Shelby County faces host of juvenile justice issues

Shelby County Commissioners met today with legal counsel to debate the next move in their effort to create a second juvenile judgeship. Some members want to petition Chancellor Kenny Armstrong to lift a stay of his May ruling, which would allow the county to fill the position until holding a special election in 2008. At the commission's meeting on Monday, discussion centered on a federal pilot program that will allow school principals and police officers in seven Memphis city schools to divert juveniles with minor non-violent offenses. The program has been criticized for not applying county wide, and Juvenile Judge Curtis Person has said it is illegal unless supervised by the court. Finally, when the commission meets next week it will consider $1.2 million in new funding to hire 24 additional juvenile court employees. The Memphis Daily News provides an overview the issues:

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 or to obtain a text version of each opinion, 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 the TBA's Membership Central.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.


Court: TCA


Harold R. Gunn, Humboldt, TN, pro se.

David A. Riddick, Jackson, TN, for Appellees.


The plaintiff-buyers entered into an installment sales contract in 1991 in which they agreed to purchase real property owned by the defendant-seller. The contract provided that upon the plaintiffs' payment of the purchase price, the defendant would provide a deed conveying the property to them free of encumbrances. In 2002, a general sessions judgment was entered against the defendant in an unrelated case, and the defendant appealed that judgment to the circuit court, where that case currently remains pending. The judgment was filed as a lien on the real property in 2002. In late 2004 or early 2005, the plaintiffs had made all necessary payments on the real property, and the defendant conveyed the property to them by warranty deed. While attempting to sell the real property in 2005, the plaintiffs discovered the existence of the 2002 judgment lien on the property, and they placed funds in escrow in order to satisfy their intended purchaser that the lien would be removed or paid. The plaintiffs filed a warrant in general sessions court against the defendant, alleging that he was liable for breach of the covenant against encumbrances contained in the warranty deed. The general sessions court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, and the defendant appealed to the circuit court. The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and sought an award of reasonable attorney's fees. The circuit court granted the motion for summary judgment, but denied the plaintiffs' request for attorney's fees. On appeal, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for a determination of reasonable attorney's fees incurred below and on appeal.


Court: TCA


Nancy L. Steelman, Memphis, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Jennifer L. Brenner, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


An inmate appealed dismissal of her small docket claim by Claims Commissioner. Since under Tenn. Code Ann. section 9-8-403(a)(2) this court has no jurisdiction to hear an appeal of a decision on the small claims docket, this appeal is dismissed.

TOWE IRON WORKS, INC., and DAVID L. TOWE, SR., v. DONALD W. TOWE, SR., SHIRLEY F. TOWE, RICHARD L. TOWE, SR., JEWEL M. TOWE, and CAROLYN E. McMURRAY, Personal Representative of the Estate of WILLAYNE TOWE and Trustees of any Trust thereunder

Court: TCA


D. Scott Hurley and Ryan N. Shamblin, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellant, Carolyn McMurray.

Lawrence E. Ault, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellants, Donald W. Towe, Sr., Shirley F. Towe, Richard L. Towe, Sr., and Jewell M. Towe.

Raymond E. Lacy, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee, Towe Iron Works, Inc.

Farrell A. Levy, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee, David L. Towe, Sr.


In this action to enforce an option to purchase contained in a lease between plaintiff/lessee and the children of the deceased lessor, the Trial Court, while finding the terms of the lease had been breached by the lessee, held that the plaintiff had properly exercised the option to purchase the property. Defendants have appealed and we reverse the Judgment of the Trial Court and remand.


Court: TCCA


Robert L. Smith and Jeffrey W. Blackshear, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Drexsel Green.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Michel Clair Bottom, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Drexsel Green, appeals his Davidson County Criminal Court conviction of first-offense driving under the influence (DUI), a Class A misdemeanor. See T.C.A. sections 55-10-401(a)(1), -403(a)(1) ( 2004). After the trial court denied the defendant's motion to suppress evidence acquired after the police had detained him, the defendant pleaded guilty in the trial court but reserved, via certified questions of law, the search and seizure issue for appeal. The focus of the Fourth-Amendment problem in this case is the legitimacy of a police officer's approach and initial questioning of the defendant at the serving counter in a Waffle House restaurant. Although the certified questions are properly reserved, the record supports the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion to suppress evidence, and we affirm the criminal court's judgment.


Court: TCCA


Brandon Raulston, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terna Hatten.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Boyd M. Patterson, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Terna Hatten, appeals the five-year sentence he received after pleading guilty to aggravated assault, a Class C felony. He argues that the length of the imposed sentence was too long and that the trial court erred in enhancing his sentence beyond the minimum of three years. After review, we affirm the judgment from the trial court.


