Leaders define steps needed during Rule of Law Conference

A diverse group of business, civic, religious, media, educational and professional leaders convened this afternoon in Nashville for the 2008 Tennessee Bar Association Rule of Law Conference. After an address by Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice Holder and breakout discussions, the group concluded that three steps are necessary to advance the rule of law in Tennessee.

As summarized by conference facilitator Justice Mark Martin of the North Carolina Supreme Court, those steps are (1) assuring a fair and impartial judiciary through renewal of the Tennessee Plan for merit selection, evaluation and retention of judges; (2) enhancing access to an affordable, robust system of justice; and (3) improving civics education in our schools and communities to build public trust and confidence in our system. The conference is an initiative of TBA President Buck Lewis and was co-chaired by TBA President-Elect Gail Vaughn Ashworth and Nashville lawyer Margaret Behm. A conference report will be issued to all those invited to the session in an effort to broaden support for the recommendations.
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Court: TSC


William R. Willis, Jr. and Alan D. Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald K. Nevin.

Nancy S. Jones, Chief Disciplinary Counsel, James A. Vick, Deputy Chief Disciplinary Counsel, and Krisann Hodges, Disciplinary Counsel, for the appellee, Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.


We granted this appeal to determine whether the Chancery Court properly affirmed a Board of Professional Responsibility Hearing Panel's six-month suspension of the appellant, Ronald K. Nevin. Nevin argues that the Hearing Panel erred in finding that he violated several disciplinary rules and in finding aggravating circumstances. He also argues that the six-month suspension is not commensurate with sanctions imposed in similar cases or the relevant American Bar Association Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions. After reviewing the record of the proceedings before the Hearing Panel and the Chancery Court, we affirm the Chancery Court's judgment.


CATHERINE SMITH v. SALLY BRITTINGHAM SMITH and JOHN MICHAEL CHARLES SMITH Corrected Opinion: This opinion replaces the opinion issued on Sept. 24, which failed to address Appellee Sally Brittingham Smith's request for attorney's fees incurred on appeal

Court: TCA


Joel H. Moseley, Sr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Catherine Smith.

Grant C. Glassford, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sally Brittingham Smith.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an appeal from an order joining a third party in a divorce action. During the husband and wife's marriage, husband's mother gave the couple a substantial amount of money. The wife filed for a divorce in circuit court. Soon after, the husband's mother filed a lawsuit in chancery court against the husband and wife, alleging breach of an agreement to repay the funds and to grant her a security interest in the marital home. Simultaneously, she filed a lien lis pendens on the marital home. The marital home was sold, and the chancery court transferred the husband's mother's lien lis pendens to the proceeds of the sale. The husband allowed a default judgment to be taken against him in his mother's chancery court lawsuit. Subsequently, the circuit court granted the wife's motion to join the husband's mother in the divorce proceedings as a necessary party. Thereafter, the chancery court case was transferred to the circuit court. The circuit court held a trial on the merits; it found no agreement by the wife to repay the monies given to the couple by the husband's mother, and dismissed her claim against the wife. The husband's mother was awarded damages against the husband for the full amount of the money loaned, to be paid out of his share of the proceeds from the sale of the marital home. The circuit court's distribution of the martial estate, however, effectively eliminated his share of the proceeds. The husband's mother appeals, arguing that she was improperly joined in the divorce action, and that the circuit court did not give proper effect to her lien lis pendens against the proceeds from the sale of the marital home. On appeal, we affirm, finding that the joinder was proper and finding no error in the application of the lien against the husband's share of the proceeds.



Court: TCCA


Richard A. Spivey, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellant, Denver L. Brown, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and William B. Harper, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Denver L. Brown, III, was convicted in the Sullivan County Criminal Court on his guilty plea to aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. As part of the plea agreement, the defendant accepted a sentence of eight years with the understanding that the offense of which he was convicted was statutorily ineligible for probation, but he reserved the right to have the manner of service of the sentence determined by the trial court and sought community corrections. The trial court imposed incarceration. The defendant appeals, contending that the trial court erred in determining that he was statutorily ineligible for community corrections and that he should have received a community corrections sentence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Joseph F. Harrison, Blountville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Shane Kent Rogers.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, District Attorney General; James F. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Shane Kent Rogers, pled guilty to one count of violating a motor vehicle habitual offender order, a Class E felony, and one count of vandalism over five-hundred dollars, also a Class E felony. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a multiple offender to two concurrent three-year sentences to be served in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant claims that the trial court erred when it did not grant him alternative sentencing. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Election 2008
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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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