Homes could be saved but most can't afford a lawyer

Another fallout from the economic downturn: thousands of low-income homeowners across the country have been left without legal assistance that could save their homes. A study to be released today by the Brennan Center for Justice found that many people now face complicated foreclosure proceedings with "no opportunity to obtain help from a lawyer," USA Today reports. Melanca Clark, the study's author, says "It's overwhelming how many people don't have representation. People don't know what to do when they have to go through this alone." The Brennan Center is part of the New York University law school.

This study is one of many indicators that points out why now is a good time to do some pro bono work.

Volunteer or find out more about Celebrate Pro Bono Month

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.

00 - TN Supreme Court
01 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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.

EDDIE AINSWORTH v. IWASH ONE, LLC

Court: TWCA

Attorneys:

Aubrey T. Givens, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eddie Ainsworth.

James C. Bradshaw, III, and D. Andrew Amonette, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, iWash One, LLC.

Judge: BIVENS

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Plaintiff was injured when he fell from a ladder during the construction of the Defendant's auto wash. The trial court held that the Plaintiff was a casual employee of the Defendant, and therefore not entitled to workers' compensation benefits. It further held that the Defendant was not subject to the Workers' Compensation Act because it did not have the required number of employees and because it was not in the construction business. On appeal, the Plaintiff contends that these findings were erroneous. We disagree, and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC_WCP/2009/ainsworthe_100609.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JACKIE CALDWELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Charles Herman, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Jackie Caldwell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General, and Scarlette W. Ellis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Jackie Caldwell(1), was indicted by the Campbell County Grand Jury for aggravated rape, rape of a child, and attempted rape of a child. At the conclusion of a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of aggravated rape, criminal responsibility for facilitation of rape of a child, and criminal responsibility for facilitation of criminal attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery. Prior to sentencing, Appellant waived her ex post facto protections in order to be sentenced under the amendments to Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-210 that went into effect on June 7, 2005. The trial court sentenced Appellant to twenty-two years for aggravated rape, eight years for criminal responsibility for facilitation of rape of a child, and four years for criminal responsibility for facilitation of criminal attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery. The trial court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, for a total effective sentence of twenty-two years. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal and seeks resolution of the following issues on appeal: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions for aggravated rape and criminal responsibility for facilitation of rape of a child; (2) whether the evidence established Appellant's identity or presence beyond a reasonable doubt; and (3) whether the trial court erred by considering several enhancement factors and failing to consider a mitigating factor. We determine that the evidence is sufficient to support Appellant's conviction for aggravated rape. We further determine that Appellant's sentence of twenty-two years for aggravated rape should be affirmed. With regard to Appellant's remaining convictions, we determine that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to sustain Appellant's convictions for criminal responsibility for facilitation of rape of a child and criminal responsibility for facilitation of criminal attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery under the theory of criminal responsibility as set forth in subdivision (3) of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-401. Accordingly, Appellant's convictions for criminal responsibility for facilitation of rape of a child and criminal responsibility for facilitation of criminal attempt to commit aggravated sexual battery under the theory of criminal responsibility as set forth in subdivision (3) of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-11-402 are reversed and dismissed. Accordingly, judgments of the trial court are affirmed in part, reversed and dismissed in part, and remanded for entry of judgment in accordance with this opinion.

(1) At the time of the trial, Appellant was known as Jackie Martin. For the sake of clarity and consistency, we will refer to her by her name at the time of the indictment, Jackie Caldwell.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/caldwellj_100609.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CARY M. DOTSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Leonard M. "Mike" Caputo, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cary M. Dotson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and James W. Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Cary M. Dotson, entered a plea of guilty in the Rhea County Circuit Court to one count of theft of property valued at $60,000 or more, a Class B felony, see T.C.A. subsection 39-14-103, - 105(5) (1997). The trial court ordered the agreed eight-year sentence to be served in the Department of Correction. It is from the imposition of a fully incarcerative sentence that the defendant appeals. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/dotsonc_100609.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TERRENCE GARDNER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory T. Carman and Charles Mitchell, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terrence Gardner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Greg Gilbert, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Terrence Gardner, was convicted of first degree (felony) murder, aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. He was sentenced to life for the murder, to ten years for the Class B felony, and to four years for the Class C felony. The convictions for the murder and aggravated robbery were set to run concurrent to each other but consecutive to the aggravated assault, for a total effective sentence of life plus four years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was not sufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred in not permitting him to present a witness to be impeached. After careful review, we affirm the judgments from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/gardnert_100609.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Supreme Court Report
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Editorial: Let the courts decide on ballot system
In an editorial today, the Commercial Appeal supports a lawsuit filed in Davidson County by Common Cause seeking to compel the state to have voting systems that scan paper ballots in use statewide by November 2010. "The situation calls for an expeditious decision," the paper says. "If there are, indeed, more reliable machines available to count our votes on, let's use them."
Read the editorial
Child welfare, juvenile justice report issued
A report issued today provides county-by-county data on 40 indicators of children's well-being that are used to help determine the state's policy priorities by making recommendations for child welfare and juvenile justice programs. The document, "KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee 2008," notes that more than 83,000 Tennessee children were brought to juvenile court and nearly 7,400 were committed to state custody.
The City Paper explains the report
Demise of inactive Title VI Commission sparks questions
For five years, the Tennessee Title VI Compliance Commission held no meetings and its sole employee, director John Birdsong, resigned a year and a half ago. Then the commission was quietly disbanded this summer. In an editorial today, the Tennessean asks questions about the backlog of cases that were never investigated, and what were the members of the Title VI commission doing during those years of inaction? In a guest editorial, Spencer Wiggins says the Tennessee Human Rights Commission picked up the work of the defunct commission "in order to continue to strive to make Tennessee a safe haven from discrimination for all citizens." Former director Birdsong talks about the commission and Title VI in a related guest editorial.

Hearing postponed for Memphis city attorney
A hearing on an ouster petition filed against Memphis City Attorney Elbert Jefferson was postponed this morning after doctors said his unspecified medical condition prevents him from performing his duties or participating in court. The hearing was reset to Oct. 19, four days after a new mayor will be elected.
Follow the story in the Commercial Appeal
Ohio governor issues reprieve for death row inmates
The governor of Ohio issued a reprieve for several death row inmates today as courts examine the state's lethal-injection procedures. The action stems from an aborted attempt to execute Lawrence Reynolds when "a suitable vein" could not be found to inject the poison into. Gov. Ted Strickland stopped the attempt after two hours of trying. The order to stop it was unprecedented nationally since the country resumed executions in the 1970s. Strickland said prison staff have been researching backup or alternative procedures for lethal injection that would comply with state law. "Although they have made substantial progress in this regard, more research and evaluation of backup or alternative procedures is necessary before one or more can be selected," he said, adding that the backup procedure also will require training and other preparation.
TriCities.com carried this AP story
Supreme Court Report
Are illegal dogfights protected speech?
Animal-rights groups and free-speech advocates squared off in a major First Amendment battle Tuesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to decide whether videos of illegal dogfights are protected speech.
National Public Radio has the story
TBA Member Services
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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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