ABA OK's conditional admission for those with addictions, mental problems

This afternoon the American Bar Association adopted a model rule that would grant conditional admission to the practice of law to applicants who have experienced chemical dependency or mental health conditions that otherwise would have rendered the applicant unfit to practice law. The rule would grant conditional admission if the applicant demonstrates recent rehabilitation or successful treatment.

The TBA-backed resolution was sponsored by the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs, chaired by Memphis Judge Robert "Butch" Childers. The ABA's 555-member policymaking House of Delegates adopted the measure by voice vote over objections by some groups involved in lawyer discipline within the ABA. The vote was taken during the ABA's Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles.


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Court: TCA


James L. Harris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jerry Freeman, Marilyn Lopez, and Kristin Courtemanche.

Walter W. Bussart, Lee Bussart Bowles, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Lewisburg Housing Authority.


The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant public housing authority, dismissing claims by its former employees for retaliatory discharge in violation of the Tennessee Public Protection Act and for constructive discharge based on a racially hostile work environment in violation of the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Because we find that the employees failed (1) to establish an essential element of a claim for retaliatory discharge or (2) to show that the hostile work environment was racially discriminatory, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed in all respects.



Court: TCCA


Jackie R. Russell, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Lisa Naylor, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Jackie R. Russell, appeals the summary dismissal of his petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner alleges that his sentence was unconstitutionally imposed based on Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004). Following a review of the record, we conclude that the Petitioner has failed to allege any ground that would render the judgments of conviction void. The judgment of the Davidson County Criminal Court summarily dismissing the petition is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


J. Chase Gober, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Louis Saine, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Amy Hunter Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Robert Louis Saine, Jr., appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 2006 convictions for aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and being a felon in possession of a weapon, a Class E felony. He received an effective sentence of eight years. He contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty pleas were unknowing and involuntary. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Roger E. Nell, District Public Defender, and Rebecca F. Stevens, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Vincent D. Steele.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; John W. Carney, District Attorney General; and C. Daniel Brollier, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Vincent D. Steele, was convicted of possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell, a Class B felony, and sentenced as a Range II, multiple offender to thirteen years in the Department of Correction. In this direct appeal, he presents a single issue for our consideration: whether the evidence presented at his trial was sufficient to establish that he had the intent to sell the cocaine that he possessed. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Reginol L. Waters, Pro se, Whiteville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Alice B. Lustre, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HAYES

The Appellant, Reginol L. Waters, appeals the summary dismissal of his pro se petition for the writ of error coram nobis by the Davidson County Criminal Court. In his petition, Waters alleged the existence of newly discovered evidence in the form of a "fraud upon the court" perpetrated by the trial court, the State, and defense counsel. On appeal, Waters argues that the coram nobis court erred in summarily dismissing the petition as untimely and, further, that the court was required to recuse itself from the coram nobis proceedings. Following review, we affirm dismissal of the petition.


Applicability of Certain Statutes to the City of Tullahoma

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-02-11

Opinion Number: 08-23



Legislative News
Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legislative News
Wilder in hospital for pneumonia
State Sen. John Wilder, 87, has been in a Nashville hospital since last Wednesday with a case of pneumonia. "He's on antibiotics and is getting better everyday," sad Mark Brown, spokesman for the Senate Democratic Caucus. Family members anticipate Wilder will be released from the hospital on Wednesday to recuperate at his West Tennessee home, Brown said. "He told the nurses he wanted to walk downtown and go to the Senate."
Read about it in the Tennessean
Rep. Bell breaks leg fighting fire
A Tennessee lawmaker who is also a volunteer firefighter is recovering after he broke his leg in a fall while helping fight a fire over the weekend. State Rep. Mike Bell of Riceville went home Monday from a Cleveland hospital where he was taken after the accident Saturday.
The News Sentinel has more from the AP
Legal News
Applicants for Chancery position are in
The following people have applied for the 20th Judicial District Chancery Court vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Richard Dinkins to the Court of Appeals: Julie M. Burnstein, attorney, Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry, Nashville; Jefre S. Goldtrap, attorney, Joelton; Russell T. Perkins, Attorney General's Office, Whites Creek; Cristi Eileen Scott, clerk and master, Davidson County Chancery Court, Nashville; Sarah Stein, attorney, Mitch Grissim & Associates, Nashville; and Matthew Sweeney, attorney, Baker Donelson, Nashville. Today was the deadline for filing for this vacancy.

