Apply for nominating commission by July 31

Knoxville lawyer and former TBA president Pam Reeves encourages citizens to take part in the judicial selection process, pointing out that under the revised plan the new nominating commission will consist of 17 members selected from across the state. "Ten of these new members must be lawyers, but as many as seven members of this new commission can be nonlawyers," she writes. "The appointment of this commission provides a significant opportunity for members of the community to have an active voice in the appointment of judges for many years." The News Sentinel has this story.

Deadline to apply for a spot on the Judicial Nominating Commission is July 31.

Find out more from the Administrative Office of the Courts

Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

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No grants or denials this week

Court: TSC


Court: TCA


Charles L. Holliday, Jackson, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Rebecca Cornelius.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Douglas Earl Dimond, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services. br>
Lanis L. Karnes, Jackson, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem.


This appeal arises from a dependency and neglect proceeding finding the minor child, B.C., dependent and neglected under Tennessee Code Annotated 37-1-102(b)(12), and specifically on the ground of severe child abuse on the part of the Appellant/Mother. The trial court sustained the petition to adjudicate dependency and neglect filed by the Appellee Department of Children's Services. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Robert L. Vogel, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Richard Covington.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Leslie E. Price and John Bledsoe, Assistant Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, James R. Covington, challenges the Morgan County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. He argues that his three consecutive three-year sentences are illegal because they run in direct contravention of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-115. Because the petitioner states no ground upon which relief may be granted, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


Court: TCCA


Albert J. Newman, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donald Lynn Miller.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and C. Leon Franks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Donald Lynn Miller, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief in the Criminal Court for Knox County from his convictions for felony murder and especially aggravated robbery. The trial court imposed consecutive sentences of life and twenty-three years. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court erred in finding that he did not receive the ineffective assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Paul J. Springer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tommy Dale Taylor, Sr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr. and P. Neal Oldham, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Tommy Dale Taylor, Sr., was convicted by a Tipton County jury of three counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, for the rape of his granddaughter, who was seven years old when the abuse was discovered. He was subsequently sentenced by the trial court to eighteen years for each count with the sentences to be served concurrently, for an effective eighteen-year sentence at 100 percent in the Department of Correction. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the convictions and that the trial court erred by excluding evidence of the victim's alleged prior sexual abuse, admitting a photograph of the victim's vaginal and anal areas, allowing the trial to continue too long in one day and the jury to deliberate into the late evening hours, and not properly instructing the jury on the election of offenses. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Russell T. Greene, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Paul Watson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kevin Allen, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Knox County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellant, William Paul Watson, of one count of sale and one count of delivery of less than .5 grams of cocaine within one thousand feet of a public park, Class B felonies. The trial court merged the convictions, and the appellant was sentenced to fifteen years as a multiple offender and fined ten thousand dollars. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. After reviewing the record, we affirm the appellant's conviction.


Court: TCCA


Gerald L. Gulley, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Howard Hawk Willis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Assistant Attorney General; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; and Dennis Brooks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

In this capital murder case, the defendant, Howard Hawk Willis, brings an interlocutory appeal from the Washington County Criminal Court's order that the defendant both implicitly waived and forfeited his right to be represented by counsel on four counts of first degree murder and three counts of abusing corpses. Because the record supports the order of the trial court, we affirm and remand the case for further proceedings.


Legal News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Brock honored by American Inns of Court
The Chattanooga-area Chapter of the American Inns of Court recently honored Art Brock with it first civility award. The organization's members are lawyers and judges who promote social interaction outside the courtroom and the ideal of civility in a profession often defined by confrontation. "We decided we needed a civility award to honor that person who is not only an effective advocate in the courtroom, but is also civil about it," Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Neil Thomas said. "You don't have to be mean to be good. That's Art."
Read more about Brock from the Chattanooga Times Free Press
Firm sued for alleged use of 'spyware' evidence
The Chattanooga firm of Berke, Berke and Berke is being sued in circuit court over the alleged use of evidence obtained through spyware. In a divorce case, Farrell Hayes claims that his soon-to-be ex-wife installed eBlaster software on his computer to intercept his communications. The software directed Hayes' e-mail to his former sister-in-law, and she passed them on to his wife. Hayes claims that interception of the e-mails violates federal and state laws and that the firm was wrong to rely on it.
Legal Blog Watch details it
Powell tells Sotomayor critics to back off
Colin Powell says Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor shouldn't be condemned for ruling against white firefighters who contended they suffered reverse discrimination. "What we can't continue to have is to have somebody like a Judge Sotomayor ... called a racist, a reverse racist and she ought to withdraw her nomination because we're mad at her," Powell said in an interview broadcast Sunday on "State of the Union" on CNN.
NewsChannel9 reported this story
Knox law director faces multiple investigations
Three investigations are under way into financial improprieties by Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett: a criminal probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, an inquiry by state Attorney General Robert Cooper to see if an ouster suit is in order, and a review by the Tennessee Supreme Court's Board of Professional Responsibility. Lockett admitted on May 26 to the county Retirement and Pension Board that he took payments from clients instead of remitting them to Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley, the law firm where he worked before taking office last August.
Follow the story in the News Sentinel
International Justice Mission gets coffee profit donations
An Oregon coffee company gave every penny from every sale in May -- not just profits-- to International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that rescues victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of oppression. During the "Give It All Away in May" campaign, Storyville raised enough money for IJM - which currently operates in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America -- to expand its work into Ecuador. NewsChannel5 carried this PRNewsire story. IJM and some of its Tennessee volunteers were featured in a 2006 issue of the Tennessee Bar Journal.
Read that story here
Career shifts: Government lawyer to erotic novelist
This Virginia lawyer is guarding against the economic downturn by diversifying. Daisy Williams, a.k.a. Treva Harte, a veteran of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has been doubling as novelist, co-owner and editor in chief of a publishing house specializing in erotic romance literature. carried this Washington Post story
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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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