TBA launches statewide 4ALL media campaign

Working with broadcasters across Tennessee, the TBA has launched a campaign to build awareness of the access to justice crisis facing the state and highlight efforts being made by Tennessee attorneys to help those unable to afford legal help. The campaign video has been distributed to 35 television stations across Tennessee and at radio stations in every market. The campaign continues through the end of April.

Watch the spot or learn more about the 4ALL campaign now

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Court: TSC



Court: TCCA


Michael G. Hatmaker, Jacksboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Travis Burris.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; Scarlett Wynne Ellis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Travis Burris, was convicted by a Campbell County Criminal Court jury of sexual battery, a Class E felony. See T.C.A. section 39-13-505 (2003) (amended 2005). He received a two-year sentence as a Range I offender, to be served as forty-five days in jail and four years of probation. On appeal, he contends that insufficient evidence exists to support his conviction because the State failed to prove he committed the offense for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


H. Marshall Judd, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tony Lee Crowe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; William Gibson, District Attorney General; and David Patterson and Beth Willis, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant-appellant, Tony Lee Crowe (hereinafter "Crowe"), was convicted by a jury of two counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. He received an effective sentence of sixteen years' imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction. He now appeals challenging (1) the sufficiency of the evidence, (2) whether the trial court properly exercised its role as the thirteenth juror, and (3) the denial of his amended motion for new trial based on new evidence. After reviewing the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm Crowe's convictions but remand the case for the sole purpose of considering the third amended motion for new trial.



Court: TCCA


J. Chase Gober, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gerald L. Lewis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret T. Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Gerald L. Lewis, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Pursuant to a plea agreement, the petitioner pled guilty to second degree murder, a Class A felony, and received an eighteen-year sentence to be served at 100%. On appeal, the petitioner contends that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered due to the ineffective assistance of counsel, specifically that trial counsel failed to investigate possible defenses and coerced the petitioner into accepting the plea agreement. Following review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Mark W. Henderson, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, for the appellant, Judy Woodall.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and Brian W. Fuller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

Appellant, Judy Woodall, appeals the criminal court's order dismissing her appeal from general sessions court for failure to appear and prosecute. Following our review of the record and applicable law, we reverse the criminal court's order of dismissal and remand the case to criminal court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.



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Opinion: Appellate judges should not be concerned with getting votes
Former Attorney General Paul G. Summers writes in an opinion piece today that appellate judges should not run for popular elections like general sessions judges, trial judges or district attorneys general. He points out that instead of black robes, appellate judges should wear black and white robes because they are more like referees, and "they should not have a voting constituency or be concerned about getting votes."
Read his commentary in the Tennessean
High Court considers case involving W.Va. elected judge
A wealthy coal executive's support of a West Virginia Supreme Court justice's 2004 election takes center stage this week at the U.S. Supreme Court. The nation's highest court has been asked to consider when judges should step aside from cases involving campaign supporters.
WRCB-TV carried this AP story
CIA destroyed 92 videotapes, White House says
The Obama Administration announced today that it has discovered that the CIA destroyed 92 videotapes of interrogations and other U.S. treatment of terror suspects. Today's acknowledgment involved a civil lawsuit filed in New York by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking more details of the interrogation programs following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
NewsChannel9 carried this AP story
Ban on prayer for employees will stand
Today the Supreme Court refused to hear a high school coach's appeal of a school district ban on employees joining a student-led prayer.
NewsChannel9 carried this AP story
PD Hughes explains the office
Richard Hughes of the 10th Judicial District public defender's office told a local Kiwanis Club recently how the office works. He acknowledged that some people have mixed feelings about a public defender's office, but he feels most realize it is needed. "The office takes a large burden off the private practice attorneys," he said. "It used to be that private attorneys were appointed to represent indigent clients. And some still do. But if our office was gone, the burden on them would be huge."
Read more in The Advocat & Democrat
Blount Co. League of Women Voters hear from judges
State judges speaking to the Blount County League of Women Voters last week discussed Tennessee's method of selecting judges at the statewide level. The judges participating were Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee, Court of Appeals Judge Michael Swiney and Court of Criminal Appeals Judges Kelly Thomas and Curwood Witt. They answered questions that showed they favor keeping the current plan or something similar rather than having judges elected in partisan statewide races.
The News Sentinel reports
Knoxville lawyer Warren Butler dies, services Tuesday
Knoxville lawyer Warren Butler, a founding member of the Butler, Vines, and Babb law firm, died Saturday. He was 78. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Mr. Butler practiced at the firm for 40 years. The family will receive friends Tuesday, March 3, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Church of the Ascension (800 S. Northshore Dr.) in Knoxville, with a memorial service to follow at the church and graveside services following that at Highland Memorial. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials be made to FISH Hospitality Pantries, 800 Northshore Dr., Knoxville TN 37919.
Read more in the News Sentinel
It's official; Bredesen stays
President Barack Obama officially introduced Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today as his choice to lead the Health and Human Services Department. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen had reportedly been considered for the post as well. The Commercial Appeal has this AP story. Also today, former Tennessee health care administrator Nancy-Ann DeParle was announced to lead the White House Office for Health Reform. DeParle formerly served as commissioner of the Department of Human Services in Tennessee under Gov. Ned McWherter from 1987 to 1989 and was later chosen by President Bill Clinton to head the federal agency that ran Medicare and Medicaid.
Read this story in The News Sentinel.
McMillan officially in race
Clarksville lawyer and former Tennessee House Majority Leader Kim McMillan announced Sunday she's officially joining the 2010 governor's race.
The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle has the story
Ramsey lays out plans for governor race
Also stating his intention to run for governor is State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, who Saturday told Republicans in Greene County that he will run for the post in 2010. Ramsey would become the fourth candidate to seek the GOP nomination, joining Memphis prosecutor Bill Gibbons, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga.
Read more in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Gobble will run for Wamp's seat
Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble announced Saturday that he will run for Congress in 2010. The dinner where he broke the news was to be for his reelection campaign. But when U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp announced he is giving up the 3rd District congressional seat to seek the governor's office, Gobble changed his plan. Now the race for the sheriff's office is wide open.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports
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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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