ABA set to tighten bar passage standards for law schools

The American Bar Association is proposing tighter bar passage requirements for law schools, a change that is drawing a sharp rebuke from deans and others who claim that it would create an unfair standard for accreditation and result in "an administrative mess."

The ABA asserts that the revised standard is necessary to protect consumers who are considering attending law school and consumers who use the legal services of those who graduate. The bar pass rate provision will go to the ABA House of Delegates for a vote at its annual meeting in August. The National Law Journal has the story
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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 http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi.

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

MICHAEL BRAXTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles E. Walker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Michael Braxton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Amy H. Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Michael Braxton, of aggravated rape and aggravated assault, and he received an effective sentence of twenty-three years. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief claiming that he had received the ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition after a hearing. The Petitioner appeals that dismissal. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/braxtonm_071007.pdf


CHRISTOPHER A. DAVIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul J. Bruno, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher A. Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; Tom Thurman, Assistant District Attorney General; and Katrin Miller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Christopher A. Davis, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, Petitioner contends that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance because he failed (1) to present alibi evidence at Petitioner's trial; (2) to effectively cross-examine witness Jeffrey Todd; (3) to investigate the possibility of an alternative suspect; (4) to call two witnesses who saw two individuals at the scene of the crime; (5) to file a motion to suppress; (6) to adequately consult with Petitioner before and during trial; (6) to move for a severance; and (7) to request a Rule 404(b) hearing regarding certain testimony. Petitioner also argues that the prosecutor engaged in prosecutorial misconduct and challenges the indictment on due process grounds. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/davisc_071007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE V. BENJAMIN ASHLEY RAY DICKENS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Benjamin Ashley Ray Dickens.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; Paul Dewitt and Dan Ham, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Benjamin Ashley Ray Dickens, was convicted of first degree felony murder. On appeal, the Defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to sustain the conviction, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/dickensb_071007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. WILLIAM ROBERT HURT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Andrew Jackson Dearing, III (on appeal and at trial) and Michael J. Collins (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Robert Hurt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; W. Michael McCown, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant, William Robert Hurt, entered guilty pleas to three counts of possession of a schedule II controlled substance with intent to sell or deliver. As a result, he received a total effective sentence of ten years with the manner of service to be determined by the circuit court. After a sentencing hearing, the court ordered the defendant to serve his sentence in confinement but on work release subject to the county sheriff's approval. On appeal, the defendant challenges the circuit court's denial of alternative sentencing. Following our review of the parties' briefs and applicable law, the judgment of the court is affirmed. However, we are unable to reconcile the sentence pronounced by the trial court at the sentencing hearing with the sentence reflected by the judgment of conviction presented on appeal. Accordingly, we remand for clarification or correction of the sentence as reflected in the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/hurtw_071007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RANDY LEE MEEKS AND ERNEST LONNIE SNYDER, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; C. Michael Layne, District Attorney General; and Felecia Walkup, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Eric J. Burch, Manchester, Tennessee and Robert T. Carter, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellees, Randy Lee Meeks and Ernest Lonnie Snyder, Jr.