Legal News
Legislative News
Knox Term Limits
Your Practice

Legal News
Former AG lawyer pleads guilty to DUI
Stephen Nunn, a former top lawyer in the state attorney general's office, pleaded guilty Tuesday to multiple DUI charges. He will serve two weeks in jail and two years probation, and lose his driver's license for a year. WSMV-TV News Channel 4 reported the news.

Sheriff clarifies role of immigration deputies
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall writes in today's Tennessean that much confusion exists about the role immigration deputies are playing in the county. He clarifies their role and discusses the program results to date.
Read about it
Caseload burdens Sumner County courts
Exploding dockets and standing room only has become the norm in Sumner County's General Sessions courtrooms and the county bar association plans to do something about it. On Thursday, the association will meet to discuss creating a third judgeship or a full-time referee position.
Read more in the Tennessean
Judge calls commission's investigation a 'witch hunt'
In June, the Carter County Commission authorized an investigation of a probation program offered by a local non-profit, the Cross-Roads Alcohol and Drug Association. The move was sparked by concerns that too many in the program were violating probation and ending up back in jail. Speaking out for the first time on the issue, General Sessions Judge John Walton addressed the commission this week calling the investigation a "witch hunt" and stating that the commission -- a legislative body -- has no authority to investigate an agency working for the judiciary.
The Elizabethton Star reports
Polk County approves tax hike to fund jail
The Polk County Commission unanimously approved a 10-cent property tax hike this week to fund a new jail and justice center in response to the closing of its current jail by the state fire marshal. County Mayor Mike Stinnett said the new jail should be open in October. Meanwhile, county prisoners are being held in the Bradley County jail and commissioners authorized the mayor to enter into a formal contract to continue that service.
The News Sentinel reports
State correctional facility gets new design
The Tennessee Department of Corrections received approval this week to start over in designing a new state prison in Bledsoe County, even though $1.8 million has already been spent on a design. Correction Commissioner George Little, however, told the approval committee that a new design could save as much as $22 million in construction costs. The redesign will be modeled on the new state prison in Morgan County.
The News Sentinel has the story
Mortgage mess spurs suits
Attorneys likely won't have any trouble finding defendants to sue over the meltdown in the mortgage markets and several law firms have beefed up their practices in anticipation of mortgage-related litigation. Read about the future of mortgage litigation in a piece by the New York Law Journal.
Read it on
Jail expansion costs higher than anticipated
The Cumberland County Commission learned Monday that the cost of expanding the county justice center will be significantly more than anticipated, with one contract coming in at $2.3 million over the estimate. The expansion will add four courtrooms, offices for court clerks and two general sessions judges and a 96-bed jail pod.
The Crossville Chronicle has more
Sevier County to study new justice center
What looked to be a quiet county commission meeting proved to be quite the opposite as debate raged over a proposal to study the possibility of a justice center. With some questioning the bid process used to hire a firm to conduct the study, the commission narrowly approved the $10,000 contract.
The Mountain Press has details
Legislative News
2 more join chase for Crutchfield seat
Chattanooga attorney John Wolfe and former city staff member and developer Ken Jordan are joining in the state Senate District 10 race, reports. They join Oscar Brock, the son of former U.S. Senator Bill Brock, who announced Monday that he will run as a Republican to replace Ward Crutchfield. Also in the race is Chattanooga attorney Andy Berke.
See for more
Former state representative sentenced for mail fraud
Cecil Ray Davis has been sentenced to more than four years in prison and two years of supervised release for an investment scheme that promised exorbitant returns on money loaned to him. He also was ordered to repay victims more than $10 million. Davis, who represented Gibson and Carroll counties in the state House of Representatives from 1979 to 1992, pleaded guilty to the charges in January.
The Jackson Sun has more
Knox Term Limits
How would new process work?
WATE News Channel 6 reporter Harlow Sumerford lays out how the process would work if Knox County re-does the appointment process for 12 term-limited officeholders.
Learn more
Your Practice
Sending work abroad is new norm for law firms
Using cheaper foreign lawyers to handle routine tasks such as document review and conducting due diligence is becoming a standard practice. And India is becoming the foreign destination of choice for such outsourcing, because attorneys there are trained in English-language courses that use a common-law model. But experts warn that outsourcing creates real concerns about supervision and security.
Read more from

But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

TBALink HomeContact UsPageFinderWhat's NewHelp
© Copyright 2007 Tennessee Bar Association