Judge Childers to chair ABA commission

Circuit Court Judge Robert L. Childers of Memphis has been appointed chair of the American Bar Association's Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs (CoLAP), which provides help to legal professionals and law students experiencing addiction and mental health issues. Childers has a long history of serving both national and state entities dedicated to lawyer well being. Read about his selection on the AOC web site:


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Court: TSC



Court: TCA


Johnny D. Hill, Jr., Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Nolan Wynne.

M. Wallace Coleman, Jr., Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gina Orlene Wynne Ament.


This case involves a dispute over the correct interpretation of the allocation of debt found in a marital dissolution agreement (MDA). The wife was awarded a Ford Explorer under the MDA and was made solely responsible for paying the note on the automobile. The husband was made responsible for "the small Community Bank note." The husband argues that "the small Community Bank note" is a $400 obligation related to a bad check. The wife argues that it is an obligation of over $21,000, secured by the Explorer, which is characterized as "small" to distinguish it from the $80,000 mortgage indebtedness for which the MDA makes her responsible. The trial court agreed with the wife, ordered the husband to pay the $21,000, and held that the wife had no financial obligation related to the Explorer. We reverse the trial court because its order negates the obligation the wife willingly assumed when she signed the MDA. We accordingly order the wife to pay the principal amount of the only note that was secured by the Explorer at the time of the parties' divorce.



Court: TCA


Bruce S. Kramer and Scott A. Kramer of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, BEP Services, Inc.

Stephen W. Ragland, Clarence A. Wilbon, and Simon C. Bieber of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellee, CareFirst Foundation, Inc. f/k/a/ Provide Foundation, Inc.


Plaintiff appeals the grant of summary judgment to defendants in its suit filed on the theory of equitable subrogation. The trial court found that the undisputed facts established that plaintiff acted as a volunteer and proved no fraud, accident or mistake. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


J. Colin Morris, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Beasley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; Alfred Lynn Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, James Beasley, appeals from the Madison County Circuit Court's denying him post-conviction relief from his convictions for aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and theft of property valued at $500 or less, a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. sections 39-14-403; 39-14-103; 39-14-105(1). He was sentenced to fifteen years and eleven months and twenty-nine days, to be served concurrently as a Range III offender. The petitioner contends the trial court erred in denying him post-conviction relief based upon the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. We conclude that no error exists and affirm the trial court's judgment.



Court: TCCA


C. Anne Tipton, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Freddie McCullough.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Muriel Conner, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Freddie McCullough, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of his request for non-incarcerative alternative sentences. McCullough pled guilty to one count of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery, both Class E felonies, and, under the terms of the plea agreement, received one-year sentences for each conviction with the trial court determining the manner of service of the sentences. The agreement also allowed McCullough to seek judicial diversion. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied judicial diversion and ordered McCullough to serve concurrent terms of sixty days in the workhouse on each one-year sentence, followed by one year of probation. On appeal, McCullough argues that the trial court erred by denying judicial diversion or, in the alternative, total probation. After review, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Howard L. Upchurch, Pikeville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Melinda Jo Fisher Spakes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and William Dunn, Assistant District AttorneyGeneral, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Melinda Jo Fisher Spakes, appeals the denial of judicial diversion or alternative sentencing following her "best-interests" pleas to two counts of misdemeanor child neglect. See T.C.A. section 39-15-401 (1997). After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Philip A. Condra, District Public Defender, Jasper, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry W. Tullos.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and James Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Jerry W. Tullos, was convicted by a Bledsoe County jury of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and was sentenced to four years imprisonment as a Range I offender. On appeal, he argues that: the prosecutor's closing argument was improper, the trial court erred in not giving the jury a charge on intoxication, the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, and the trial court erred in sentencing him to four years in confinement. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Michael E. Patrick, Waverly, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Vaughn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Alsobrooks, District Attorney General and Lisa C. Donegan, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Michael Vaughn, was convicted of attempt to commit manufacture of methamphetamine, one count of possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia for delivery, one count of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, one count of evading arrest, one count of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, one count of possession of marijuana, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. As a result, Appellant was sentenced to a total effective sentence of twenty-four years. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal. On appeal, Appellant argues that there was no probable cause for the stop, search and seizure that led to Appellant's arrest and that the trial court erred in sentencing Appellant. Because Appellant did not file a motion to suppress prior to trial and failed to raise the suppression issue in a motion for new trial, this issue is waived. Furthermore, we determine that the trial court properly sentenced appellant. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



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Showdown over domestic spying looms
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy today threatened to pursue contempt charges against the White House after it failed to meet Monday's deadline for turning over documents about a secret surveillance program.
Read more in the New York Times
Carjacking definition broadened
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled yesterday that carjacking can occur even if a victim is not in the vehicle at the time of the offense. The case at issue involved a defendant who accosted a woman soon after she got out of her car, took her keys and drove off. Writing for the unanimous court, Justice Connie Clark stated, "The risks inherent in carjacking are the same whether the offense is committed when the victim is leaving or returning to her vehicle or when she is driving it."
Download the opinion
Read more in the News Sentinel
State rejects effort to strip sheriff's certification
The state's Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission voted Friday to dismiss a complaint against former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison and rescind a decertification order imposed temporarily by Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle. Knoxville attorney Herbert S. Moncier, who filed the suit, was surprised by the decision and said he would challenge it in court. Moncier is seeking to deny Hutchison an increase in pension benefits based on a criminal contempt conviction from 2003.
The News Sentinel has more
Bradley wants cost estimate for Polk inmates
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Immigration raids make bad situation worse, says paper
A series of raids targeting suspected illegal immigrants in Maury County has led to increased fears and lawsuits against the sheriff and federal agents, writes the Tennessean in its "Our View" column today. A number of those arrested during the raids are alleging that the officers did not have warrants and that they were singled out based on their ethnicity. The paper suggests that the raids have created a "volatile atmosphere" and should be halted.
Read the opinion piece
Grand jury ruling worries prosecutors
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The Legal Times looks at the ruling and its implications
Wharton's son pleads out sex case
A C Wharton III, the son of Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, has been sentenced to two years probation under a plea agreement in a statutory rape case. In March of this year, Wharton was accused of raping a 13-year-old Knox County girl he met on the Internet. In announcing the deal, the special prosecutor stated that Wharton experienced mental issues related to prescription drugs that likely contributed to his behavior.
For more on the case see today's News Sentinel
Nashville attorney tests Senate waters
Nashville insurance lawyer Mike Doherty has become the third Democrat to express interest in challenging U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander when his current term expires in 2008. The other Democrats talking about a run are Mike McWherter, Dresden businessman and son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, and Nashville attorney Bob Tuke. Both Tuke and Doherty say they probably would not run if McWherter decided to do so. WATE Newschannel 6 reported the news today.

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New York lawyer reinstated
Jamal Johnson, formerly of Florida and now of Brooklyn, N.Y., has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after paying the annual BPR fee.
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Read their tips
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Student loans at low rates through SunTrust
The TBA and SunTrust Bank now have a Partnership Program to help alleviate the burden of student loans. Members and their families can consolidate their federal student loans at a special low fixed rate - right now as low as 5.375 percent. In addition, those with consolidation loans greater than $10,000 are eligible to reduce their interest rate by another 1.5 percent for on-time payments and automatic debit payments.
Learn more

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