Deadline is Wednesday for Circuit seat, 6 have applied
The following people have applied for the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Walter Kurtz: Joseph Pitts Binkley Jr., attorney, Nashville; Jefre Scot Goldtrap, attorney, Joelton; Marian LeRoy Kohl, judicial clerk/special master, Judge Hamilton Gayden's office, Nashville; Mary Ashley "Marsh" Nichols, special master, Davidson County Circuit Court; Russell T. Perkins, Attorney General's Office, Whites Creek; and Sarah Stein, attorney, Mitch Grissim & Associates, Nashville. The deadline to apply for this vacancy is Feb. 13.
To apply, go to the AOC web site
Does 'shield law' cover blogger as a journalist?
An investigation into who leaked information about the murder of a Memphis police officer to a blogger could test the state's shield law. The blogger, Thaddeus Matthews, posted a statement by the accused, Dexter D. Cox, in which Cox said he killed Vidulich in self-defense after his attempt to extort the officer went awry. Shelby County District Attorney Gen. Bill Gibbons has launched an investigation to determine who inside the police department released the statement. Those responsible, Gibbons said, may have violated Tennessee's law prohibiting misuse of official information, a misdemeanor. Although Matthews has not yet been subpoenaed, such a subpoena could lead to the first test of Tennessee's shield law -- which defines a journalist as "a person ... who is independently engaged in gathering information for publication or broadcast" -- by nontraditional media.
The Commercial Appeal has the story
Mediators sought in Anderson County
Community Mediation Services, a United Way of Anderson County agency, seeks volunteer mediators for the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program. VORP is a restorative justice program that began in Anderson County in 1986 as the first such program in Tennessee.
The Oak-Ridger has more information
Anna Mae leaves for China
Anna Mae He, the little girl at the center of an emotional custody battle between her Chinese birth parents and the American couple who raised her from an infant, boarded a plane Saturday headed for China with her birth parents. The Tennessee Supreme court gave custody to her birth parents, Jack and Casey He; they were reunited with her this summer. The Hes are going to China because an immigration judge gave them until May to voluntarily leave or else they'd be deported,
WREG-TV reports.
Nebraska bars electrocution, seeks other method
The Nebraska Supreme Court is rejecting the use of the electric chair to execute prisoners. And that means Nebraska will have to come up with a new method of execution -- since, until now, it was the only state in which no other method was used.
WMC-TV has the AP story
Lerach gets 2 years federal prison time
A once-mighty partner at the nation's biggest and best-known plaintiffs securities firm was given a two-year federal prison sentence today for his role in an alleged law firm scheme to pay $11.3 million in kickbacks to lead plaintiffs in securities class actions. In addition to the prison term, William Lerach, 61, who formerly ran the West Coast operations of Milberg Weiss before the office spun off into a separate firm headed by Lerach, must also complete 1,000 hours of community service and repay about $8 million in fines and restitution.
ABAJournal.com has the story
Judge, author Gayden at Davis-Kidd tonight
Davidson County Circuit Court judge "Kip" Gayden's new novel, A Miscarriage of Justice" is a retelling of an actual murder that happened during the suffrage movement. His inspiration for the book started with yellowed Nashville Banner and Tennessean news clippings about a 1913 Gallatin killing, the devastating fallout of an illicit affair between a doctor's wife and her diabolical paramour. The author appears 7 p.m. tonight at Davis Kidd Booksellers in Nashville.
The Nashville Scene writes this review
TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at 1-800-368-2734
or get an online rate quote

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