TBA President Eason urges restoration of Rule of Law
to Pakistani people as lawyer arrests continue

Tennessee Bar Association President Marcy Eason joined ABA President Bill Neukom and a growing number of other leaders voicing concern about the suspension of the Rule of Law in Pakistan. "Suspending the country's Constitution, terminating the independent broadcast news outlets in Pakistan, dissolving the Supreme Court and four of the High courts, forcibly detaining and arresting more than 3,000 of Pakistan's 12,000 attorneys under the guise of a terrorist emergency is a direct strike against the Rule of Law," Eason said. "We would urge our leaders to do everything possible to insist on the restoration of the Rule of Law to the Pakistani people."

Eason's comments come after the ousted chief justice of the Pakistan Supreme Court urged lawyers in the country to continue to defy the state of emergency imposed by the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, despite the mass arrests. Read a report on the protests and arrests in the New York Times
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Court: TCA


James S. Strickland, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Catherine Evonne Flowers.

Nick Rice, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jerome Bernard Flowers.


The trial court determined the Husband to be the primary residential parent of the parties' minor child and awarded Wife rehabilitative alimony in the amount of $250 per month for eighteen months. Wife takes issue with these decisions and presents this appeal in which we affirm.



Court: TCA


L. Lee Kull, Maryville, Tennessee, for the Appellants, James C. Smith, Robert L. Smith, and William D. Smith.

Albert J. Harb and Matthew A. Birdwell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, Barry A. Gregory, Billy G. Gregory, and Estelle A. Gregory.


This is an action to void a tax sale. Plaintiffs are brothers who jointly own property in Blount and Knox counties which they inherited after the death of their mother. Plaintiffs neither obtained new deeds to reflect their ownership of the property nor did they notify the appropriate property assessors' offices that they were now responsible for the payment of property taxes. Instead, Plaintiffs' deceased parents remained the record owners of both parcels for many years after their deaths. After taxes on the Blount County property went unpaid for two years, Blount County filed suit to sell the property for delinquent taxes and issued summonses for the record owners of the Blount County property. A process server attempted service at the address listed for the record owners of the Blount County property, which was the Knox County property. After many unsuccessful attempts, the process server returned the summonses "not to be found in my county." Blount County then published notice of the tax sale in a local newspaper as constructive notice to the record owners of the property. The property was purchased at the tax sale by Barry A. Gregory, who then deeded it to his parents. After the one-year statutory redemption period passed, Mr. Gregory contacted one of the plaintiffs to demand possession of the property. Plaintiffs then sued Mr. Gregory and his parents to void the tax sale. Plaintiffs claimed that the process server did not use due diligence in attempting to serve the owners of the property with notice of the tax sale and, therefore, their due process rights were violated. Plaintiffs also asserted that the Trial Court improperly took judicial notice of and relied upon letters allegedly sent by Blount County after the tax sale was held. We find that the process server used due diligence in attempting to serve the owners with notice of the tax suit and therefore, Plaintiffs' constitutional rights were not violated by the tax sale. Our decision regarding service of process pretermits our consideration of the issues raised regarding the post-sale letters. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Claiborne H. Ferguson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lia Bonds

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

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Lia Bonds, was indicted for second degree murder. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted as charged and sentenced to twenty years in incarceration. Appellant appeals the judgment of the trial court, arguing: (1) the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction; (2) the trial court erred by refusing to charge the jury with the lesser included offenses of reckless endangerment and assault; (3) the prosecutor's rebuttal argument was improper; and (4) her sentence was excessive. After a thorough review of the record, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction and that Appellant waived the issue regarding the impropriety of the prosecutor's rebuttal argument. Further, we determine that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offenses of misdemeanor reckless endangerment and assault, but that the error was harmless. However, because Appellant was improperly sentenced under the 2005 amendments to the 1989 Sentencing Act where the record contained no waiver of ex post facto provisions, we remand the matter to the trial court for resentencing.



Court: TCCA


George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Kandi Kelley, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Marcus R. Lewis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Marcus R. Lewis, appeals the revocation of his alternative sentence. He argues that there was insufficient evidence to conclude he committed a new offense while on community corrections, that he failed to complete his community service work, and that he failed to report his new arrest. We conclude the State proved by a preponderance of the evidence that, while on community corrections, the defendant was arrested for a new law violation and that the defendant failed to complete his community sedefendant's alternative sentence.



