TBA offering CLE programs on Dec. 29, 30 and 31

The year-end CLE compliance deadline is fast approaching. If your busy schedule will not allow you to complete your educational requirements sooner rather than later, you can always get them the last week of the year. The TBA's TennBarU is again offering an educational and informative selection of showcase CLE programs on Dec. 29, 30 and 31. View videos of this year's best CLEs daily from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Avenue North in Nashville. Moderators will be present, so this will be considered live programming.

See a full schedule of programs or register now

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Court: TCA


Martin W. Zummach, Assistant Shelby County Attorney, for the appellant, Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Thomas E. Hansom, Memphis, Tennessee for the Appellee, Mark Lowe.


The Shelby County Sheriff's Department terminated the employment of Deputy Mark Lowe for violations of Department policies with respect to personal conduct, adherence to law, truthfulness, consorting with persons of bad or criminal reputation, and compliance with regulations regarding its code of ethics. The Civil Service Merit Board found Deputy Lowe guilty of the charges, but determined the punishment was excessive and modified it to a three- month suspension without pay followed by a one-year probationary period. Upon review, the chancery court affirmed the decision of the Civil Service Merit Board. The Sheriff's Department appeals. We vacate the order of the chancery court for lack of jurisdiction and dismiss.



Court: TCA


J. Brooks Fox and Elizabeth A. Sanders, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee.

Parks T. Chastain, T. Tamara Gauldin, Eugene W. Ward, and Kent W. Cochran, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, acting by and through the Electric Power Board.


A terminated Nashville Electric Service employee filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. NES filed a declaratory judgment action claiming the Metropolitan Charter prevented the Human Rights Commission from investigating the complaint. The chancery court agreed with NES. We affirm.



Court: TCA


Kenneth Ray Jones, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Sandra Kaye Kemp Parish, Marilyn Coleman Aten, Angela Aten, Gary Harlan Coleman, Sr., Gary H. Coleman, Jr., Vicky Coleman Bird, Jimmie Austin Kemp, Thomas A. Kemp, Michael Kemp, David Argo and Nancy Petty.

Robert T. Keeton, Jr. And Laura A. Keeton, Huntingdon, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jerry Donald Kemp and Annie Jo Kemp.


This case comes to us as an intra-family dispute over the validity of a nonagenarian's inter vivos gifts and will devises. After this Court held that there was a presumption that Defendants had unduly influenced the decedent, the trial court found upon remand that the Defendants had overcome this presumption and, therefore, upheld the will conveyances and inter vivos gifts to the Defendants. Because the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court's finding that Defendants rebutted this presumption of undue influence, we affirm the trial court's determinations.



Court: TCA


Connie Reguli, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, Teresa Angela Ross.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Juan G. Villasenor, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


This appeal arises out of a domestic action wherein attorney Connie Reguli was held in criminal contempt for allegedly instructing her client, the father of the parties' child, to disregard an order that awarded the mother overnight parenting time. Ms. Reguli appeals her conviction on numerous grounds. We have determined the conviction must be reversed on two grounds. The order, which was an oral command proclaimed from the bench, is neither specific or unambiguous concerning when the mother's overnight parenting time would occur; therefore, an essential element of contempt, that of specificity, is missing. Further, the evidence is insufficient to establish that attorney Reguli instructed her client to violate the trial court's order.



Court: TCCA


Martin Charles Jones, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Martin Charles Jones, appeals from the trial court's order dismissing his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court dismiss the appeal for failure to file timely a notice of appeal or, in the alternative, affirm the trial court's order pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Upon full consideration and a waiver of the timely filing of the notice of appeal, we conclude that the petition fails to establish a cognizable claim for habeas corpus relief. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


James E. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rosenda Renya.

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


The petitioner, Rosenda Renya, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present a motion to suppress the evidence seized following a traffic stop. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Robert H. Stovall, Jr., Pulaski, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Debbie Dawn Wales.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Patrick S. Butler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, the State of Tennessee.


The Defendant pled guilty to theft of property in excess of $60,000, and the trial court sentenced her to ten years in prison and ordered her to pay $162,603 in restitution. The Defendant appeals, claiming that the restitution amount is excessive. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; M. Jeffrey Whitt, Assistant Attorney General; and Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

M. Jeffrey Whitt, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Regina Wilson.

Judge: SMITH

The State appeals the trial court's grant of a motion to suppress the evidence seized as a result of a search of Appellee Regina Wilson's vehicle and possessions. The search and items seized as a result thereof led to Appellee's indictment for possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell and possession of more than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to deliver. The trial court granted a pretrial motion to suppress the evidence. After a review of the record, we conclude that the search was improper and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court granting the motion to suppress.



Legal News
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Legal News
Suspicious envelope closes Capitol
The state Capitol building was sealed off this afternoon after discovery of an envelope addressed to Gov. Phil Bredesen and suspected of containing a powdery substance. The envelope, which was not opened, carried a return address that matched the Texas address on suspicious envelopes received earlier this week by other governors around the country, said Bredesen's office. The envelope was taken to the state Department of Health laboratory for testing.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Nashville Judge Robinson to retire
After more than four decades on the bench, Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Muriel Robinson will retire Feb. 15. Robinson assumed her current post in 1982 as the first woman judge elected by popular vote to a Davidson County court of record. She also became the first woman in Tennessee to be elected to the position of presiding judge. Prior to joining the bench, Robinson worked in the law office of Jack Norman Sr. She graduated from the Nashville School of Law in 1971. The Nashville Post reported the news this afternoon.

Background check abuse continues
A third state employee has been caught running unauthorized criminal background checks on the state's web site. This time it's a probation officer accused of accessing private information about his neighbors. Earlier this year, Tennessee Highway Patrolman Ronnie Shirley was dismissed after he ran checks on nearly 200 people. Earlier this month, Smyrna airport police officer Chris Sorey resigned after admitting he used the system to do the same.
Read about these cases from News Channel 5
Committee supports drug court director
The Blount County Budget Committee unanimously recommended transferring $31,000 from other accounts within the drug court budget to fund a part-time director through June 30. Circuit Court Judge David Duggan had made creation of the position a priority. The proposal must still be approved by the full county commission. The funds would come from training and tuition accounts and personnel savings resulting from making the court secretary's position part-time.
The Daily Times has the news
Justice uses new word in Tenn. case
Even a U.S. Supreme Court justice can learn new tricks. During oral arguments last month, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked Nicole Saharsky, assistant to the solicitor general, to explain a reference to romanette (i) and (ii). "Romanette?" Roberts asked. "Oh, little roman numeral," she replied. Roberts showed off his knowledge this week using the term during arguments in a Tennessee death penalty case.
The Blog of Legal Times reports
Practice Management
Rethinking legal staffing in tough economy
The longtime recommendation for lawyer/staff ratios has been three lawyers for every one secretary, although the advice is often ignored. With the economic downturn, however, staff cuts may force attorneys to share more resources. Those who work with legal staff say firms should be cautious in their reductions and not cut staff so deeply that efficiency and long-term growth plans are undermined.
Law.com has this National Law Journal article
Father of former TBA president dies
Alamo lawyer Theodore Emison, 93, died this morning following recent surgery. His son, Jim Emison, served as TBA president from 1987-1988. The senior Emison attended the Tennessee College of Law and graduated in 1937. He served for many years in the Alamo law firm of Emison & Emison PC. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. tomorrow at Ronk Funeral Home in Alamo. Memorial services will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, at the First Baptist Church.

TBA Member Services
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.
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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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