Governor disappointed with lack of diverse court candidates

Gov. Phil Bredesen today expressed disappointment once again with the state Judicial Selection Commission for not sending him minority candidates for judicial openings. At an event celebrating the renaming of a Nashville street for Rosa L. Parks, Bredesen deviated from his prepared remarks to criticize the commission for sending him a list of candidates for the Court of Appeals that did not include any African Americans. He concluded by saying, "I don't know how I can make it any clearer to them that having 12 members of our appeals court all white is not appropriate in the state of Tennessee." Last week, the commission selected three individuals for the Court of Appeals for the Middle District. The governor must choose one of them or request a second list of names. Read Bredesen's full remarks in the Nashville City Paper:

http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=57192

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BARBARA RIPPEY WHITLEY v. JAMES M. RIPPEY, JR., as Executor of the Estate of Robert English Rippey

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Lauren Paxton Roberts and Bradley A. MacLean, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, Barbara Rippey Whitley.

William S. Fleming, Columbia, Tennessee, for appellee, James M. Rippey, Jr., as Executor of the Estate of Robert English Rippey.

Judge: KIRBY

This is a will contest. The decedent was an 83-year-old man who had no natural born children. In 1968, the decedent adopted his first wife's two adult daughters, the plaintiff and her sister. In 1970, the decedent's first wife died. After her mother's death, the plaintiff visited the decedent sporadically. The last visit occurred in 1999 or 2000. In April 2002, after meeting with his accountant and his attorney, the decedent executed a will that divided the estate among his nieces and nephews and a friend. The will did not mention or otherwise acknowledge the plaintiff or her sister. Around the time he executed the will, the decedent told both the drafting attorney and his treating physician that he had "no children." Three years later, in 2005, the decedent died, and the will was admitted into probate. The plaintiff then filed a complaint contesting the will, claiming that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity. The executor filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff now appeals, arguing that the decedent's statements that he had "no children" were sufficient to establish a genuine issue as to the decedent's lack of testamentary capacity at the time the will was executed. We affirm, finding that the plaintiff failed to set forth sufficient evidence from which the trier of fact could reasonably find that the decedent lacked testamentary capacity to execute the April 2002 will.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2007/whitleyb_080507.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legislative News
Legal News
Passages

Legislative News
Governor sets election for Crutchfield seat
This afternoon, Gov. Phil Bredesen issued a writ of election to fill the vacancy in state Senate District 10 created by the resignation of Senator Ward Crutchfield. His order directs the Hamilton and Marion county election commissions to hold primary elections on Oct. 4 and a general election on Nov. 15, reports Chattanoogan.com. Crutchfield resigned his seat after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges.

Legal News
Gonzales: No change to testimony
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales late Friday declined to provide more information about apparent discrepancies in his testimony regarding the firing of federal prosecutors. The U.S. Senate had given Gonzales time to clarify or change his testimony given conflicting information by other witnesses. In responding to the Judiciary Committee's offer, he did, however, volunteer to conduct a classified briefing on the now-famous 2004 hospital visit to then-Attorney General Ashcroft.
The AP has the full story
Court says FBI raid violated constitution
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Friday that the FBI violated the constitutional rights of Congressman William Jefferson, D-LA, during a raid of his D.C. office. The court ordered the Justice Department to return privileged documents.
WMC-TV has this report from the AP
DA asks TBI to help with police brutality case
Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations to look into a South Memphis hair salon owner's allegations of police brutality. The owner complained that he, his wife and three others were manhandled by a Memphis police officer and unfairly detained for more than 90 minutes. Three officers involved in the incident have been disciplined following an internal investigation by the police department, but Gibbons says unanswered questions remain.
The Commercial Appeal has more
TBA young lawyers meet to plan bar year
The board of the TBA Young Lawyers Division met this weekend in Chattanooga to set plans and programs for the 2007-2008 bar year. Among the group's new initiatives is a day-long CLE for first-year associates, a revamped voter awareness campaign to coincide with the 2008 election cycle and plans for additional young lawyer programming at the TBA convention. TBA President Marcy Eason joined the group for several events and shared her vision and priorities for the year. For more information about the YLD, contact President Jason Long at jlong@latlaw.com

New staff for 4th District DA
Two new assistant district attorneys have joined the 4th Judicial District prosecutor's office. Greg Eshbaugh of Knoxville will handle criminal cases in General Sessions court. He replaces Garry Chin, who left to pursue a career in the private sector. Mendi Winstead, formerly of the public defender's office, will assume the newly created position of domestic violence prosecutor. Her work will be funded by a grant. Both graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
The Mountain Press reports
A profile of the state's youngest DA
At 36, Mike Dunavant is Tennessee's youngest elected state prosecutor. His first year on the job has been a busy one and he recently has found himself disagreeing with a general sessions judge. The Memphis Commercial Appeal interviewed Dunavant about some hot-button issues in the 25th Judicial District.
Read more
Sealed evidence appears on YouTube
According to HCA Inc., it had nothing to do with video clips on YouTube that show sealed evidence from pending medical malpractice cases the company has brought. State ethics rules prohibit such release of information. Preliminary investigations suggest that a media consultant hired by the defense was responsible for the leak.
The AP has more
Fen-Phen lawyers owe $62 M
Three attorneys accused of bilking their clients in a diet drug settlement must repay at least $62.1 million in settlement funds and interest, Special Judge William Wehr ruled on Friday. The three are being sued by former clients who claim the attorneys collected too much from the settlement.
Learn more from the AP
Passages
Civil rights lawyer Oliver Hill dead at 100
Oliver W. Hill, a civil rights lawyer who was at the forefront of the legal effort that desegregated public schools, died Sunday at his home in Richmond. In 1951, Hill represented a group of students protesting deplorable conditions at their high school. That suit became one of five decided by the U.S. Supreme Court as part of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision.
The New York Times reflects on Hill's life and work

 
 
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