Minority partners remain underrepresented

A recent study by the National Association for Law Placement reports that only 1.88 percent of partners at major law firms are minority women, while 4.21 percent are minority men. In all, minorities account for 6.09 percent of partners, a slight gain since 1993 when the association began collecting data.

Read a summary of the study

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Court: TCA


David E. Caywood and Lucie Brackin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Diane Maire Depietto Guiliano.

Adam Noah Cohen and Mitchell D. Moskovitz, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Anthony Philip Guiliano.


This appeal arises from a divorce action. The trial court found both parties guilty of inappropriate conduct and declared them divorced pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-4-129. The trial court awarded 55 percent of the marital property to Wife and 45 percent to Husband; ordered the marital residence sold and awarded the equity to Wife; awarded Wife alimony in futuro in the amount of $4,000 per month; ordered Husband to pay for Wife's COBRA benefits and uninsured medical costs exceeding $45.00 until the benefits expire; and ordered each party to pay their own attorney's fees. Wife appeals. We modify the trial court's order with respect to life insurance and alimony as provided herein. The trial court's order is otherwise affirmed. This matter is remanded for further proceedings, if necessary, and entry of an order consistent with this Opinion.



Court: TCA


Mitchell A. Byrd, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for appellant.

Wanda G. Sobieski, Diane M. Messer and Maia Niemann, Knoxville, Tennessee, for appellee.


In this long running divorce action, the Trial Court awarded the wife's attorney $115,682.00 in attorney's fees against the husband. The principal issue on appeal is whether the award of fees was appropriate. Another issue raised by the husband is whether the division of marital property was proper. We affirm the Trial Court.



Court: TCA


Arthur F. Knight, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Anderson County Board of Education; V.L. Stonecipher, Director of Schools; and Anderson County Board of Education Members: Dr. John Burrell, Gail Martin, Greg Crawford, Ron Hagans, Peggy Hayes, and Wanda McCrosky.

J. Mikel Dixon, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Debra R. Ripley.

Judge: LEE

The issue presented in this case is whether the trial court erred in reinstating a teacher's employment after determining that her actions did not warrant her dismissal by the school board. After careful review, we affirm the judgment of the chancery court, finding that, while the teacher's conduct on the day in question was inappropriate, her termination was not warranted.



Court: TCA


J. Michael Ivey, Parsons, TN, for Appellants.

Lloyd R. Tatum, Henderson, TN, for Appellees.

Tommy E. Doyle, Linden, TN, for Appellees.


This is the third appeal of this property case involving the ownership of three parcels of real property held by tenants-in-common. We dismissed the first two appeals for lack of jurisdiction, finding that the trial court's order did not constitute a final judgment. Plaintiffs/Appellants claim ownership of the disputed tract by three modes: (1) title by prescription, (2) title by adverse possession, and (3) title by payment of property taxes pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. sections 28-2-109 and 29-2-110. Finding that Plaintiffs/Appellants have failed to meet their burden to prove ownership based upon any of the three theories, we affirm.



Court: TCCA


Michael T. Fort, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, William A. Clements, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Joseph D. Baugh, District Attorney General; and Jay Fahey, II, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, William A. Clements, Jr., appeals the Hickman County Circuit Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief, which the petitioner filed in 2000 to challenge his 1993 convictions of three counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated rape, for all of which he had received an effective sentence of 81 years. Following an evidentiary hearing, the post- conviction court determined that the petitioner had failed to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that he was incompetent to pursue post-conviction relief from November 1993 until September 2000, and, accordingly, it held that the post-conviction petition was barred by the statute of limitations. Upon our review, we affirm the order of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Garland Ergüden (on appeal) and Constance Barnes (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven Davis.

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

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Steven Davis, was convicted of one count of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and sentenced to ten years in confinement. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. Following our review of the parties' briefs, the record, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


John H. Norton, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Edward Farrar, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, James Edward Farrar, Jr., appeals from his Bedford County Circuit Court jury conviction of bribing a witness. He claims that the verdict is not supported by legally sufficient evidence and that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence a compact disc containing recorded telephone calls that the State failed to properly authenticate. Because we disagree, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Phyllis Aluko (on appeal) and William E. Robilio and Kathy Kent (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leon Flannel.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Paul Goodman and Tracye Jones, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Leon Flannel, was convicted by jury of one count of murder in perpetration of a theft and one count of premeditated murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for both convictions, which were merged. The defendant now appeals, arguing that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions and his conviction for murder in perpetration of a theft was unconstitutional; (2) the trial court failed to properly exercise its duty as thirteenth juror; (3) the trial court erred in failing to grant the defendant's motion to suppress his statement to police; (4) the trial court erred in qualifying certain state witnesses as experts; (5) the trial court erred in admitting a letter into evidence without proof of chain of custody and proper authentication; (6) the trial court made improper comments regarding witness qualification and jury instruction; and (7) cumulative error in the trial proceedings requires relief. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


