Bar exam results now available

The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners today released the list of applicants who successful passed the July Tennessee Bar Exam. See the list now.

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


Court: TSC


J. Myers Morton and George W. Morton, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants James Killingsworth and Kathy Killingsworth

J. Douglas Overbey and Daniel R. Pilkington, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ted Russell Ford, Inc.

Judge: CLARK

We granted this appeal to determine whether a plaintiff who is successful in an action brought under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977, Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 47-18-101--125 (2001), may be awarded appellate attorney's fees. We answer that question in the affirmative. We also hold that to recover those fees a plaintiff must indicate to the appellate court that he or she is seeking to recover appellate attorney's fees. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.


Court: TCCA


Robert R. Kurtz, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Brandon Compton

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Leslie Nassios, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Brandon Compton, was convicted by a Knox County jury of two counts of first degree premeditated murder and was subsequently sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. On appeal, Compton raises three issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the verdicts, specifically the element of premeditation; (2) whether the trial court erred in granting the State's request for a special jury instruction with regard to the element of premeditation; and (3) whether consecutive sentencing was proper. After review of the record, we conclude that issue (3) is without merit; however, we conclude that reversible error exists with regard to issues (1) and (2). Although we conclude that the evidence is legally insufficient to support convictions for first degree murder, as the evidence failed to establish that the crimes were committed with premeditation, the evidence is sufficient to support convictions for second degree murder. Accordingly, the judgments of conviction and sentences are vacated, and the case is remanded to the trial court for resentencing in accordance with this opinion.


Court: TCCA


Joseph F. Harrison, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Katherine Annette Owens

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Todd Martin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Katherine Annette Owens, pled guilty to forgery, identity theft, and theft under $500. As a result, she received an effective sentence of two years and six months to be served in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying her alternative sentencing. Following our review of the parties' briefs and applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgments.


Court: TCCA


Robert W. White, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Faron Douglas Pierce

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; and Rocky H. Young, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee

The Appellant, Faron Douglas Pierce, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. Pierce was convicted of aggravated robbery by a Blount County jury and was sentenced to twenty years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Pierce argues that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel, specifically arguing that trial counsel was deficient in: (1) failing to seek suppression of evidence at trial; (2) failing to adequately inform Pierce of his right to testify at trial; and (3) calling a witness which prejudiced the defense. After review, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Robert L. Jolley, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carolette Stephens

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin Allen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: SMITH

The appellant, Carolette Stephens, was indicted on one count of second degree murder. During the jury trial in May of 2005, the trial court sua sponte declared a mistrial over objection of both the State and the appellant. The case was immediately rescheduled for trial. The appellant sought a dismissal of the indictment, arguing that the retrial placed the appellant in double jeopardy. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss the indictment, but permitted the appellant to seek an interlocutory appeal. This Court granted the interlocutory appeal. On appeal, the appellant presents the following issues: (1) whether the State provoked the trial court into granting a mistrial by eliciting testimony regarding an unconstitutional search warrant that had been suppressed by the trial court; (2) whether the trial court erred in granting a mistrial based on manifest necessity; and (3) whether the appellant's rights to protection against double jeopardy will be violated by a retrial for second degree murder. Because the trial court improperly declared a mistrial without a manifest necessity for doing so, the double jeopardy provisions of the federal and state constitutions prohibit a retrial of the appellant on the charge that is the subject of this appeal. The judgment of the trial court denying the appellant's motion to dismiss is therefore reversed and the indictment dismissed.


Court: TCCA


Randy G. Rogers, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellant, James R. Thurman

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; James S. McCleun, District Attorney General; and Roger Delp and Frank Harvey, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: SMITH

The defendant was convicted of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, refusing to submit to a drug or alcohol test, evading arrest, and possessing an open container. The jury also levied a fine of $1,500 for evading arrest and $35 for possessing an open container. In a second deliberation, the jury set a fine for fourth offense driving under the influence (DUI). The trial court sentenced the defendant to two years for the DUI and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the evading arrest. The defendant was to serve 180 days in incarceration and the balance in community corrections. Immediately before the jury retired to deliberate, one of the jurors received word that her daughter had been rushed to the emergency room. The trial court excused the juror. While the jury was deliberating, the defendant's father brought to defense counsel's attention, that the State's prosecuting witness ate lunch at the same table as two jurors before the deliberation. The defendant moved for a mistrial on the basis of the witness/juror contact. The trial court denied the motion. The defendant now appeals arguing that the trial court erred in allowing an eleven-member jury verdict and in denying his motion for a mistrial. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

County regulation of dogs and cats

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-10-11

Opinion Number: 06-161

Additional compensation for clerk and master providing services for probate cases

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-10-12

Opinion Number: 06-162

Authority Of County To Hold Non-Binding Advisory Referendum

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2006-10-12

Opinion Number: 06-163


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The Judicial Selection Commission announced in a statement this afternoon that former Court of Appeals Judge Ben Cantrell will represent the commission "in their efforts to obtain a just and expeditious resolution of the pending declaratory judgment action." Last month Gov. Bredesen filed suit against the commission arguing that it should not be allowed to recommend a judge he previously had rejected when it submitted a second slate of Supreme Court nominees.

Tennessee projects win awards of excellence today
Two major TBA initiatives won awards of excellence today at the National Association of Bar Executives' Communications Section workshop in Albuquerque, N.M. TBA Today, the daily electronic newsletter you are reading right now, earned a Luminary Award for regular publications for bars with 5,000 to 15,000 members. The TBA's program, "Stand Up & Deliver" was deemed best in the public relations category. Staff members responsible for TBA Today are Barry Kolar, Suzanne Robertson and Stacey Shrader. Working on the Stand Up campaign, which was initiated by then-TBA president Bill Haltom, were staff members Kolar and Lynn Pointer and TBA Public Education Committee chair Cindy Wyrick.

Former Chattanooga Bar Association Executive Director Susan Andres, who recently retired from the Alabama State Bar, was awarded the E.A. Wally Richter Leadership Award, the highest honor given by the section for professionalism and service. Nikki Gray won an award for the Nashville Bar Journal in the category of regular publications for bars with 5,000 or fewer members.

ABOTA honors Lawson, Inman
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DOJ looks into police suits
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Legislative News
Dixon sentencing could come today
Sentencing could come today for former state senator Roscoe Dixon, who was convicted on bribery charges. Dixon technically faces up to 90 years in prison, but most legal observers say relevant legal factors point to something closer to five years or less, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.
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