Van Horn elected TBA Vice President

Tennessee Bar Association members have chosen Memphis lawyer Danny Van Horn to be TBA's next vice president, a choice that will make him the organization's president-elect in 2010 and TBA president in 2011. More than 25 percent of TBA members voted in the competitive contest between Van Horn and Jackson attorney Linda Warren Seely. Van Horn, a former president of the TBA's Young Lawyers Division, currently serves as the 9th District's representative on the TBA Board of Governors and as chair of the TBA CLE Committee. In announcing the results, TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur thanked the two candidates for having "a spirited and professional campaign which has helped to heighten interest in the TBA, its mission and its future."
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Court: TCA


Kirk D. Catron, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cheryl E. Dishman (now Hunt).

Kimpi K. Kendrick, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Donald Owen Dishman.


This appeal arises from the modification of a parenting plan in a post-divorce action. Mother had been designated the primary residential parent in the Permanent Parenting Plan adopted by the parties. Soon after the divorce, Father filed a Petition to Amend the Parenting Plan alleging that a material change in circumstances existed and that it was in the children's best interests for him to be designated as the primary residential parent. The trial court found that Mothers problems with alcohol, issues concerning her boyfriend (now husband), and several other factors demonstrated that a material change in circumstances had occurred and that it was in the best interests of the children for Father to be designated the primary residential parent. Mother appeals claiming that the trial court erred in its determination that a material change in circumstances existed and that a modification was in the children's best interests. We affirm the trial court's decision in all respects.


Court: TCA


Daniel W. Olivas, Nashville, TN for the Appellant, Rivergate Meadows Apartments Associates Limited Partnership.

Stanley A. Davis, Nashville, TN for the Appellee, Audrey Pryor.


When Defendant failed to respond to Plaintiff's complaint and discovery requests, the trial court entered a default judgment in favor of Plaintiff on the issue of Defendant's liability. The trial court set a hearing to determine Plaintiff's damages, and both Plaintiff and Defendant litigated the issue. After the trial court determined the amount of damages, Defendant asked, for the third time, the trial court to set aside the default judgment and schedule a trial on the merits. The trial court denied Defendant's motion, and Defendant appeals. Because Defendant failed to demonstrate a meritorious defense in its motion to set aside the default judgment, we affirm the ruling of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


R. Todd Hansrote, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Jason Burda.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Elizabeth B. Marney, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Joseph Baugh, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: BURCH

Following a jury trial, Defendant, John Jason Burda, was convicted of one count of solicitation of a minor and twenty-one counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. After conducting a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Defendant to an effective sentence of twenty-two years to be served incarcerated. The trial court merged Counts 3, 4, 13, 14, 17, 18, and 20 with Count 2, Counts 8, 10, 15, 16, 21, 23, and 24 with Count 7, and Count 11 with Count 12. Counts 9, 19, and 22 were left as individual convictions. On appeal, Defendant argues (1) the trial court erred in failing to grant the motion to suppress the evidence seized from Defendant's home; (2) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions; (3) that the trial court erred in not requiring that all the counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor be construed as one offense; (4) that the victim's testimony was not adequately corroborated; (5) that the trial court erred in refusing to grant the Defendant's motion to dismiss the indictments; and (6) that the law and facts do not support the sentence. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the criminal court as to the suppression motion, the corroboration of the victim's testimony, the sufficiency, and merger issues. We reverse and remand as to sentencing for entry of corrected judgments.

Corrected Opinion

Court: TCCA


Timmy L. Dulworth, Pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, Ricky Bell.


In 1987, a Macon County jury convicted the Petitioner, Timmy L. Dulworth, of assault with intent to commit first degree murder and of armed robbery, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Petitioner's convictions were set aside, and he subsequently pled guilty to the same crimes and received an effective thirty-seven year sentence. In 2008, the Petitioner filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus relief, which the habeas court summarily dismissed. On appeal, the Petitioner claims the habeas court erred because: (1) the trial court lacked jurisdiction to amend his June 6, 1994, judgments; (2) the amended judgments omitted his pretrial jail credits; and (3) the trial court imposed illegal sentences because the sentences were longer than the statutory minimums but no evidence of enhancement factors was introduced. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.


Court: TCCA


Kari I. Weber, Fayette County Assistant Public Defender, Somerville, Tennessee, for the defendant-appellant, Betsy B. Hull.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Elizabeth T. Rice, District Attorney General; and Terry D. Dycus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Betsy B. Hull ("Hull") appeals the revocation of her probation by the Circuit Court for Fayette County. She contends that the trial court erred in denying her motion to continue and in its decision to revoke her probation. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Corrected Opinion

Court: TCCA


Claudia S. Jack, District Public Defender and Robert H. Stovall, Jr., Assistant Public Defender for the appellant, Roger L. Hunt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Joel Douglas Dicus, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Roger L. Hunt, pled guilty to third offense driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia, and misdemeanor possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, after the trial court denied his motion to suppress. The defendant's plea agreement preserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of the police stop before his arrest, which was based upon the defendant's not having a light illuminating his license plate. Upon consideration of the certified question, we hold that the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress. We reverse the judgments of the trial court and vacate the convictions.


