pleasant, pled guilty in the Davidson County Criminal Court to second degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated robbery, and he received a total effective sentence of eighteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. Subsequently, the petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that the 1989 Sentencing Act is unconstitutional under Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 124 S. Ct. 2531 (2004). The habeas corpus court summarily denied the petition, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


Court: TCCA


Oscar C. Wells, Pro Se.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Oscar C. Wells, proceeding pro se, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief as being time barred. On appeal, Wells asserts that his petition was timely filed because he delivered the petition to the appropriate prison official within the requisite one-year limitation period as authorized by Supreme Court Rule 28. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition as time barred because the petition was stamped "filed" by the Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk's office outside the one-year period. Because these allegations present a factual dispute as to whether Wells' petition was timely filed, we vacate the judgment of the post-conviction court and remand for resolution of this issue.


Legal News
Legislative News
BPR Actions

Legal News
Bar exam results available on TBALink
The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners today released the list of candidates who passed the state bar examination that was administered in February.
Read the complete list
Former Armstrong Allen lawyers form Jackson firm
The three attorneys who made up the Jackson, Tenn., office of Armstrong Allen are forming a new firm effective May 1. Bob Redding, Jonathan Steen and Sadia Staton will continue to practice together and serve clients throughout West Tennessee through the new firm Redding Steen & Staton PC. The group will remain at the same address and will continue to focus on litigation, appellate advocacy and mediation services.

UT Law event raises scholarship money for African American students
California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, called "a fearless advocate for Black people" by Essence magazine, spoke Thursday at the sixth annual Julian Blackshear Scholarship Banquet sponsored by the University of Tennessee 's Black Law Student Association. Proceeds from the event, themed "Preserving the Past, Pursuing the Future," benefit the Julian Blackshear Scholarship, which provides financial support to African American students in UT's College of Law.

Crackdown nets 96 illegal immigrants in Tennessee
A federal crackdown on employers resulted in 96 illegal immigrants being taken into custody across Tennessee through the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's local offices - 49 in Memphis, 34 in Nashville and 13 in Knoxville, the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reports.
Read the story
Chattanooga lawyer heading legal, financial group
Chattanooga attorney Harold Alan Schwartz Jr., a shareholder with Shumacker Witt Gaither & Whitaker, is leading a new group called Synergy Summit, that brings together leaders from major legal, accounting and financial service organizations into one unified "think tank of leadership."
Read more in The
Tennessee receives $141 million tobacco payment
The Attorney General's office announced today that Tennessee has received its annual payment totaling $141,059,832 as part of the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The payment came at the same time several tobacco companies refused to pay their entire annual payments required by the Master Settlement Agreement. On Wednesday the AG filed suit against a number of tobacco companies that are parties to the settlement to collect the full payment.

Legislative News
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Memorial service Sunday for "Squire" Ogle
Henry Tate "Squire" Ogle, 82, passed away peacefully at his home this morning. He practiced in Knoxville for the past 55 years and will be missed greatly by fellow members of the bar. The family will be receiving friends from 3-6 p.m. Sunday at Gentry-Griffey Chapel in Fountain City. A memorial service will follow at 6 p.m

BPR Actions
Greenville attorney censured
Greenville attorney Gerald Todd Eidson was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility on April 20 for violating RPC 1.3 and RPC 8.1(b).
Read the BPR release
Pro hac vice revocations
In June, 2004, the Tennessee Supreme Court adopted a recommendation from the TBA and amended its rule on pro hac vice admission (Rule 19) to set new conditions for out of state practioners. Lawyers may be admitted pro hac if they are approved by the court, register with the BPR and submit to disciplinary, lawyer assistance and lawyers fund jurisdiction. They also must pay a once-annual fee equal to what Tennessee lawyers pay for these programs. The Board of Professional Responsibility publishes a list of those admitted pro hac and recently has revoked pro hac permission for 27 lawyers who have not paid their annual fee for the year.
View the list

But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

TBALink HomeContact UsPageFinderWhat's NewHelp
© Copyright 2006 Tennessee Bar Association