Judge: WELLES

This is a State appeal from an order dismissing without prejudice the indictment against the Defendants, Randy Lee Meeks and Ernest Lonnie Snyder, Jr. The Defendants were indicted with charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The issue presented for our review on appeal is whether the trial court erred in granting the motion to suppress evidence seized from the Defendants' hotel room. After a review of the record and the applicable authorities, we reverse the order of the trial court granting the Defendants' motion to suppress, vacate the order dismissing the indictment, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/meeksr_071007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LAVON LYN NUNNERY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tony L. Maples (on appeal and at trial), and James Smith (at trial), Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lavon Lyn Nunnery.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Jennings Jones, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Lavon Lyn Nunnery, appeals from the judgment of the Rutherford County Circuit Court, revoking his probation and imposing service of eight months in confinement followed by two years of probation. In this appeal, the defendant argues that the state's inclusion of waiver language in his probation order violates Tennessee statute and that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and ordering split confinement. Following our review of the record, parties' briefs and the applicable law, we determine no error exists in the court's revocation of probation, and thus affirm the court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/nunneryl_071007.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. VICTOR EUGENE TYSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul J. Bruno, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Victor Eugene Tyson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Dan Hamm and Deborah Housel, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, Victor Eugene Tyson, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of second degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and felony murder. On appeal, the Defendant alleges the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions. Finding no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/tysonv_071007.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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Legal News
Rosenberg files for appeals court post
W. Scott Rosenberg, a referee in the Juvenile Court of Davidson County has applied for the Middle Division Court of Appeals seat left open by William Koch's appointment to the Tennessee Supreme Court. He is the eighth candidate to apply. The deadline for applications is July 16.
Learn more or apply now
New guidelines for subpoena power discussed
FBI Director Robert Mueller met with privacy advocates yesterday to discuss new guidelines for National Security Letters, or NSLs, which give the FBI permission to get phone, e-mail and financial records without a court order. The meeting put the director face-to-face with his critics and allowed him to talk to them about the new guidelines, which come after the Justice Department's Inspector General and even the FBI's own internal audits earlier this year found widespread misuse of NSLs.
National Public Radio has the story
Gonzales given reports of violations before testimony
The Washington Post reported this morning that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales received at least a half dozen reports detailing FBI violations under the Patriot Act in the months before he told senators that no such abuses had occurred.
Read the story
Hawkins County jail likely headed for decertification
Sheriff Roger Christian predicts that the Hawkins County Jail will likely be decertified on grounds of overpopulation and insufficient progress on the new jail, when it is inspected later this month. On Monday there were 79 inmates in the jail, which is 18 above the 30-year-old jail's maximum capacity. Although the jail was recertified in 2005 while housing 100 inmates, it was on the condition that by July 2007 the proposed new Hawkins County Jail -- to be located in Rogersville's old Kmart building -- be up and running. But construction of the new jail has not yet started.
The Kingsport Times-News has more
Judge with 65 percent reversal rate under investigation
Judge Clara Byrd's decisions have been reversed or modified 65 percent of the time by other courts, about twice the normal rate for reversals, WSMV-TV reports. Byrd, a family court judge in Lebanon, is under investigation by the Court of the Judiciary stemming from an incident with the Court of Appeals where Byrd did not execute an order to reverse an opinion in a custody case.
Read more at WSMV.com
Elvis in court
Elvis Presley was at the White County Justice Center last week on a probation violation, stemming from a 2001 arrest on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal impersonation. He's now in the White County Jail. One bystander in the courtroom quietly asked the question, "Who would Elvis want to impersonate?"
Read more in The Expositor
Memphis group wants Wharton in mayor's race
A coalition of Memphians is going public with efforts to woo Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton to enter the city mayor's race. The "Draft A C" campaign officially kicks off Wednesday with an 11 a.m. press conference. A DraftAC.com web site is expected to be up and running later today.
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
Upcoming
Nominations sought for Access to Justice Awards
The Tennessee Bar Association's Access to Justice Committee is soliciting nominations for the 2007-2008 Access to Justice Public Services Awards. Awards include the newly renamed Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award, the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Award and the Law Student Volunteer Award, which will be presented at the TBA Public Service Awards Luncheon scheduled for Jan. 19, 2008. The deadline for nominations is Aug. 24.
Click here for more information or to submit a nomination
TennBarU CLE
TeleSeminar provides legislative update on
estate law
Join Nashville attorneys Paul Hayes, Bryan Howard and Les Wilkinson at noon on July 19 for an hour-long teleseminar that will bring you up to date on key legislatives changes in estate planning and probate law.
Find out more or register now
TBA Member Services
Save money on car rental
Traveling by car this Summer? Use your TBA membership to save on car rentals.
Click here to obtain discount codes for many major rental companies

 
 
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