TBA-backed pro bono bill clears House, Senate

Legislation permitting state lawyers to voluntarily engage in pro bono activities on their own time won unanimous passage in both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly today. In asking his colleagues to support the bill, Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville) said that the legislation is part of an access to justice package in which "we are trying to do everything we can to include all those who are licensed to practice law in the state to have the opportunity to help those less fortunate." Norris, the bill's sponsor in the Senate, said an estimated 400 government employed attorneys could take part in pro bono activities with passage of the bill. After Norris' comments, Sen. Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis) added her support to the bill and asked to be added a sponsor. In the House, the bill was sponsored by Rep. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), who also was able to win quick and unanimous support from his colleagues.

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Court: TCA


Richard J. Braun and Patricia Crotwell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nana Landenberger.

Michael K. Bassham, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, State of Tennessee

David M. Rich and Frank Thomas, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Project Return, Inc.


In this action brought under Tennessee's False Claims Act, the trial court granted the defendant's motion to set aside its offer of judgment and strike the relator's notice of acceptance. The relator subsequently abandoned the case, and the trial court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss. We affirm the results reached by the trial court.


BOBBY THOMPSON, Individually, and as Executor of the Estate of Gertrude Thompson, Deceased v. JAMES HAYWOOD THOMPSON, ET AL.

Court: TCA


Matthew W. Willis, Dyersburg, TN, for Appellant

John W. Palmer, Dyersburg, TN, for Appellees


This case involves two brothers and their mother's estate. One brother filed suit against the other, claiming that the defendant brother and his family members wrongfully converted certain assets belonging to his mother and obtained other assets through undue influence. The trial court found no conversion or undue influence. We affirm.



Court: TCCA


Harvey Baker, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Harvey Baker, appeals the denial of habeas corpus relief by the trial court. Petitioner contended that the indictment on which his conviction was based was duplicitous, vague, ambiguous, faulty, and incomplete. As a result, Petitioner contended that the indictment was void. The trial court summarily dismissed the petition. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathan Jack Childress.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Hollynn Hewgley Eubanks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Nathan Jack Childress ("Childress"), appeals the trial court's order allowing the State to nolle prosequi the charges against him. A case that is disposed by nolle prosequi is not appealable as of right by a defendant, therefore, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.



Court: TCCA


Douglas A. Trant, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven Craig Fults.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Senior Counsel; and William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner was found guilty of five counts of rape, all Class B felonies; twelve counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, all Class C felonies; and seven counts of statutory rape, all Class E felonies. He was sentenced to nine years for each Class B felony, three years for each Class C felony, and one year for each Class E felony. His sentences for the Class B felonies were ordered to be served consecutively. His sentences for the Class C felonies were ordered to be served consecutively but concurrently to the Class B felonies. His sentences for the E felonies were ordered to be served consecutively but concurrently to the B felonies, for an effective sentence of forty-five years. In this post-conviction appeal, the petitioner argues that trial counsel was ineffective and that the post-conviction court erred in rejecting the challenge to his sentence because it was previously determined on appeal. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Markeisha Seagraves, Pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


This matter is before the Court on the State's motion to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Petitioner, Markeisha Seagraves, appeals the post-conviction court's dismissal of her petition for post-conviction relief. Upon our review of the record in this case, we conclude that the Petitioner failed to satisfy the applicable statutory timing requirements and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted and the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Cynthia M. Fort and Matthew Mayo, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric D. Turner. David M. Hopkins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Dee Scribner, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and J.W. Hupp, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendants, Eric D. Turner and Robert Dee Scribner, II, were indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury in a three-count indictment for rape of a child, a Class A felony, with Scribner charged with two counts and Turner charged with one count. Following their jury trial, Scribner was convicted of one of the two counts with which he was charged and sentenced as a child rapist to sixteen years at 100 percent in the Department of Correction. Turner was convicted of the lesser- included offense of attempted rape of a child, a Class B felony, and sentenced as a Range I, standard offender to ten years in the Department of Correction. Both defendants challenge the sufficiency of the convicting evidence on appeal. Turner additionally argues that the trial court erred by instructing the jury on the lesser-included offense of attempted rape of a child, and Scribner argues that the trial court erred by admitting DNA evidence without a proper chain of custody, by not granting a requested special jury instruction, and by enhancing his sentence beyond the minimum in the range. Having reviewed the record and found no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Validity of Pending Legislation Affecting Development in Rural Communities

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-12

Opinion Number: 09-26


Licensure of Public Automobile Auctioneers

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-03-12

Opinion Number: 09-27



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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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