ABA study shows increase in pro bono work

A new study from the American Bar Association shows that nearly three-fourths of lawyers voluntarily provide free legal services to a deserving cause or person, that lawyers devote more hours to pro bono now than in the past and that lawyers are doing pro bono work at nearly three times the rate that the general population does volunteer work. The study, sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, updates a similar review conducted in 2004. Survey results show that 73 percent of lawyers reported doing pro bono work, up from 66 percent in 2004, and that the number of average hours of pro bono performed by lawyers increased from 39 to 41. While celebrating this increase in pro bono work, ABA President H. Thomas Wells Jr. also used the opportunity to call on the legal community to do even more.

Read his statement

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Court: TCA


Mark C. Scruggs, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellant, John Doe.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Benjamin A. Whitehouse, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, State of Tennessee.


In this action, plaintiff facially challenged the constitutionality of Tenn. Code Ann. section 40-39-202 et seq., the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification, and Tracking Act of 2004 as amended by Public Law 2007-465. The Trial Court upheld the constitutionality of the statute, and plaintiff appealed. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court and remand.



Court: TCCA


Patrick E. Stegall, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerome Bond.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Colin Campbell, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Jerome Bond, appeals the Shelby County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Following his convictions for first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery, the petitioner was sentenced to consecutive sentences of life imprisonment and twenty-five years. On appeal, the petitioner argues that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel, specifically arguing that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call an alibi witness at trial. Following review of the record, the denial of post-conviction relief is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Robert Brooks, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); and J. Michael Mosier, Jackson Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Reggie Carnell James.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe and Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorneys General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred Earls and Jody Pickens, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Madison County jury convicted the defendant, Reggie Carnell James, of one count of first degree murder and one count of tampering with evidence. The trial court sentenced the defendant to life in prison for the murder conviction and ten years as a Range II, multiple offender, for the evidence tampering conviction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence produced at trial was insufficient to sustain his convictions. After reviewing the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Comer L. Donnell, District Public Defender; Tillman W. Payne, III, and Shelly J. Thompson, Assistant District Public Defenders, attorneys for appellant, Timothy W. Lee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr, District Attorney General; and Jason Lawson, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Timothy W. Lee, appeals as of right his jury conviction for rape of a child, a Class A felony, for which he received a sentence of twenty-five years to be served at one hundred percent. The defendant contends that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, that the trial court erred in admitting hearsay evidence as an excited utterance, that the trial court erred in requiring the defendant to testify prior to the admission of character evidence, that the State improperly interjected personal opinion into its closing argument, and that the trial court enhanced the length of the sentence in violation of State v. Gomez, 239 S.W.3d 733 (Tenn. 2007). Following our review, we affirm the defendant's conviction for rape of a child but conclude that the trial court's imposition of a sentence beyond the presumptive minimum violated Gomez. herefore, the case is remanded for entry of the modified sentence consistent with this opinion.



Court: TCCA


Patrick G. Frogge, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lorenzo Malone.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, District Attorney General; and Linda Walls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Lorenzo Malone, appeals the Wilson County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. In 2003, the Petitioner was convicted by a jury of first degree felony murder and, thereafter, sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal, challenging counsel's handling of whether there was probable cause to support his arrest and obtain a Search warrant. Following our review, we conclude that the Petitioner has not shown that he is entitled to relief. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Samantha R. Neumann, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Curtis Palmer.

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

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Curtis Palmer, appeals the post-conviction court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, he argues that his trial counsel was ineffective as follows: (1) counsel admitted the petitioner's guilt during the trial without the petitioner's consent; (2) counsel failed to adequately investigate possible grounds for a speedy trial; (3) counsel failed to challenge invalid indictments; and (4) counsel failed to properly litigate the suppression of evidence. After a thorough review of the record and the parties briefs, the judgment of the post-conviction court denying post-conviction relief is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Trudy L. Bloodworth, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Harvey L. Webb.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Rob McGuire, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Harvey L. Webb, appeals from the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. In this appeal, he contends that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Wesley Mack Bryant, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Milaya "Stuffy" Webster.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; and Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Milaya "Stuffy" Webster, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault. Following a jury trial held on May 21-24, 2007, she was convicted of three counts of reckless endangerment and sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to an effective sentence of four years and six months, to be served on probation. In this direct appeal, she argues that: (1) the trial court erred in admitting the former testimony of a certain witness; (2) the trial court erred in excluding testimony that the Defendant's sister, her co-defendant in a previous trial arising from the same incident, was acquitted of criminal wrongdoing; (3) the State presented evidence insufficient to convict her; and (4) the trial court erred in ordering the Defendant to serve her sentences consecutively. We conclude that the trial court made no evidentiary errors and that the evidence at trial was sufficient to support the Defendant's conviction. We also conclude that the trial court did not err in ordering consecutive sentences, but notice as plain error that the trial court enhanced the Defendant's sentence in violation of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We accordingly modify the Defendant's sentence to three years to be served on probation.


