Law firms with pro bono policies to be honored

Six Tennessee law firms have now adopted formal law firm pro bono policies encouraging the lawyers in the firm to do pro bono work. As part of the Justice 4ALL initiative, TBA President Buck Lewis has written the leaders of Tennessee's law firms to encourage greater participation in that effort. At the Access to Justice conference at Manchester in October and again at the recent new lawyer admission ceremony in Memphis, Chief Justice Janice Holder also urged law firms to adopt a formal pro bono plan. Law firms that have already adopted pro bono policies are: Adams & Reese, Baker Donelson, Constangy Brooks, Stites & Harbison, Woolf McClane and Wyatt Tarrant.

Firms that have adopted programs by the end of the year will be honored by the chief justice at the TBA's Annual Public Service Awards Luncheon set for Jan. 17. The luncheon will be held in the Tennessee State Capitol during the annual TBA Leadership Conference.

Find out more about model firm pro bono policies

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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WADDELL E. JOHNSON V. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Waddell E. Johnson, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Petitioner, Waddell E. Johnson, appeals the trial court's denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, for this Court to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion. We grant the motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/johnsonw_111108.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JACK T. JONES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

John Pellegrin, Gallatin, Tennessee; Peter D. Heil, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jack T. Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

In April 2007, the defendant, Jack T. Jones, pled guilty to four counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. The defendant was subsequently sentenced as a Range I offender to nine years on each count, with the sentences on three of the four counts to be served consecutively, resulting in an effective sentence of twenty-seven years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly enhanced his sentences for each individual count based on facts not found by the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, a violation his Sixth Amendment rights as interpreted by the Tennessee Supreme Court in State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733, 740-41 (Tenn. 2007) ("Gomez II"). The defendant also argues that the trial court improperly imposed consecutive sentences in that the proof established at the sentencing hearing did not justify the imposition of consecutive sentences and that the imposition of consecutive sentences also violated his Sixth Amendment rights as interpreted in Gomez II. After reviewing the record, we conclude that the trial court's enhancement of the defendant's individual sentences constituted plain error, and we accordingly reduce the defendant's sentence on each count from nine years to eight years. However, as Sixth Amendment concerns are not implicated by the imposition of consecutive sentences, and because the evidence produced at the sentencing hearing supported the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentences, we affirm that portion of the trial court's judgments. In sum, we reduce the defendant's total effective sentence from twenty-seven years to twenty-four years.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/jonesj_111108.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEVIN ALFRED TESTON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Donald E. Spurrell (on appeal), Johnson City, Tennessee, and Joe Harrison (at trial), Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kevin Alfred Teston.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Kevin Alfred Teston, pleaded guilty to one count of resisting arrest, one count of attempted child neglect, and one count of attempt to obtain a controlled substance, Hydrocodone, by fraud. In exchange for his guilty pleas, the defendant received concurrent sentences of six months for each misdemeanor conviction and three years for the felony conviction for a total effective sentence of three years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred by denying any form of alternative sentencing and imposing confinement. Following our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the trial court's sentencing decision.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2008/testonk_111108.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
TennBarU CLE
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Robinson focus of news investigation
A series by a Nashville television station is focusing on judges, and not favorably. Yesterday's segment followed Davidson County General Sessions Judge Gale Robinson, reporting that while his courtroom was full of people waiting for their cases to be heard, he was miles away tending to a second job at his funeral home business.
Watch it on NewsChannel5.com
Norris is DA's 'Legislator of the Year'
Tennessee Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris was recently honored by the Tennessee Conference of District Attorneys General at the organization's annual convention in Knoxville. Norris received the group's 2008 "Legislator of the Year" award in recognition of his outstanding leadership and continuing efforts to improve the criminal justice system in Tennessee.
Read more in the Dyersburg State Gazette
Former judge Austin out of federal prison
Former Roane County judge Thomas Alva Austin has been released from federal prison to a halfway house in Knoxville. His projected release date is April 13, 2009. Austin, 60, was indicted by a federal grand jury in January 2006 on seven counts of extortion and one count of money laundering. He later worked out a deal with federal authorities and pled guilty to three counts of extortion.
The Roane County News reports
White House email lawsuits can go forward, judge says
U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy ruled that two private groups may pursue their case as they press the government to recover millions of possibly missing electronic messages from within the White House. The government had argued that the courts did not have the authority to order the White House to retrieve any missing e-mails. The nine-page draft document about the e-mail problems invites companies to bid on a project to recover missing electronic messages. The end date for the work was listed as April 19, 2009.
Find out more from the Commercial Appeal
Legislative News
Hilleary not interested in Secretary job, but Bryson is
As former U.S. Rep. Van Hilleary and former state Republican Party chairman Bob Davis say they are not interested in the Secretary of State's job, all eyes turn to former state Sen. Jim Bryson, who made a long-shot bid to unseat Gov. Bredesen in 2006.
The News Sentinel reports
Republicans will vote together for House top spots
All 50 Republican members of the state House of Representatives have signed a pledge to vote for a member of their party for the top two House leadership positions, House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower said today.
The News Sentinel tells you more
TennBarU CLE
Summary Judgment in Tennessee after Hannan v. Alltel
The Supreme Court's decision in Hannan v. Alltell provides a new interpretation of the summary judgment standard in Tennessee. Learn more about the decision in a TennBarU webcast on Wednesday, Nov. 12, featuring Professor Judy Cornett of the University of Tennessee College of Law. Cornett is an expert in this area of the law and is cited in the court's majority and dissenting opinions. The one-hour program begins at 11 a.m. central time.
Learn more or register now
TBA Member Services
Health savings accounts now available
The TBA has partnered with First Horizon Msaver Inc. to offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and HSA-qualified health plans for individuals and groups to members. HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts that let you set aside money to pay for current and future medical expenses. For more information, or to obtain an instant quote for an HSA-qualified health plan, call the TBA's dedicated toll-free customer care line at (866) 257-2659 or visit the TBA member web site.
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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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