Court: TCCA


James E. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roy Nelson.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Roy Nelson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of counsel. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Hewitt Chatman, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raymond Deshun Ross.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Bill Martin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Henderson County Circuit Court jury convicted the appellant, Raymond Deshun Ross, of carjacking; aggravated assault; theft of property valued more than one thousand dollars but less than ten thousand dollars; and misdemeanor reckless endangerment as a lesser included offense of attempted second degree murder. The trial court sentenced him to twenty, ten, and eight years and eleven months, twenty-nine days, respectively, and ordered that he serve the twenty- and ten-year sentences consecutively for an effective thirty-year sentence. On appeal, the appellant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions because it fails to show he was the perpetrator of the crimes; (2) the trial court erred by sentencing him as a Range II, multiple offender because the State failed to file a notice of enhanced punishment; and (3) the trial court erred by ordering consecutive sentencing. We conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support the convictions and that consecutive sentencing was appropriate in this case. However, we conclude that the trial court erred by sentencing the appellant as a Range II, multiple offender and that the appellant's conviction for misdemeanor reckless endangerment must be merged into his conviction for aggravated assault. Therefore, we remand the case to the trial court for resentencing the appellant as a Range I, standard offender and for the entry of a corrected judgment for aggravated assault to reflect the merger.



Court: TCCA


James E. Lanier (on appeal) and Patrick McGill (at trial and on appeal), Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Willie Paul Watson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General; and Lance Webb, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Willie Paul Watson, was convicted by a jury in the Dyer County Circuit Court of two counts of assault, and he received a total effective sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days, suspended after service of ninety days. On appeal, the appellant argues that the trial court should not have required him to serve ninety days of his sentence. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Robert Jones, Shelby County Public Defender, Phyllis Aluko, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); Jennifer Johnson and Glenda Adams, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Denise Wiggins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Vanessa King, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Denise Wiggins, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of one count of aggravated child abuse and one count of aggravated child neglect of her five-year-old daughter. The trial court subsequently merged the two Class A felonies into a single conviction for aggravated child abuse. Following a sentencing hearing, Wiggins was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment as a violent offender. On appeal, Wiggins raises two issues for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the convictions; and (2) whether the sentence imposed is excessive. After review, we conclude that the evidence is sufficient to support Wiggins' conviction for aggravated child abuse. We conclude, however, that the evidence is legally insufficient to support her conviction for aggravated child neglect. With regard to sentencing, we remand for resentencing based upon the misapplication of enhancing factors and for adherence with the holding of Blakely v. Washington.



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Mukasey nomination goes to full Senate
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-8 today to send Michael Mukasey's nomination to the full Senate. He would be the nation's 81st attorney general. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that no date has been scheduled for a full Senate vote but that the vote is expected either later this week or early next week.
Read more on Law.com
Learn more about how Tennessee and Georgia senators plan to vote in the Times Free Press
Crutchfield hearing reset
A sentencing hearing for former Senator Ward Crutchfield, 78, who was to be sentenced later this month, has been rescheduled for Jan. 17.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Call for comment: Third-party billing subject of amendment
The Tennessee Supreme Court seeks comment on a petition to amend Rule 13 to permit third-party billing in assigned cases. The deadline is Dec. 6.
Read the order
Change made to Parenting Plan form
A clarification has been made to Section III (A) regarding child support in the state's Parenting Plan Form. For questions, contact Court Services Director Mary Rose Zingale
See the Parenting Plan forms on the AOC web site
Pay fees for annual reports online
Starting today, corporations and limited liability companies can submit annual reports and pay applicable fees online to the Secretary of State's office.
Find the forms from the Secretary of State here
Campbell County Bar elects new officers
The Campbell County Bar Association held its annual election Nov. 1. Officers, who are all of Jacksboro, are: David Pollard, president; Wesley Hatmaker, vice president; and Elizabeth Asbury, secretary.

Loyalty to firms low among associates
Despite a year of hefty salary increases for associate attorneys, their loyalty has never been lower, a survey of lawyers in the U.S. and U.K. shows. Fewer than one in five junior associates with less than two years' experience at major law firms in both countries expects to stay another five years, reports the London Times.

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Let the Games Begin
TennBarU is teaming up with the TBA Sports & Entertainment Law Section to present a new seminar that will help you stay current on important issues facing your clients today, such as music licensing, distribution agreements, use of musicologists in copyright infringement cases, and a class action against YouTube. Join us Nov. 14 at Belmont University's Curb Event Center for lunch at 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by an informative 4 hour CLE program.
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