TBA launches new web site to help members connect

The Tennessee Bar Association is launching a new Social Networking platform for members called TBA Connect. This service provides many of the same features of mainstream sites such as Linked In or Facebook, but access is limited to members of the Tennessee Bar Association and approved guests. Already members are using TBA Connect to create profiles, share photos, notify colleagues about upcoming events and blog on current issues. Email the TBA Connect team today with questions or comments.

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TODAY'S OPINIONS
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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You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.

CALLEY DENISE KOPP v. MICHAEL SHANNON KOPP

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Stephan Walker Pate, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Shannon Kopp.

Phillip Macklin George, Smyrna, Tennessee, for the appellee, Calley Denise Kopp.

Judge: BENNETT

Father appeals the trial court's denial of his petition to modify child support. Father showed that his obligation was $109 per month based on the child support guidelines. Instead, the trial court granted an upward deviation and set Father's child support obligation at $567.50 per month. We find that Father showed a significant variance between his current obligation and his obligation under the child support guidelines justifying a modification in the amount of his child support obligation, but we have determined that an upward deviation is also justified. We therefore reverse the judgment of the trial court and set child support at $249 per month.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/koppc_091509.pdf


EMILY STEWARD v. WILLIAM F. SMITH, III, a Minor, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Samuel R. Anderson and Amanda G. Branam, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellants, William E. Smith, III, and Julie Ann Smith.

Jonathan L. Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Emily Steward.

Joshua Gerald Offutt, Nashville, Tennessee, for unnamed Appellee, Mountain Laurel Assurance Company.

Judge: FARMER

This tort action arises from an automobile accident. Defendants admitted liability, but appeal the jury's award of damages in the amount of $76,792 to Plaintiff. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/stewarde_091509.pdf


RICKEY LEE BEAMON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David W. Schmidt, Signal Mountain, Tennessee, for the appellant, Rickey Lee Beamon.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Bates W. Bryan, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Rickey Lee Beamon, appeals the denial of post-conviction relief in the Criminal Court for Hamilton County from his convictions for theft of property valued between $10,000 and $60,000, a Class C felony; two counts of burglary, a Class D felony; aggravated criminal trespass, a Class A misdemeanor; and three counts of theft of property valued at $500 or less, a Class A misdemeanor. For the felony theft, he received a sentence of fifteen years as a career offender. For the two burglaries, he received concurrent twelve-year sentences as a career offender, to be served consecutively to the felony theft sentence. The four misdemeanor sentences of eleven months, twenty-nine days, were ordered to run concurrently to the twelve-year burglary sentences, for an effective sentence of twenty-seven years in confinement. On appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying relief because: (1) counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to sever offenses in case 238463; (2) counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to include in the appellate record the transcript of the suppression hearing in case 245041; and (3) counsel provided ineffective assistance by waiving the issue of retained counsel of choice on appeal by failing to support his claim through argument, citation to authority, and references to the appellate record. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/beamonr_091509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DAVID LAWRENCE JONES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Flanagan, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, David Lawrence Jones.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; Kelly Jackson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, David Lawrence Jones, pled guilty to driving under the influence, fourth offense; driving on a revoked license; violating the open container law; and violating the implied consent law. He received a total effective sentence of two years. As a condition of his plea, the appellant reserved the following certified question of law: "whether the officer's initial encounter was a 'seizure' and, if so, was it supported by probable cause o[r] reasonable suspicion." Upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/jonesd_091509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALDRICK D. LILLARD

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

R. Timothy Hogan and Joe M. Brandon, Jr., Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Aldrick D. Lillard.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Bill Whitesell, District Attorney General; and Trevor H. Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Aldrick D. Lillard, and two other individuals were indicted by the Rutherford County Grand Jury for first degree murder, felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery, and theft of property in connection with the death of Randy Betts. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of first degree murder, felony murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. The trial court merged the felony murder conviction into the first degree murder conviction. The jury sentenced Appellant to life without the possibility of parole for the murder conviction. On the remaining convictions, the trial court sentenced Appellant to an effective sentence of twenty-five years. The remaining sentences were ordered to be served concurrently with the life sentence. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Appellant initiated a timely appeal. On appeal, the following issues are presented for our review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; (2) whether the Appellant was prejudiced because one judge ruled on pre-trial motions and a different judge presided over the trial; (3) whether the trial court improperly allowed the jury to view the trial exhibits in the jury room; (4) whether the trial court properly denied the motion for bill of particulars; (5) whether the trial court improperly admitted a portion of videotaped evidence which referenced Appellant's prior incarceration; and (6) whether the trial court improperly omitted lesser included offenses from the jury instructions. After a thorough and complete review of the record, we determine Appellant is not entitled to relief. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/lillarda_091509.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DONALD E. O'NEAL, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Debra A. Wall, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donald E. O'Neal, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Chris Clark and Steve Garrett, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Donald E. O'Neal, was convicted of attempted especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; delivery of a Schedule II drug, a Class C felony; and reckless homicide, a Class D felony. He was sentenced to twelve years for the Class B felony, six years for the Class C felony, and four years for the Class D felony, with all sentences to run consecutively for a total effective sentence of twenty-two years. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his Class C felony conviction and that he was sentenced improperly. After careful review, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction for delivery of a Schedule II drug and the imposition of consecutive sentences. With regard to sentencing, it was within the trial court's discretion to apply the sentencing enhancement factor that the victim was particularly vulnerable and that the defendant employed a firearm in the commission of the crimes. However the trial court misapplied two other enhancement factors. Therefore, we remand this case to the trial court for resentencing in compliance with sentencing procedures.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/oneald_091509.pdf


