Swearing-in ceremony highlight of TBA Academy

A select group of Tennessee attorneys will soon experience the honor of being admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in a private swearing-in ceremony at the 25th Annual TBA Academy. This year's Academy is scheduled for Dec. 14-15. Join TBA President Buck Lewis and other leaders in the Tennessee legal community in this exciting program.

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TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

JEANETTE TACKER v. MICHAEL DAVIDSON

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William T. Winchester, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Davidson.

No appearance by the appellee, Jeanette Tacker.

Judge: KURTZ

This appeal concerns a contempt proceeding arising from the alleged failure of the appellant to pay child support and other expenses as required by a prior court order. Neither the appellant nor counsel for the appellant appeared at the hearing below held on the issue of his contempt. The trial court found the appellant to be in contempt for nonpayment of his court-ordered obligations; the appellant was also taxed with attorney's fees for the appellee. Because the trial court failed to find that the appellant possessed the present ability to pay and also failed to find that he was in willful noncompliance with the court's prior order, we reverse that part of the decision below finding the appellant to be in contempt as well as awarding attorney's fees, and we remand for further proceedings. We leave undisturbed the trial court's finding that the appellant was in arrears on his obligations to the appellee.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/tackerj_080508.pdf


DEVONNA TAYLOR v. BRANDICUS McKINNIE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jennifer Twyman King, Jackson, Tennessee, for Appellant Devonna Taylor.

David Wayne Camp and Michael Brandon Barber, Jackson, Tennessee, for Appellee Brandicus McKinnie.

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves modification of a parent's status as primary residential parent. The mother and the father never married, and the mother was the children's primary residential parent. The father filed a petition to modify, requesting to be named the primary residential parent. As a material change in circumstances, he alleged that the children had been living primarily with him for the past several months. After a hearing, the juvenile court established the father as the primary residential parent, gave the mother alternate parenting time, and set child support payments for the mother. The mother appeals, arguing that she never received proper notice of the father's petition to modify, that there had been no material change in circumstances, and that the evidence did not support a finding that designating the father as the primary residential parent was in the children's best interest. We affirm, finding that the mother waived her challenge to the sufficiency of service of process, and that the evidence supports the designation of the father as the primary residential parent.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2008/taylord_080508.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BENJAMIN A. MCALISTER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Gookin, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Benjamin A. McAlister.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Shaun Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Benjamin A. McAlister, pled guilty in the Madison County Circuit Court to simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia subject to reservation of a certified question on appeal. The Defendant then applied for and was granted judicial diversion under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-313. On appeal, the Defendant presents the following certified question for our review: whether he voluntarily consented to the search of his residence. As provided by our diversion statute, no judgment of conviction was entered and, as such, we conclude that the Defendant has no appeal as of right. Because this Court lacks jurisdiction to review the appeal, the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/mcalisterb_080508.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CHRISTY REYNOLDS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul E. Meyers, Assistant Public Defender, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christy Reynolds.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and James Thompson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Christy Reynolds, pled guilty in the Madison County Circuit Court to three counts of promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine subject to reservation of a certified question on appeal. The Defendant then applied for and was granted judicial diversion under Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-313. On appeal, the Defendant presents the following certified question for our review: whether Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-17-433(a)(2) is controlling and, therefore, the principles of statutory construction prevent the State from prosecuting the Defendant under subsection (a)(1). As provided by our diversion statute, no judgment of conviction was entered and, as such, we conclude that the Defendant has no appeal as of right. Because this Court lacks jurisdiction to review the appeal, the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/reynoldsc_080508.pdf


JIMMY LESLIE SLUDER v. JACK MORGAN, WARDEN AND STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. Vogel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jimmy Leslie Sluder.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and John Bledsoe, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Jimmy Leslie Sluder, appeals the Morgan County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Petitioner was convicted by a jury of second degree murder and pled guilty to aggravated assault, two counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury, and driving on a revoked license. The focus of the Petitioner's argument is that he was improperly sentenced as a Range II offender and that the trial court erred by applying enhancement factors not found by a jury. In prior decisions of this Court, we addressed this precise claim of the Petitioner and determined it to be without merit. We affirm the order summarily dismissing the petition.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/sluderj_080508.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Winkler takes custody of children
Mary Winkler has taken custody of her three daughters, after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the 2006 shooting death of her minister husband. A court order giving Winkler custody has not been completed, but the custody case between the grandparents and Winkler is expected to conclude soon.
See the Tennessean for more
Kingsport bar elects new officers
The Kingsport Bar Association has elected new officers for the 2008-2009 bar year. Donald Mason with Shine & Mason takes over as president, while Jimmie Miller with Hunter, Smith & Davis LLP assumes the position of president-elect. Steven Huret with Wilson, Worley, Moore, Gamble & Stout PC is the new vice president. Secretary is Steven Rose with West & Rose, while Matthew Wimberley with Hunter, Smith & Davis LLP takes over as treasurer. All are from Kingsport.

Hearing in Knox church shooting delayed
Knox County Public Defender Mark Stephens says his case defending alleged church gunman Jim David Adkisson "will more than likely be a mental status case." Read what legal experts have to say about what Stephens is up against.
The Knoxville News Sentinel has details
Voters unlikely to reject judicial choices in elections
Voters will have a chance to reject Gov. Phil Bredesen's appointments of two Tennessee Supreme Court justices and five appeals court judges this week, but statistics show the chances are slim.
WATE News 6 has this AP report
Anti-tobacco lawyer reports to Ky. prison for bribery
Anti-tobacco lawyer Richard "Dickie" Scruggs reported to a federal prison in eastern Kentucky on Monday to begin serving a five-year sentence for conspiring to bribe a judge. Two associates had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy and cooperated with authorities. They have not been sentenced and are working with authorities on at least one other case in which they say Scruggs tried to influence a judge.
The Leaf Chronicle has the story
Bankruptcy lawyers busier than ever
The hurting economy is helping keep bankruptcy attorneys busy in Middle Tennessee. One Nashville attorney estimates his workload has increased 25 percent since last year. See the Tennessean for an article on this. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has a related report about bankruptcy filings becoming more costly.

TBA Member Services
August TBJ outlines recovery of lost profits
The August issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal addresses the evolution of Tennessee law regarding lost profits. You'll also find a feature story on new penalties for attorneys who give tax advice and another story on the retrial of Harry Thaw. In addition, TBA President Buck Lewis writes about the Tennessee Plan, Donald Paine talks about the construction statute of repose, Dan Holbrook covers Grantor Trusts, and Bill Haltom praises "Real Lawyers." You may have seen the Journal in your mailbox already, or you can view it online here

Free online legal research is hot TBA benefit
Online legal research is available free to all Tennessee Bar Association members through an agreement with Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm. The new TBA member benefit is national in scope and offers TBA members unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing -- all at no cost.
Log in now to try it out

 
 
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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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