Ashworth sworn in as TBA president

Gail Vaughn Ashworth was installed as the Tennessee Bar Assocaition's 127th president today at the association's annual convention in Memphis during the Lawyers Luncheon. Chief Justice Janice Holder gave Ashworth the oath of office. Ashworth succeeds Memphis lawyer Buck Lewis, saying she will continue his excellent work in access to justice issues, increasing diversity in the profession, civics education and legislative issues. "I pledge to work hard and closely with the leaders coming beside and behind me," she says. Ashworth is a partner with Gideon & Wiseman in Nashville.

The Frank F. Drowota award was presented to Judge Herschel P. Franks; Ross Pepper of Nashville won the Joe Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing; and President's Awards were given to Danny Van Horn, Allan Ramsaur and Linda Warren Seely. The Fellows of the TBA Young Lawyers Division gave its William M. Leech Public Service Award posthumously to Ross Alderman, which was accepted by his wife, Judge Patricia Cottrell.

See more pictures of the Lawyers Luncheon

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Court: TCCA


John D. Drake, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Francisco Jesus Esparza-Ramos,

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

This matter is before the Court upon the State's motion to dismiss or in the alternative to affirm the judgment of the trial court by memorandum opinion pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Petitioner, Fransisco Jesus Esparza-Ramos, has appealed the Rutherford County Circuit Court's order dismissing his "Motion for Post-Conviction Relief Pursuant to the All-Writs Act 28 U.S.C. section 1651(a) - Writ in the Nature of Coram Nobis Alleging Denial of Counsel and Denial of Due process in Violation of the Sixth Amendment Supreme Court Jurisprudence as Set Forth in Gideon v. Wainright (1963) 372 U.S. 335" in which Petitioner alleged that: (1) his guilty plea was entered involuntarily; (2) he was denied counsel; (3) he was unaware that his guilty plea could be used to enhance subsequent convictions; and (4) he was never advised that he had a right to appeal. Upon a review of the record in this case, we are persuaded that the trial court was correct in dismissing the petition for relief and that this case meets the criteria for affirmance pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Accordingly, the State's motion is granted, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Russell T. Greene, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jackie Hardin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kenneth Irvine, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Jackie Renae Hardin, was indicted, along with co-defendant, Jonathan Lynn Smith, on three counts of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. Defendant's case was severed from that of Mr. Smith. Following a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of the lesser included offense of assault, a Class A misdemeanor, in counts one and two of the indictment, and of the charged offense of aggravated assault in count three of the indictment. The trial court merged the two misdemeanor assault convictions into the aggravated assault conviction and sentenced Defendant as a Range III, persistent offender, to thirteen years. In her appeal, Defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction of aggravated assault, and that the verdict form incorrectly characterized criminal responsibility as a lesser included offense of aggravated assault. We affirm the judgment as to aggravated assault in count 3 of the indictment. We remand the judgments in counts 1 and 2 for entry of an order reflecting that these convictions are merged with the conviction for aggravated assault.


Court: TCCA


Frank L. Slaughter, Jr., Bristol, Tennessee, for the appellant Timothy Kaylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jennifer L. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; Joe Crumley, District Attorney General and Kenneth Baldwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Timothy S. Kaylor, was indicted for theft of property over $10,000. The State denied pretrial diversion. Appellant pled guilty to the offense. At sentencing, Appellant sought judicial diversion. The trial court denied the request for judicial diversion and sentenced Appellant to a sentence of three years, ordering Appellant to serve 90 days of the sentence in incarceration before being released to probation. Appellant seeks a review of the trial court's denial of judicial diversion. We determine that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying judicial diversion and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Leslie M. Jeffress, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael David Velazquez.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Jeff Blevins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Michael David Velazquez, pled guilty in the Knox County Criminal Court to felony driving under the influence, possession of less than .5 grams of cocaine with the intent to sell, evading arrest, and misdemeanor driving under the influence. The plea agreement provided that the appellant would receive a total effective sentence of seven years, with the trial court to determine the manner of service of the sentences. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's denial of alternative sentencing. Upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Januari Lakeitha Williams, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; and William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The petitioner, Januari Lakeitha Williams, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of her post-conviction petition on the grounds that it was untimely filed. We affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


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High court says rapist can't test evidence, Holder stresses expansion of DNA evidence
The Supreme Court said Thursday that a convicted rapist has no constitutional right to test biological evidence used at his trial in Alaska years earlier, leaving it to the states to decide when prisoners get access to genetic evidence that might free them. But today Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. underscored the Justice Department position that seeks to expand access to DNA evidence in the courts, the the Blog of Legal Times reports.
The Commercial Appeal carried this AP story
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Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, i365, offers secure online backup solutions. i365 minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get i365 and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
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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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