JOE TYREE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Emeterio R. (Terry) Hernando, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joe Tyree.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The petitioner, Joe Tyree, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner submitted a guilty plea to one count of violation of the sex offender registry. On appeal, he contends that: defense counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel; his plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered; and the post-conviction court failed to comply with the statute that requires the court to set forth findings of fact and conclusions of law with regard to each issue. After careful review, we conclude no reversible error exists and affirm the judgment from the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/tyreej_091509.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Stop 'Jesus' prayers at council meetings, group warns
A national group says the Memphis City Council's "Chaplain of the Day" program violates the Constitution. "The city is actively promoting Christianity," Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor says. "It's not only favoring religion over non-religion, which is barred by our Constitution, but one religion over another. If they want to pray, fine. But they shouldn't be doing it on government time."
WREG.com reports
Council votes to keep Jefferson
The Memphis City Council voted this afternoon to keep city attorney Elbert Jefferson after he promised to seek recovery of some of the money that he ordered spent on defending longtime Mayor Willie Herenton from a possible criminal indictment. City Council member Bill Morrison, who had sought to fire Jefferson, withdrew his motion after hearing that Jefferson would try to recover $7,362 of the $55,000 payment he approved to private attorney Robert Spence.
The Commercial Appeal has this breaking story
O'Connor: How judges are chosen 'of critical importance'
"We are now facing greater threats to judicial independence than we did in the past," former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor told a Seattle University School of Law audience Monday, citing spending by corporations, attorneys and other interest groups that donate to campaigns with the hope of obtaining favorable rulings from the judge after the election. "The result has been an arms race in funding," she said, "making it so a campaign for state judge is often as expensive, or more so, than a campaign for a U.S. Senate seat."
The Seattle TImes covered her speech
Blogging: Too much info can get you in trouble
Watch out when you write whatever pops into your head if its going on the internet. Blogging lawyers and judges have landed in trouble with legal ethics regulators and judges, while one blogging lawyer ended up as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit.
ABAJournal.com connects you to this story
Crime rates down overall, highest in South
Murder and manslaughter dropped almost 4 percent last year, as reported crime overall fell around the country, according to new data released Monday by the FBI. Regionally, the South had the highest crime rate, with 4,315 reported violent and property crimes per 100,000 people. "These are rates we haven't seen since the 1960's, even though the change from year to year has been rather small," said Alfred Blumstein, a professor of criminal justice at Carnegie-Mellon University.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press carried this AP story
Obama lawyers argue Bagram detainees should not be in U.S. court
Lawyers for the Obama administration argued late Monday that allowing terrorism detainees in Afghanistan to file lawsuits in U.S. courts challenging their detention would endanger the military mission in that country. Sticking with Bush administration policy in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, they said the roughly 600 detainees at Bagram Airfield should not be given equal rights to sue in the United States that the Supreme Court granted last year to detainees being held at the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba.
WATE.com has this AP story
Jury hears Katrina housing fumes case
A federal jury heard allegations Monday that the government-issued shelters provided to tens of thousands of families displaced by Hurricane Katrina exposed Gulf Coast storm victims to hazardous formaldehyde fumes.
NewsChannel 5 has the story
Billionaire Stanford gets public defender
A federal judge today appointed a public defender to represent Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford. His assets were frozen in a civil suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission and his company's insurer refuses to defend him, therefore he cannot pay for the lawyers representing him. Stanford is accused of bilking $7 billion or so from investors in a scheme that allegedly revolved around an offshore bank's certificates of deposit.
Read more in the Houston Chronicle
Supreme Court stamps to be issued this month
The U.S. Postal Service on Sept. 22 will dedicate four 44-cent stamps honoring U.S. Supreme Court justices Joseph Story, Louis Brandeis, Felix Frankfurter and William Brennan Jr.
The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times reports and shows you the stamps
Upcoming
MTSU marks Constitution's anniversary with lecture series
MTSU will observe the 222nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Sept. 16-18, with free events open to the public, including a lecture by Vanderbilt professor and author Bruce Barry on "Free Speech on University Campuses: The State of Play" at 10:20 a.m. in the Keathley University Center Theater. Sponsored by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies and the College of Mass Communication at MTSU, Barry's lecture will be followed at 11:30 a.m. by a "State of the First Amendment" lecture from Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center in Nashville.
The Murfreesboro Post has the full schedule
TBA Member Services
TBA expands insurance services for members
The TBA Member Insurance Solutions Program has been expanded to offer assistance to members in meeting their health, life, disability and other insurance needs. Working with Graham Swafford III of Capital Financial Group, the TBA is now able to provide members with exclusive benefits, personalized service, and pricing discounts. Services and products offered include: disability income insurance, business overhead expense insurance, group life, long-term and short-term disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, and group health, dental and vision insurance along with other employee related benefits.
Learn more about TBA Insurance Solutions now

 
 
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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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