Shelby County Centralized Purchasing System

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-11

Opinion Number: 09-25



Legal News
Legislative News
Supreme Court Report
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Bredesen appoints Durham to criminal court
Governor Phil Bredesen has appointed David E. Durham of Lebanon as criminal court judge in the 15th Judicial District. He replaces Judge J.O. Bond, who died in December. Durham will serve until August 2010, when he will face an election to retain the seat. Durham previously served as deputy district attorney general, a position he held for three years. Prior to that post, he served as assistant district attorney general and worked as a solo practioner. He earned his law degree in 1981 from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
Read more from the governor's press release
LSC receives $40 million increase
President Obama today signed the omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress that includes a $40 million budget increase for the Legal Services Corporation. The 11 percent increase raises the agency's funding level from $350 to $390 million, of which $365.8 million will be awarded to nonprofit legal aid programs through competitive grants. The bill also provides funding for technology grants that expand access to legal information and a loan repayment program that will help new lawyers burdened with education-related debt. The agency reported the news today.

Judge says there are consequences for tardiness
In the wake of a ruling from Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern this week that general sessions judges may not impose public service on tardy defendants, Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon says taxpayers bear the financial burden for those who are late, or never show up, to court.
Read his statement on Chattanoogan.com
TNVLA merges with Arts & Business Council
Nashville based pro bono group Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (TNVLA) has merged with the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville and will be known as Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts (VLPA). This new association will allow the group to expand its services to arts-driven nonprofits to include accounting, marketing and business planning. VLPA has moved into the Arts & Business Council's office and has combined its respective board of directors, which will be chaired by Larry Papel of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, & Berkowitz PC.
Read more on the TNVLA web site
LSAT alternative eliminates racial disparity in test results
An alternative law school admission test developed by professors at the University of California at Berkeley shows no racial or ethnic disparities in its results -- a major improvement over results from the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) according to test authors. The new test, which is designed to measure "raw lawyerly talent" rather than analytic ability, is also better at predicting lawyer effectiveness, but researchers found it no better than the LSAT at predicting success in law school.
Learn more in the New York Times
Paper features 4/4 event in Oak Ridge
The Oak Ridger features a story about the upcoming 4/4 public service project being hosted by the Legal Aid Society and Anderson County Bar Association as part of the TBA's 4ALL campaign. The legal clinic in Oak Ridge will focus on clients who need help with medical planning documents and will be open to anyone regardless of income. The clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Legal Aid's Oak Ridge office at 226 Broadway.
Learn more about the service day and all events being held around the state
Read the story
Legislative News
GOP caucus will allow Williams to attend meetings
Tennessee House Republican Caucus members have voted to allow House Speaker Kent Williams to continue attending their meetings, even though he's no longer officially a Republican. Despite calls from House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower and Caucus Chairman Glen Casada to exclude Williams, a "substantial majority" of members supported his continued attendance, reports the Knoxville News.
Read more from the paper
Supreme Court Report
Court denies expansion of minority voting rights
The Supreme Court limited the reach of the Voting Rights Act this week, a decision that could make it harder for some minority candidates to win election when voting districts are redrawn. In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that a portion of the law aimed at helping minorities elect their preferred candidates only applies in districts where minorities make up more than half the population.
Learn more about the case and the court's other actions this week
Chattanooga lawyer dies
Chattanooga lawyer Dudley Porter Jr. died yesterday at the age of 93. Porter retired as vice chairman of the board of Provident Life and Accident Insurance Company in 1976 after having led its legal department for 27 years. Following his retirement, he served as counsel to Chambliss & Bahner. He earned his law degree in 1937 from the Cumberland Law School. Memorial gifts may be made to the Second Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, the Nature Conservancy or a favorite charity. The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday at the Wann Funeral Home, 4000 Tennessee Ave. in Chattanooga. Burial will be private at Porter's home on Elder Mountain.
Read more about Porter's life in the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Supreme Court names panelists for Nashville meeting
A panel of judges, lawyers and community leaders will be featured at a March 17 Nashville public meeting looking at legal needs and access to justice issues in Middle Tennessee. The event, presented by the Tennessee Supreme Court, will feature a panel that includes Judge Dan Eisenstein; Linda O'Neal, director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth; Nashville Bar Association President Trey Harwell; Metro Councilman Erik Cole, who is also director of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services; and representatives from Vanderbilt Law School, the Disability Law and Advocacy Center, the Nashville Conflict Resolution Center, Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts, the Nashville Pro Bono Program and the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee. Supreme Court Justice William Koch will moderate the discussion. The meeting begins at 3 p.m. at the Nashville Downtown Public Library at 615 Church Street. For more information or to RSVP please contact Rebecca Rhodes at (615) 741-2687 x164 or Rebecca.Rhodes@tncourts.gov.

TBA Member Services
CompuPay offers deals for TBA members
CompuPay is proud to serve as the official payroll services provider for the Tennessee Bar Association. To serve Tennessee attorneys the company is offering two months of free payroll processing for all TBA members and waiving set up fees for members with up to 99 employees.
Learn more about CompuPay's benefits

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