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

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Court: TCCA


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.


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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.


Court: TCCA


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.


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