TBA announces Access to Justice Award recipients

The Tennessee Bar Association today announced the recipients of the 2007-2008 Access to Justice Awards. Winners are: Ross Booher with Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville, who will receive the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award for his pro bono work on behalf of the Kipp Academy and an armed forces client; Russell Overby who will receive the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award for representing indigent clients at the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands; and Peggy Smith, a recent graduate of the Nashville School of Law, who will receive the Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award for her work assisting the Tennessee Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Awards will be presented at the TBA's annual public service luncheon on Jan. 19, 2008 in Nashville.
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Court: TCA


John Edward Herbison, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Frank Harden, Jr.

Phillip Alden Noblett, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Chattanooga.

The owner and operator of an adult theater/bookstore in Chattanooga was found guilty and fined fifty dollars for violating a municipal ordinance prohibiting the operation of an adult entertainment business without a license issued by the City. Mr. Harden does not deny that he operated his business without the required license but contends that the judgment should be vacated because the City of Chattanooga failed to comply with the requirements of the ordinance by initially refusing to accept his proffered application and after receiving such application, failing to notify him as to whether it had been approved or denied. Although the City's noncompliance is not sanctioned by this Court, we affirm the judgment of the trial court due to the particular facts presented in this case. At the time Mr. Harden submitted his application, a prior court order prohibited the City from issuing a license for an adult entertainment business at the location of the defendant's business until November of 2006 due to previous revocation of a license at that location. Therefore, even had the City followed its procedures, Mr. Harden could not have been granted a license at that location.



Court: TCA


Wendell K. Hall, Sevierville, Tennessee, for appellant.

William A. Reeves, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee, Anderson County Election Commission. Harry L. Lillard, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for appellee, Jerry Creasey. Michael W. Ritter, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for appellee, John Shuey.


The Trial Court dismissed this election contest on Motion. On appeal we hold the allegation that enough illegal votes were cast to change the outcome of the election when taken as true stated a cause of action.


FRANKS dissenting


Court: TCA


Robert A. Talley of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellant, Garrison's Custom Cabinets, Inc.

Eulyse M. Smith of Memphis, Tennessee for Appellee, John Kirk Tarver, et ux


Based on a Special Master's report, the Circuit Court of Shelby County entered judgment against the appellant for damages for breach of a contract to install cabinets in the appellee's home. The appellant contends that the trial judge did not independently review the evidence in the record and that the damage award was not supported by the evidence. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Reginald Williams, Clifton, Tennessee, pro se Appellant.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Jennifer L. Brenner, Civil Rights and Claims Division, NaTennessee Board of Probation and Parole.

Judge: LEE

Reginald Williams, an incarcerated state inmate, was denied parole by the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole. After losing his administrative appeal, he filed a petition for writ of certiorari in chancery court. Mr. Williams argues that (1) the Board's use of amended rules and guidelines that were not in effect at the time of his sentencing in 1982 are a violation of the State and Federal Ex Post Facto Clauses and (2) the Board's stated reason of "seriousness of offense" for denial of parole is arbitrary and in excess of the Board's discretion. In dismissing the petition, the trial court determined there was no ex post facto violation and that the Board may consider "seriousness of offense" in deciding parole. After careful review, we find no error and affirm.



Court: TCCA


Carthel L. Smith, Jr., Lexington, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby Joe McCauley.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred Lynn Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Bobby Joe McCauley, pled guilty to first degree felony murder and received a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. In this post-conviction appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel relative to his mental health condition and whether his plea was knowingly entered. The trial court denied relief, and we affirm that judgment.



Court: TCCA


William D. Massey and Lorna S. McClusky, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); and Coleman W. Garrett and Jocelyn V. Henderson, Memphis, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Antonio Oliver.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and James A. Wax, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Antonio Oliver, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree murder. He was sentenced as a violent offender to life in the Department of Correction. In this direct appeal, he claims that insufficient evidence exists to support his conviction and that he is entitled to a new trial based upon prosecutorial misconduct during voir dire, opening statement, and closing argument. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Paul E. Meyers, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Antonio Lamar Osborn.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and James W. Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Antonio Lamar Osborn, appeals the revocation of his probation, arguing that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to modify his probation order because more than thirty days had elapsed since the entry of the order. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender, and Trent Hall (at trial) and Phyllis L. Aluko (on appeal), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Szumanski Stroud.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Michelle L. Kimbril-Parks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Szumanski Stroud, appeals from his Shelby County Criminal Court jury trial convictions of two counts of aggravated assault, Class C felonies, for which he received seven-year and six-month sentences, to be served consecutively in the Department of Correction as a Range II offender. In this appeal, he claims (1) that the evidence is not sufficient to support his convictions, (2) that the trial court erroneously instructed the jury on the definition of "intentionally" and "knowingly" mental states, and (3) that he was excessively sentenced. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Robert Jones, District Public Defender; Phyllis Aluko (on appeal) and Robert Felkner (at trial), Assistant District Public Defenders, for the appellant, Demarcus Young.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Patience Branham and Marianne Bell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant was convicted by a Shelby County jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and sentenced to eight years in prison as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, the defendant contends that the evidence produced at trial was insufficient to support the jury's guilty verdict, and he also contends that the trial court committed plain error in admitting evidence of the robbery victim's identification of the defendant as the perpetrator. After reviewing the record, we conclude that the evidence produced at trial was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction, and that the identification issue is waived on appeal. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



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Guide to pro bono assistance
The TBA YLD has released a new resource to help volunteer attorneys provide meaningful legal services to victims of natural disasters. The 83-page document addresses a wide range of legal and social service issues disaster victims most frequently face. And unlike other resources that have been used in the past, this manual is Tennessee specific.
Download a copy today

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