Memphis party to kick off Law Week activities

Join in the celebration of Law Week with a free kickoff party on April 25 in downtown Memphis. All members of the legal community are invited to the Court Square party, which will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and feature free barbeque, wine, beer, soft drinks and live music. The event is hosted jointly by the Tennessee Bar Association, Memphis Bar Association, Association for Women Attorneys, Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association, Memphis/Mid-South Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Memphis Bar Foundation, Young Lawyers Division of the Memphis Bar Association, Association of Legal Administrators, Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance and Memphis area court reporters. Download the flyer for more information.

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Court: TCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Juan G. Villasenor, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for appellant, State of Tennessee ex rel Katrina Weeks.

Steven B. Ward, Madisonville Tennessee, for appellee, Christopher D. Kirkland.


The Trial Court entered Judgment for back child support, but barred the State from enforcing the Judgment though passport denial. We reverse the Trial Court.


Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William Cox, Jr., District Attorney General; and Boyd Patterson, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellant, State of Tennessee.

Ardena J. Garth, District Public Defender; Christian Coder and Donna Robinson Miller, Assistant District Public Defenders, attorneys for appellee, Frank Bennie Jackson, Jr.


A Hamilton County grand jury indicted the defendant, Frank Bennie Jackson, Jr., for possession of cocaine for resale, driving without a license, and failure to stop at a traffic signal. The defendant filed a motion to suppress alleging that the search of his vehicle incident to a custodial arrest was illegal because he should have received a citation in lieu of arrest for driving without a license and running a red light, both class C misdemeanors. At the hearing on the motion to suppress, the trial court agreed and suppressed all evidence seized as a result of the search incident to arrest. It is from this order that the state now appeals. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Gerald L. Gulley, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Dexter Lewis McMillan.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; James E. Gaylord, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Ta Kisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Dexter Lewis McMillan, pled guilty in the Knox County Criminal Court to two counts of driving under the influence (DUI), two counts of driving on a revoked license, two counts of resisting arrest, two counts of assault, one count of evading arrest, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of possession of cocaine. The appellant received a total effective sentence of two years. Thereafter, the appellant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, alleging that his pleas were not knowing and voluntary due to the effect of forced medication he was taking at the time of his pleas. The trial court denied the motion, and this appeal followed. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Martha Yoakum, District Public Defender, and Charles A. Herman, Sr. Assistant Public Defender, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Larry E. Rathbone and Veronda Gean Fleeman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; and Scarlett E. Ellis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendants, Larry E. Rathbone and Veronda Gean Fleeman, were convicted of two counts of child rape, Class A felonies, three counts of aggravated sexual battery, Class B felonies, and one count of attempted child rape, a Class B felony. Thereafter, Defendant Rathbone received a total effective sentence of fifty-six years, and Defendant Fleeman received a total effective sentence of forty-six years. On appeal, the following issues are presented for review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain each of the defendants' convictions; and (2) whether the trial court erred in sentencing the defendants. Following a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we reverse and vacate Defendant Fleeman's convictions for criminal responsibility for child rape, attempted child rape, and aggravated sexual battery as reflected in counts 7 through 11 of the indictment. We affirm Defendant Fleeman's conviction for aggravated sexual battery as reflected in count 12 of the indictment. We affirm Defendant Rathbone's convictions for child rape, attempted child rape, and aggravated sexual battery as reflected in counts 1, 3, 5, and 6 of the indictment. However, we conclude that the trial court failed to merge two convictions for aggravated sexual battery based on alternative theories, and that the trial court did not follow proper procedures in imposing consecutive sentences. We therefore remand this case to the trial court for merger of Defendant Rathbone's convictions for aggravated sexual battery as reflected in counts 2 and 4 of the indictment into his convictions for child rape as reflected in counts 1 and 3 of the indictment, and for a new sentencing hearing regarding consecutive sentencing.

CORRECTION: Change made on page 1 to counsel representing the defendant

Court: TCCA


Michael R. Giaimo (on appeal), Livingston, Tennessee, and Thomas H. Bilbrey (at trial), Assistant Public Defender, Lafayette, Tennessee, for the defendant, Jeremy C. Watkiss.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Howard Lee Chambers, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Jeremy C. Watkiss, was convicted of passing a forged instrument in an amount greater than $10,000 but less than $60,000, a Class C felony. He was sentenced as a Range I standard offender to three years and ordered to serve ninety days in jail and six years on supervised probation. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by admitting an affidavit of forgery into evidence in violation of the Confrontation Clauses of the Tennessee and United States Constitutions, and in violation of the Tennessee Rules of Evidence pertaining to admission of hearsay statements. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we dismiss the defendant's appeal for failure to file a timely notice of appeal.


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Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.

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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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