TBA YLD offers CLE program for new lawyers

"The New Lawyer Experience: Bridging the Gap Between Preparation and Practice" gives new lawyers the tools needed to succeed in the practice of law. The day-long course offers an introduction to a range of practice areas and practice tips, features a panel of seasoned associates, and includes a lunch and keynote address by a distinguished local attorney. In the afternoon, participants select a litigation or transactional breakout session to dig deeper on issues in their areas of practice. The CLE concludes with a networking mixer. If you are new to the practice of law in Tennessee, you need to be here! Register for the seminar, which will be offered in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville
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Court: TCA


David L. Raybin, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leonard Michael Miller.

James L. Charles, Department of Law of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, for the appellee, Civil Service Commission of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Judge: KOCH

This appeal involves the reorganization of the upper echelons of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department by the new Chief of Police. The reorganization plan, which had been reviewed and approved by the Director of Human Resources and the Civil Service Commission, abolished the Assistant Chief of Police positions and rolled back the incumbents to the rank of Captain. One of the former Assistant Chiefs of Police filed suit in the Chancery Court for Davidson County, asserting that the abolishment of the Assistant Chief of Police position did not comply with the Civil Service Commission's rules. Specifically, he argued (1) that the Assistant Chief of Police position had not been abolished but rather had been renamed and (2) that the increased use of temporary assignment ranks was not appropriate because it increased the Chief of Police's control over the highest ranking officers. The trial court determined that the reorganization plan was consistent with the Civil Service Commission's rules, and the former Assistant Chief of Police appealed. Like the trial court, we have determined that the reorganization plan is consistent with the applicable rules of the Civil Service Commission.



Court: TCA


Robin S. Kuykendall, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Joy L. Range and the Estate of Joy L. Range.

G. Earl Patton, Crossville, Tennessee; Mark E. Walker, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jennie E. Baese and Brenda Anderson.


This appeal stems from the trial court's granting of summary judgment in favor of two defendants in a lawsuit alleging defamation and tortious interference with employment. Because the record does not allow this Court to determine the basis for the trial court's decision, we vacate and remand for further proceedings.



Court: TCCA


H. Tod Taylor, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Seletta McKinnis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; C. Phillip Bivens, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Seletta McKinnis, was arrested and pled guilty to failing to appear in court. She received a sentence of "time served." The Defendant was subsequently indicted on separate offenses and applied for pretrial diversion. The prosecutor denied her application, explaining that she had previously served a sentence of confinement. She appealed to the Circuit Court, which also denied her application, and now she appeals, arguing that her "time served" sentence should not preclude her from pretrial diversion. Finding no error, we affirm the trial court's judgment.



Court: TCCA


Juni S. Ganguli, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Mario Merritt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; Greg Gilbert, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Shelby County jury convicted the Petitioner, Mario Merritt, of especially aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years in prison. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief claiming he was not afforded the effective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition, finding the Petitioner failed to prove that trial counsel was deficient and that any alleged errors caused prejudice. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Keith T. Perry, Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Dunavant, District Attorney General; Joe Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Keith T. Perry, pled guilty to second degree murder in 2000, with an agreed sentence of thirty years to be served at one hundred percent. He subsequently filed a petition for habeas corpus relief claiming the following: (1) the thirty-year sentence violated Blakely v. Washington and its progeny; (2) the thirty-year sentence violated the Tennessee Code's requirement that Range I offenders not be sentenced to more than twenty-five years; and (3) the Tennessee Code sections applicable are ambiguous. The habeas court denied the petition, and, upon a thorough consideration of the facts and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.



Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Former juvenile court director accused of wrongdoing
Anderson County officials alleged yesterday that former Juvenile Court Director Kevin Ledden padded his salary by taking paychecks of fired workers and accepting pay to teach a state class on county time. According to the county's juvenile judge and law director, Ledden also falsified grant applications and used grant money inappropriately. The officials are asking the Anderson County District Attorney's Office to investigate.
The News Sentinel has the story
Waller Lansden chair to step down, replacement named
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis Chairman Ralph Davis is leaving his post in March to join the private health care investment firm Cressey & Company as a partner. Davis served as Waller Lansden chairman for the last four years. The law firm has named John C. Tishler as chairman-elect. Tishler leads Waller Lansden's corporate restructuring and bankruptcy practice and sits on the firm's board of directors. He will serve out the remainder of Davis' term.
The Nashville Business Journal has the story
TLAP adds new position
The Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program has created a new position -- Associate Director of Outreach Services -- and filled it with Catherine Wheaton, a Case Western Reserve Law School graduate, former clerk to Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Robert Wedemeyer and former Knox County public defender. The position, which is funded by a federal grant, will focus on outreach to law schools, criminal defense attorneys, public defenders and district attorneys. For more information about TLAP call (877) 424-TLAP.

Bowers sentencing delayed
The sentencing of former state Sen. Kathryn Bowers on corruption charges has been delayed to Feb. 14 at the request of defense attorneys. Prosecutors did not object. Bowers was indicted as part of the Tennessee Waltz corruption sting and pleaded guilty to theft and extortion. The Memphis Daily News reported the development.

Coopertown mayor wins ouster appeal
The Court of Appeals has affirmed that prosecutors failed to prove Coopertown Mayor Danny Crosby engaged in corrupt or fraudulent abuse of power. With that win, Crosby says he is considering legal action against the district attorney's office and those responsible for the ouster petition. Proponents of the ouster have not said whether they intend to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.
The Ashland City Times reports
Grand jury targets Monroe County jail
A grand jury's investigation of the Monroe County jail reveals the facility is overcrowded -- sometimes by as many as 50 prisoners a day -- and unsafe. The Monroe County Advocate & Democrat catalogs the deficiencies and explores options the county may pursue.
Read more here
UT professor named director of ADR center
University of Tennessee College of Law Professor Penny White has been named director of the college's Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution. She had been serving as interim director for more than a year. Before joining the UT faculty in 2000, White served as a judge in all courts of record in the state of Tennessee.

Two essay contests on tap
Think you know how to close the gap between baby boomers and millennials on the work/life balance question? If so, Ms. JD law blog and the Project for Attorney Retention want to hear from you. The organizations are offering a $1,000 prize for the best essay of 1,500 words or less. Apply here Meanwhile, the American Bar Association has invited its members to submit essays of 600 words or less on why the legal profession is the greatest profession in the world. The first prize in that contest is $5,000. Get details here

Legislative News
Prospect for 'guns in bars' bill higher this year
The sponsor of legislation allowing pistols in establishments selling alcohol says the bill has a better chance of passage this year given the fact that Rep. Rob Briley, D-Nashville, no longer sits on the House subcommittee that has blocked the bill in the past. A strong opponent of the measure, Briley served as chair of the subcommittee until last fall when he pleaded guilty to drunken-driving charges and stepped down.
Read about this new legislative dynamic in the News Sentinel
Reception Thursday for new NBA director
The Nashville Bar Association will host a reception tomorrow, Jan. 24, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for its new executive director, Gigi Woodruff. Food, beer & wine will be served. For more details or to RSVP email Traci Hollandsworth

Disciplinary Actions
Memphis attorney suspended
King Bethel Harris III was suspended from the practice of law on Jan. 3 for one year. The disciplinary action stemmed from a complaint that he engaged in the unauthorized practice of law prior to becoming licensed in any state. Harris admitted he violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and agreed to the suspension. He was also ordered to refund $10,0000 to a client and pay the costs of the disciplinary proceedings.
Download the BPR release
TBA Member Services
Have you activated your FedEx shipping discounts?
TBA members are entitled to discounts on FedEx shipping. Did you know that TBA members are saving an average of $83 per quarter by utilizing their FedEx Association Advantage program discounts? Here's what some members have to say about their FedEx savings:

"Our firm took advantage of the Tennessee Bar Association FedEx discounts and saved over $200 on FedEx Express shipments last quarter alone. It's the best $200 we've ever saved," says member Bill Cameron of Cameron & Young in Cookeville. Start saving on your shipments today! For more information on how to enroll, call 1-800-923-7089 or
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