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


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Legislative News
Report clears Bowers, DUI charges dismissed
DUI charges against former state senator Kathryn Bowers were dismissed today after prosecutors said a toxicology report showed no alcohol or large quantities of drugs in her system after an interstate accident in August.
The Commercial Appeal has the story
Cooper fraud trial to be continued
Prosecutors and defense attorneys in the fraud trial of state Sen. Jerry Cooper agree a continuance is in order, but are at odds on just how long it should be. Cooper was injured in a single-car accident Feb. 7, leaving him with a cerebral concussion, multiple fractured ribs and other injuries. After consulting with doctors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Humble agreed to a 12-week continuance, but defense attorney Jerry Summers has asked for 16 weeks.
The has the story
DUI proposal would take licenses away immediately
A proposed reform to Tennessee's DUI laws would strip drivers of their licenses from the time they're accused of drunken driving. Known as administrative license revocation and backed by the Governor's DUI Task Force, it already exists in 41 states, but in Tennessee under current state law, drivers accused of first-offense DUI hang onto their licenses and can continue to drive until convicted.
Read the details in the News Sentinel
Debate stirs over
malpractice laws
Lawyer Sid Gilreath and Dr. Laura Powers give differing opinions to the debate over medical malpractice claims and awards in this News Sentinel report. The views stem from a proposal in the legislature that pits physicians, who say they're being driven out of practice by frivolous lawsuits and escalating insurance premiums, against attorneys who represent injured patients and say proposals before the legislature won't solve either problem.
Read more
Litter pickup punishment for drunk drivers might end
Tennessee's litter-pickup law, which requires offenders convicted of driving under the influence to spend 24 hours picking up trash along state roadsides while wearing "I AM A DRUNK DRIVER" vests, could be eliminated this year as part of a package of proposed reforms to the state's DUI laws.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Legal News
Tennessee athletic case goes to U.S. Supreme Court in April
Oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court have been set for April 18 in the long legal fight over whether the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association can punish Brentwood Academy for allegedly recruiting athletes, the Tennessean reports.
Read it
Judge Ogle draws praise for reaction to DCS delay
In an editorial, the Mountain Press praises Judge Rex Henry Ogle for hauling Department of Children's Services officials into his office and "chewing them out" for failing to turn over documents asked for in an order from his court. "If an agency that concerns itself with the welfare of children can't or won't be cooperative fully and timely when the courts are trying to deal with alleged offenders," the editorial reads, "the system breaks down and justice is delayed."
Read the editorial
Bankruptcies down in Memphis
Bankruptcy filings in Memphis have been cut in half in the last year, but insiders say it's not related to an improvement in the economy but the law Congress passed in April 2005. "There was no question it had to do with the new law," said George Stevenson, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee in Memphis.
Find out why in the Commercial Appeal
Parks' estate settled;
under gag order
A settlement was reached Saturday in the dispute over the estate of civil-rights icon Rosa Parks, avoiding a trial between her relatives and the institute that bears her name. Parks, who died in 2005 at 92, left nearly all of her estate to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Parks' 13 nieces and nephews have feuded for years with the people she appointed to handle her affairs. They filed a legal challenge to her will in May.
The News Sentinel has this AP story
A new use for ADA defense?
IBM is being sued by a man who was fired for surfing adult chat rooms online while at work. The 58-year-old Vietnam Veteran from Montgomery, N.Y., says his chat room visits are a form of therapy for the traumatic stress suffered in Vietnam where he saw his best friend killed. He's claiming protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
WMC-TV Memphis has more
Work begins on Rutherford's justice center
Work began on the $25 million project this weekend on South Church Street in front of the Rutherford County Correctional Work Center, where Murfreesboro's new Juvenile Justice Center will be. The juvenile justice center will house Juvenile Court, the detention center and youth services.
The Murfreesboro Post has more
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