John H. Norton, III, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Joel Haithcote, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, William Joel Haithcote, II, appeals from the Bedford County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, which he filed through counsel in 2007 to challenge his 2006 guilty-pleaded convictions of two counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder. Following review, we affirm the order of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Philip A. Condra, District Public Defender, and Mechelle Story, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Ricky D. Nelson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and James William Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Ricky Nelson, was convicted by a Bledsoe County Circuit Court jury of driving under the influence, a Class A misdemeanor, driving on a revoked license, a Class B misdemeanor, and driving without a license, a Class C misdemeanor. See T.C.A. sections 55-10-401 (2004) (DUI), 55-50- 301 (2004) (amended 2007) (driving without a license), 55-50-504 (2004) (amended 2007) (driving on a revoked license). The court merged the driving on a revoked license and driving without a license convictions. The trial court sentenced the defendant to serve eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail for driving under the influence and six months in jail for driving on a revoked license, to be served consecutively. The court also suspended the defendant's driving privileges for two years for violation of the implied consent law. See T.C.A. section 55-10-406. The defendant appeals, contending that insufficient evidence exists to support his convictions and that the court erred in imposing consecutive sentences. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Jerri D. Mauldin, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Frank Smith.

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

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Frank Smith, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of two counts of rape and sentenced to eight years on each count, to be served concurrently. He subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief, alleging he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied his petition. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Tenn. Code Ann. Section 48-66-103

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2008-10-15

Opinion Number: 08-164



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The Cleveland Daily Banner reports on possible candidates
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Senior U.S. District Judge James T. Giles has left the bench for a Philadelphia law firm citing financial reasons, reports the Wall Street Journal law blog. Telling reporters that he does not see Congress giving federal judges a "meaningful raise" in the near future, Giles warned that other senior judges are likely to depart the bench as well. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has argued for pay increases to avoid what some are starting to say is a constitutional crisis.

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According to the Kingsport Times News, a few Kingsport Bar Association lawyers put Tennessee 2nd House District GOP challenger Tony Shipley on defense Tuesday regarding his support for allowing voters to choose state Supreme Court judges. Shipley, who is challenging incumbent state Rep. Nathan Vaughn, heard from judges and lawyers who expressed concern about having judicial candidates raise money for campaigns.
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Policy on international court unlikely to shift
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Winkler attorney speaks out on abuse
The lawyer who defended Mary Winkler for the shooting death of her minister husband has spoken out. When attorney Steve Farese addressed a Nashville area Kiwanis Club, he said the Winkler case opened his eyes to spousal abuse. During the trial, Farese argued that Winkler had been driven to the crime by years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. WTVF News Channel 5 in Nashville reported on the speech.

Supreme Court Report
High court rejects Georgia death row appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for a Georgia man to be put to death for killing a police officer just two weeks after halting the execution to consider an appeal. The defense argues that Troy Davis deserves a new trial because seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted their testimony and new evidence suggests he was the victim of mistaken identity.
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Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is returning to teaching at Vanderbilt University with a new course that will focus on the business complexities of delivering health care. Some believe the move will fuel speculation about a gubernatorial run in 2010. Frist has said he will decide early next year whether to make that run, reports the Nashville Business Journal.

Disciplinary Actions
Newport lawyer suspended
On Sept. 29, Newport lawyer Susanna Laws Thomas was suspended for five years, retroactive to Sept. 19, 2007, by Order of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The discipline is based on a conflict of interest; attempting to tamper with evidence; obstruction of justice; disruptive conduct before a court; communicating with a represented party; failing to adequately communicate with her clients and then eventually abandoning her practice.
Read the BPR release
Knoxville lawyer censured
On Oct. 1, Steven Lee Williams of Knoxville was publicly censured by the Board of Professional Responsibility. He submitted a conditional guilty plea acknowledging that he continued to practice law while administratively suspended for 9 months.
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Former Linden attorney suspended
On Oct. 7, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended Bobby A. McGee, formerly of Linden, Tenn., for three years, less 90 days. He had been on probation from a 2006 suspension, but the probation was revoked when he was charged with a criminal offense.
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Memphis lawyer reinstated
Veronica Lynnette Fair-Miller of Memphis has been reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee after complying with requirements for continuing legal education.
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Services set for Monday for Knoxville attorney
Memorial services will be held Monday for Knoxville attorney Raymond H. Moseley, 87, who practiced law in Tennessee for more than half a century and served on the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary. A 1951 graduate of the UT College of Law where he was editor of the Law Review, Moseley began his legal career working for the newly formed city of Oak Ridge, later practicing with Hodges & Doughty. Moseley moved to Chattanooga in 1956 and practiced trial law for more than four decades before returning to Knoxville in 1998 to join his son Stephen's firm, Lacy & Moseley. Family visitation will be at noon on Monday at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, with a memorial service to follow immediately thereafter. Moseley will be buried with full military honors at the National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be directed to the American Heart Association or Alive Hospice of Nashville.

Lecture focuses on Gulf Coast guest workers
On Oct. 20 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., the Vanderbilt Law Social Justice Program will present a lecture by Jennifer J. Rosenbaum, counsel to the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, on the plight of guest workers who moved to the United States to work in post-Hurricane Katrina clean up efforts. Rosenbaum argues the workers were lured to America with false promises of permanent residency and faced deplorable working conditions once they arrived. The event will be held in the Hyatt Room of the law school with a reception to follow.
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