Disciplinary process changes examined

New disciplinary process rules adopted yesterday by the Tennessee Supreme Court (effective July 1) make several changes in the way lawyer discipline is administered in Tennessee. The changes include:
  • Maintaining trial court review of Board of Professional Responsibility hearing panel decisions, while providing more specific guidance on standards of review and procedure;

  • Shifting responsibility for appointing the Chief Disciplinary Counsel from the Board of Professional Responsibility to the Court itself;

  • Establishing new provisions permitting probation and restitution;

  • Making disciplinary proceedings subject to the Tennessee Rules of Evidence; and

  • Formalizing the manner in which referrals from the Board of Professional Responsibility to the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program are handled.
Most of the changes were backed by the TBA, the ABA, the BPR Advisory Commission (also known as the Crenshaw Commission) and by the Chief Disciplinary Counsel. For more information, download the new rules at


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


Court: TSC


Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee; and Michael J. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Gary Turner.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Michelle Chapman McIntire, Assistant Attorney General; William Michael McCowen, District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: BIRCH

We granted permission to appeal in this case pursuant to Rule 11 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure in order to determine whether the evidence adduced in the trial court sufficiently supports the defendant's felony evading arrest conviction and whether a sentence of one year for fourth offense driving on a revoked license, a Class A misdemeanor, is valid. Because we view the evidence as sufficient to support the conviction for felony evading arrest (with risk of death or injury), and because a one-year term of confinement for the revoked license conviction is specifically authorized by statute, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals upholding both the convictions and sentences.



Court: TCA


Kelly O. Herston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant Kelly Drew.

Byron Bryant, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellees William Louis Haworth and Barbara Regina Haworth.

Judge: LEE

In this case, the trial court terminated a mother's parental rights to her biological child upon grounds that she committed severe child abuse and that termination was in the child's best interest. The mother asserts that clear and convincing evidence was not presented that she committed severe abuse or that termination was in the best interest of the child. Mother argues that the judgment of the trial court should be vacated and the case remanded for new trial because of the unavailability of either a transcript of the proceedings below or a statement of the evidence. We vacate the order of the trial court as to termination of the parental rights of the mother and remand for new trial because the record provided this Court is insufficient to allow proper appellate review.



Court: TCCA


Charles M. Agee, Jr., Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Coy Pierce.

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


The defendant, Coy Pierce, was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), fourth offense, a Class E felony, and driving on a revoked license, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court imposed sentences of two years for the DUI and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the driving on a revoked license. The trial court ordered that the sentences be served concurrently and that the defendant serve seven months in confinement with the remainder to be served on community corrections. On appeal, the defendant contends that he was denied a fair trial (1) as a result of prosecutorial misconduct and (2) as a result of the trial court's ruling that the defendant could not enter a photograph into evidence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court in part but remand the driving on a revoked license case for entry of a corrected judgment.



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