Senate approves $400 million for LSC

The Senate approved $400 million for the fiscal year 2010 budget of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) last night, an increase of $10 million. Most of the funding -- $374.6 million -- would be distributed as grants to 137 independent, nonprofit legal aid programs that deliver civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families across America. The total funding approved by the Senate includes $3.4 million for technology grants that improve access to legal assistance for the poor, $1 million for loan repayment assistance to legal aid lawyers, $17 million for management and grants oversight and $4 million for the LSC Office of the Inspector General. In September, LSC released its updated report on the justice gap in America, which found that for every client served by LSC programs, another person who seeks help is turned away because of a lack of program resources.

Download the LSC's "Gap Report"

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - 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.


Court: TSC


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Laura T. Kidwell, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Barbara Doak and Chad Jackson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Dana C. McLendon III and Ernest W. Williams, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael Casper.

William Harris Farmer, Nashville, Tennessee, for the amicus curiae, North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc.

Judge: WADE

The defendant was convicted of fifteen counts of willfully selling securities without registering with the state as a broker-dealer or agent in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 48-2-109. The trial court imposed concurrent sentences of four years on each count, required eleven months to be served in jail, and ordered twelve years of probation, community service, and the payment of fines and restitution. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed and dismissed the convictions on grounds of insufficient evidence, holding that the term "willfully" in the criminal penalties section of the Tennessee Securities Act of 1980 required that the defendant not only had to act deliberately, but also had to be aware that his conduct was prohibited by law. We adopt the majority rule and hold that the statute does not require the state to prove that the defendant knew his or her acts were illegal in order to establish a willful violation of our state securities laws. The term "willfully" in Tennessee Code Annotated section 48-2-123(a) requires only that the accused acted deliberately and was fully aware of his or her conduct. Because the defendant was aware he was selling securities and knew that he was not registered as a broker-dealer or agent, we reinstate the convictions and the sentences.


Court: TCCA


Paul K. Guibao, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Montarius Cox.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Muriel Malone, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Montarius Cox, appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that his guilty pleas were not knowing and voluntary due to ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, Petitioner contends that he did not understand the sentence that he was facing when he entered the guilty pleas because trial counsel failed to adequately explain the plea agreement or the sentence to him. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Paul J. Springer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, George R. Croft.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Dennis Johnson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, George R. Croft, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner was found guilty of especially aggravated robbery and felony murder in the perpetration of a robbery. He was sentenced as a Range I, violent offender to life imprisonment for the felony murder conviction and to twenty-two years for the especially aggravated robbery conviction. On appeal, he contends that his counsel were ineffective and that he should be granted a new trial because trial counsel did not conduct voir dire pursuant to Momon v. State, 18 S.W.3d 152 (Tenn. 1999), with regard to his desire to testify at trial. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Jeremy W. Parham, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tareaun D. Griffin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Tareaun D. Griffin, of especially aggravated robbery and attempted second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to thirty-one years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Petitioner appealed his convictions, and this Court affirmed the convictions and sentence in State v. Bobby W. Jenkins and Tareaun D. Griffin, No. M2005-00593-CCA-R3-CD, 2006 WL 618303, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Mar. 13, 2006), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Aug. 28, 2006). The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, amended by appointed counsel, that alleged that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition, and, after a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment.


Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Pace of law firm layoffs increases again
The legal sector lost 5,800 jobs in October, according to seasonally adjusted statistics in a just-released report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When not seasonally adjusted, the figures show a gain of 1,500 jobs, but that is probably attributable to the elimination of summer associates from law firm payrolls, reports the Am Law Daily. After slowing down for a few months over the summer, it appears that the pace of law firm layoffs is now picking up a bit, the legal blog notes. connects you to the report and more
Hooks' advice: Overcome racism with education
Benjamin L. Hooks, civil rights icon and instructor at The University of Memphis, spoke on campus last night about overcoming racism with education. Instead of focusing on past wrongs, black students should learn about the Civil Rights Movement and American history as a way of avoiding future oppression, Hooks said. Hooks' speech comes shortly after the Tennessee Board of Regents' decision to stop requiring American history for all undergraduate students at The University of Memphis -- the last in the state to require the course.
The Daily Helmsman has the story
Judge gives state time to execute Voter Confidence Act
Chancellor Russell Perkins ruled Thursday in a suit brought by advocacy group Common Cause against Secretary of State Tre Hargett over Hargett's refusal to immediately implement the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act. The judge is giving the state time to implement the law requiring paper trails for voting machines for next year's elections. The lawsuit filed in Nashville in October asked the judge to order Hargett and election officials to begin putting the optical scan voting machines into operation.
The News Sentinel reports
Assistant AG details work as JAG in Iraq
Assistant Attorney General Gary McKenzie serves the 13th Judicial Circuit, but he is also a member of the Tennessee National Guard and is on a one-year deployment to Iraq. While there, Capt. McKenzie will write about his experience in the Middle East as a judge advocate general.
Read this installment in the Crossville Chronicle
Hamblen County Jail sued for poor conditions
A Cocke County man who is currently an inmate in the Hamblen County Jail has filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, naming Hamblen County and Sheriff Esco Jarnagin as defendants. The suit alleges the conditions in the jail are "inhumane, inflict needless punishment on inmates and create an environment which threatens and causes unnecessary harm to their physical and mental health." Jarnagin admits that "at times the jail is overcrowded." But "there's not anything I can do about that ... when people are arrested and brought to jail, we have to house them, no matter how many other prisoners we have."
Read more in the Citizen Tribune
UT V.P. Karen Holt dies
University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service assistant vice president and former UT associate general counsel Karen Holt died Oct. 27. She was 54. She received her law degree from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville and her doctorate in political science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Nov. 22, at Knoxville Botanical Garden. Donations may be made to the Jeannette Rankin Foundation or mailed to Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund, 1 Huntington Road, Suite 701, Athens, GA 30606
Read her obituary on
Knoxville lawyers to be honored at memorial service
The Knoxville Bar Association Memorial Service will be Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. in the Tennessee Supreme Court Courtroom, 505 Main St., with a reception following. The service will be led by Hon. Gary R. Wade and will be opened and closed by Rev. Charles W.B. Fels. KBA members who have died in the last year and will be honored are: Judge J. N. Badgett Jr., Thomas Warren Butler, Mary Lynn Carl-Rogers, Dexter A. Christenberry Sr., Richard W. Clark III, John Dorris Guthrie, Joe R. Haynes Jr., Charles Evans Higdon, Cecil D. Meek Jr., William Hugh Overcash, Ivan Thomas Privette Jr., Toxey Hannon Sewell, Wright Tisdale Jr. and Robert S. Young.

Disciplinary Actions
Two lawyers reinstated
Germantown lawyer Earl Frank Johnson and Nashville lawyer Mable Lou Oliver Osemwegie have been reinstated to the practice of law after complying with requirements for continuing legal education. They both were suspended on Sept. 4, 2009, for failing to meet CLE requirements in 2008.
View all attorneys suspended and reinstated for 2008 CLE violations
An item in Thursday's TBA Today referencing Judge Lynn Brown used the wrong pronoun to describe the judge. The 2nd Judicial District criminal court judge is most definitely a "he."

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

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at

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.

© Copyright 2009 Tennessee Bar Association