Court: TCCA


Corey Adams Kennerly, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steven M. Blount, Assistant District Attorney General for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Corey Adams Kennerly, appeals the trial court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The State has filed a motion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, for this Court to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion. We grant the motion and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Open Meetings Act

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2009-05-01

Opinion Number: 09_68


Legal News
Legislative News
Supreme Court Report
TBA Convention 2009
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Law Day contest winners announced
The TBA YLD has announced the winners of the 2009 Tennessee Law Day Art and Essay Competitions. The theme of this year's contest was "A Legacy of Liberty: Celebrating Lincoln's Bicentennial," which was chosen to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and spur debate on whether the goals of the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence have been met. The YLD would like to thank Knoxville lawyer Kelli Guinn with Howard & Howard for serving as this year's contest coordinator.
View the winning entries here
Chattanooga bar celebrates Law Day
The Chattanooga Bar Association celebrated Law Day with its annual May 1 luncheon hosted this year by Judge Barry Steelman. Former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Cooper and his son, current Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, also attended. The program featured awards for students who entered the bar's various Law Day competitions and presentation of the Liberty Bell Award for public service to Wayne Keylon, a community leader who has been involved with Teen Challenge, the Transformation Project and the Ark Ministry.

Hamilton grand jury issues report
The Regular Hamilton County Grand Jury issued it final report last week. Among its recommendations were stronger sentences for repeat offenders, especially in DUI cases; less leniency for those serving time at the workhouse; revisions to domestic violence laws; and a new county jail and juvenile detention center.
Read the full report on
Memphis law school makes personnel changes
The University of Memphis School of Law has named Professor David Romantz as associate dean for academic affairs effective July 1. Current Associate Dean Barbara Kritchevsky will assume the position of advocacy director. The school also will bid farewell to six retiring faculty at the end of the school year: Nancy Barron, June Entman, Ruth McCormick, Jim Smoot, Dan Wanat and Nick White.

Legislative News
Conservatives back Sessions for judiciary post
Conservatives are rallying behind Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, to become the top Republican on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee following current ranking member Arlen Specter's decision to switch parties. Republicans are expected to decide the matter early this week, and the result could determine the tone and ferocity of the party's opposition to Obama's judicial nominees.
Read more from WRCB-TV Chattanooga
Supreme Court Report
Court will review life sentences for teens
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether life sentences with no possibility of parole for teenagers convicted of violent crimes violate the Constitution. The justices said today they would take up appeals in two Florida cases that involve 13 and 17-year-old defendants. Lawyers for the teens say life sentences for non-capital cases constitute cruel and unusual punishment. WATE Newschannel 6 reported on the AP story.

TBA Convention 2009
Law firm support boosts TBA Convention
Law firms in Memphis and across Tennessee have stepped forward to underwrite and sponsor a number of exciting events and compelling programs at the upcoming TBA Annual Convention, June 18-20 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Their support and commitment to the TBA convention make possible big events such as the Memphis Music Extravaganza and marquee CLE programming.
Learn more about opportunities at the 2009 TBA Convention
Services today for Sevierville attorney, veteran
Funeral services are being held today at First United Methodist Church in Sevierville for R.B. "Pete" Hailey of Sevierville, who died Friday at the age of 87. A retired U.S. Navy Commander, Hailey was a 1943 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served in World War II and later in the Korean War. Between those periods of service he earned a law degree from Washington and Lee University and later practiced law for 55 years. He was also a real estate developer and served in numerous civic and public service positions in Sevierville and across the state.
Read more about Hailey's life and career in the News Sentinel
Former TAJ president dies in Morristown
Former Tennessee Association for Justice president and Morristown attorney Charles R. Terry died this morning. He was 75. Visitation for the University of Tennessee College of Law graduate will be on Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and again from 5 to 7 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 425 Wilder Street in Morristown. Burial services will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at Bethesda Cemetery.

Services Wednesday for Knoxville attorney
Funeral services will be held Wednesday at Rose Mortuary Broadway Chapel for Knoxville attorney William "Hugh" Overcash, who died Saturday at the age of 83. A North Carolina native, Overcash served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War, then attended the University of Tennessee where he ultimately received a bachelors degree, a masters degree in accounting and a law degree. As a professional, Overcash served as tax counsel for a number of U.S. firms and retired in 1993 as director of international taxation for Georgia Pacific.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Memphis native, Coast Guard judges dies at 78
Joseph Baum, a Memphis native who served for 20 years as chief judge of the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals died April 25 of congestive heart failure in Maryland. He was 78. The Vanderbilt Law School graduate had a distinguished career as a Naval legal officer before joining the Coast Guard court. It is the only military service court with civilian members, and during his tenure Baum was the sole civilian chief judge of a U.S. military court.
This Associated Press report on has more
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