Many early bills take on judicial selection and election

Among the more than 1,900 bills introduced at the Senate's early filing deadline are more than 17 dealing with judicial selection and judicial elections in Tennessee. The Tennessee Bar Association has offered a comprehensive solution to the issue including merit selection, performance evaluation and retention elections. It is represented by SB1715, sponsored by Sen. Doug Overbey (R-Maryville).

Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Brentwood), who chairs the Senate Government Operations Committee -- which has jurisdiction over the selection and evaluation commissions -- is a sponsor of a half-dozen measures in the hopper. Those bills and several others continue merit selection and retention election processes, with different variations on the manner of selection. The final batch of bills include some that declare we will follow the Tennessee constitution and others making the interviews and deliberations of the selection commission subject to full government sunshine.

These bills and the abstracts of more than 600 others that the TBA will be monitoring and taking action on can be found on

the TBA's legislative page

Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

01 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - TN Court of Appeals
01 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.


Court: TSC


Court: TWCA


Robert B. C. Hale and Adam F. Glankler, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Body Panels Company, Inc.

Clyde W. Keenan, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tolbert Cates.

Judge: HAYES

While working at Employer's warehouse, Employee fell approximately ten feet from a ladder onto a metal catwalk. He was treated in an emergency room for closed head trauma and arm, hip, and neck pain. Employee sought treatment from a psychiatrist for depression and anxiety and was diagnosed with major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol dependence in remission. Employee's psychiatrist opined that as a result of the fall at work, Employee was unable to function within a work environment and that the impairment was permanent. The trial court awarded permanent total disability benefits. On appeal, Employer challenges the trial court's findings with regard to both causation and vocational disability. After review, we affirm.


Court: TCA


Larry J. Logan, McKenzie, TN, for Appellants, James Jason Free, Hank Stanfield and Frankie Stanfield

James H. Bradberry, Dresden, TN, for Appellee, Cynthia Diane Free


This is a post-divorce action seeking a change in child custody. The initial action was filed by the natural mother, the Appellee herein, and the trial court determined that primary residential custody should be with her. The paternal grandparents, the Appellants herein, also moved the court for custody of the two minor children. The trial court denied the grandparents' petition for custody. The grandparents appeal. Finding no error, we affirm.


Court: TCCA


David Brady, Public Defender; and John Nisbet, Assistant Public Defender, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Lynn Payne.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William E. Gibson, District Attorney General; Beth Willis and Doug Crawford, Assistant Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Ricky Lynn Payne, was found guilty by a jury of attempted first degree murder. He was sentenced to twenty years in the Department of Correction. In his first appeal, this Court affirmed the Defendant's conviction but vacated his sentence. The case was remanded to the trial court for resentencing. Upon remand, the trial court again sentenced the Defendant to serve twenty years in the Department of Correction. In this appeal, the Defendant argues that his sentence is excessive. The State argues that this Court should again remand this case to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Legal News
Legislative News
TennBarU CLE

Legal News
Supreme Court adopts provisional rule for guardians ad litem in parenting cases
The Tennessee Supreme Court has entered an an order establishing guidelines for attorneys and others acting as guardians ad litem for children in divorce and custody cases. This rule, with appendix, will take effect on May 1, and will remain in effect until April 30, 2010, at which time the court will evaluate its continuation in its current form or with modifications. The press release from the court explains the history of this rule-making effort.

Nashville won't get new courthouse in stimulus package after all
Although bills passed the House and Senate that included an item allocating funds for the General Services Administration to build new federal courthouses in Nashville and a number of other cities, over the weekend Nashville's money slipped out of its grip. The money "was bumped from the bill to make way for the Homeland Security headquarters," Congressman Jim Cooper told today
Opinion: 'When justice is for sale'
In this opinion piece, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press advocates renewing the plan for selecting the state's appellate court judges, saying "It avoids election races that plunge candidates for the state Supreme Court into multi-million-dollar fund-raising campaigns, and the ethical and corruption issues that arise from such campaigns' reliance on rich supporters."
Read it here
New jail means more jailers needed in Hawkins County
Completion of the new Hawkins County Jail might solve current inmate security problems, but it will create a new problem of how to pay for the additional jailers needed to run the facility. Results of a recent University of Tennessee study on staffing requirements for the new 232-bed jail said that 14 more jailers will need to be added to the current 15. has the story
Legislative News
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Panel of judges to discuss elections
The League of Women Voters of Blount County will present a public program, "Elections of Appellate Judges: The Tennessee Court System" on Feb. 23. A panel of justices will discuss methods of selecting and retaining appellate judges as well as the structure of the Tennessee court system. The panel includes Judge Sharon Lee, Tennessee Supreme Court; Judge Michael Swiney, Court of Appeals, Eastern Section; Judge Curwood Witt, Court of Criminal Appeals, Eastern Section; and Judge Kelly Thomas, also from the Court of Criminal Appeals, Eastern Section.
The Maryville Times tells you more
Nonprofit board members to benefit from seminar
A seminar, "What Every Nonprofit Board Member Needs to Know," will be hosted on Feb. 19 by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis in Nashville. The event was developed specifically for board members and trustees of nonprofit organizations. The speaker is David Fish, manager of exempt organizations technical guidance and quality assurance at the IRS's national office in Washington, D.C. He will address hot topics of interest to board members of nonprofit organizations, including the controversial Maddox Foundation case.
Find out the details of this free seminar
TennBarU CLE
Investigating & Preparing for the Preliminary Hearing
The preliminary hearing is one of the most important stages of a criminal proceeding, and this Wednesday's TennBarU CLE webcast from Nashville attorney J. David Wicker Jr. will dig into what defense counsel should know when investigating and preparing for a preliminary hearing in General Sessions Court. The one-hour program begins at noon central time.
Learn more or register now

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2009 Tennessee Bar Association