Ceremonies welcome new attorneys to profession

The Tennessee Supreme Court welcomed about 200 new attorneys to the practice of law in Tennessee during a pair of ceremonies today at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. Between the two ceremonies, the TBA hosted many of the new admittees and their families for a celebration luncheon and open house at the Tennessee Bar Center. Knoxville's admission ceremony will be tomorrow. Jackson and Memphis hosted ceremonies earlier in November.

See photos from the Fall 2009 Admissions Ceremonies and TBA Open House

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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00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
02 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
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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.

LARANDA CONNER v. ROBERT KING, II

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David L. Hamblen, Union City, TN, for Appellant.

Lisa A. Houston, Jackson, TN, for Appellee.

Judge: HIGHERS

The only issue on appeal is whether the trial court erred in changing the minor child's surname. Finding no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/connerl_111809.pdf


KARMEN DOLOROUS LANE v. RICHARD ROLAND LANE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeffrey L. Levy, Nashville, TN, for Appellant.

D. Scott Parsley, Nashville, TN, for Appellee.

Judge: HIGHERS

Upon the parties' divorce, Husband was ordered to pay $1,500.00 monthly alimony in futuro to Wife. Based on his decreased income since the divorce, Husband filed a petition to reduce or terminate his alimony obligation. The trial court denied Husband's petition, and we affirm. We also affirm the trial court's award of attorney fees to Wife.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/lanek_111809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONNIE CORTEZ AKINS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Richard Dumas, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronnie Cortez Akins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Deborah M. Housel and Jeff Burks, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Ronnie Cortez Akins, was convicted of first degree felony murder, a Class A felony; criminally negligent homicide, a Class E felony; and especially aggravated robbery, a Class A felony. He was sentenced as a Range I, violent offender to life in the Tennessee Department of Correction for the murder conviction and to twenty years on the robbery conviction, with the sentences to be served concurrently. On appeal, the defendant asserts that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court erred in denying his motions to suppress a gun found during a protective sweep of his room and his statement to the authorities. After careful review, we affirm the convictions from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/akinsr_111809.pdf


JOHN BIASELLI v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hershell D. Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Walter Biaselli.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, John Biaselli, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance for resale and one count of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance for delivery, both Class B felonies. The trial court merged the two counts and sentenced the petitioner to eleven years in the Tennessee Department of Correction at thirty percent. The petitioner appealed his sentence to this court, which affirmed the trial court. The petitioner now appeals the judgment of the Bedford County Circuit Court denying post-conviction relief. The petitioner asserts that he entered guilty pleas involuntarily and unknowingly due to the ineffective assistance of counsel and the trial court's failure to ascertain the facts of the case adequately. Following our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the court denying post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/biasellij_111809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES RAY BOLES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lyle A. Jones, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Ray Boles.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and P. Neal Oldham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant entered pleas of nolo contendere to two counts of statutory rape by an authority figure, and he pled guilty to one count of statutory rape by an authority figure. The trial court imposed a sentence of three years for each conviction and ordered that two of the sentences be served consecutively for a total effective sentence of six years. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentencing. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/bolesj_111809.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAIRO JESUS CANALES GARCIA

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Hershell Koger, Pulaski, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jairo Jesus Canales Garcia.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Ann L. Filer and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Jairo Jesus Canales Garcia, was convicted of first degree (premeditated) murder; first degree (felony) murder, burglary, a Class D felony; attempted especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony; and theft of property, a Class D felony. He received an effective sentence of life plus twenty years. On appeal, he argues that: the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; the jury was selected improperly; and the trial court erred in allowing certain testimony. After careful review, we affirm the judgments from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/garciaj_111809.pdf


MARIO PISANI v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Pisani.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General; and Laurel A. Hemenway, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A jury convicted the petitioner, Mario Pisani, of seven counts of rape of a child, seven counts of rape, eight counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, seven counts of aggravated sexual battery, and seven counts of incest. The trial court sentenced him to forty-two years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On direct appeal, this court upheld the convictions. The petitioner now appeals the judgment of the Rutherford County Circuit Court denying post-conviction relief and asserts that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Specifically, the petitioner argues that trial counsel was ineffective in failing to impeach the victim with a prior inconsistent statement. After review, we affirm the judgment denying post-conviction relief.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/pisanim_111809.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Politics
Upcoming
TBA Member Services

Legal News
ABA launches federal appeals court tracking service
The American Bar Association launched a pilot project today that will make certain opinions from the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 3rd, 5th and 9th Circuits publicly available. Students and professors at four law schools will select opinions most likely to be of interest to journalists and the public. While the pilot project covers just three circuits for now, the group plans to include all nine circuits eventually.
Learn more from the ABA
Judge says cases assigned at random
Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon, recently asked about "judge shopping" in county court, said he wants to clarify that judges play no role in the assignment of cases. Moon said that arrested offenders are assigned randomly by computer, while offenders brought in on a summons or citation are assigned by court clerks based on law enforcement officers' requests. In either case, he argues, judges are not involved in the process.
Chattanoogan.com has more
Law firm settles fee case
A $4 million class action settlement has been reached in a long-running case between former clients and the law firm that represented them in suits against nursing homes. Wilkes & McHugh, a firm with offices in eight states, including Tennessee, was sued in 2006 by a client who argued the firm charged 40 to 45 percent in contingency fees, although state law limits fees in such cases to 33 percent of any recovery. Eventually some 200 former clients joined the suit. The settlement provides for payments ranging from $5,200 to $110,000 for the class members.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Shelby County jail free of federal oversight
Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald ended federal oversight of the Shelby County Jail after more than 10 years. Trouble at the jail began in 1995 when an inmate filed a lawsuit after being raped. The court ordered immediate changes in the safety and security of inmates. Although a contempt-of-court charge was lifted in 2005, inspectors from the Department of Justice had continued visiting the jail to ensure compliance with the court order. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported the news.

Jefferson again called to testify in Herenton probe
Former Memphis city attorney Elbert Jefferson has been called to testify a second time before a federal grand jury investigating former mayor Willie Herenton. Jefferson's attorney, Ted Hansom, said he believes jurors want to ask about a parallel investigation Jefferson conducted last year of his then boss. He said his client will appear before the grand jury later this month but did not know the specific date.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Judge's dying wish: don't appoint my opponent
Bartlett Judge George McCrary's dying wish was that the challenger who tried to unseat him in 2000 -- Chris Brown -- not replace him on the bench. McCrary died in October and the city is in the process of considering an interim appointment for the Division II post he held. In a letter written to a fellow judge the day before he died, McCrary said that "for personal reasons" he did not support the appointment of Brown to the post.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Politics
Herron wins third straw poll
Tennessee state Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, won his third Democratic straw poll in the race for governor on Monday at the Hamilton County Democratic Party's annual Kefauver Dinner. Herron received 152 of the 310 votes cast in the five-candidate contest. On Saturday, he won the straw poll in Sullivan County with 57 percent. He also won the first straw poll in Rutherford County.
Get details from Chattanoogan.com
Upcoming
Reminder: NBA, KBA to hold memorial services
The Nashville and Knoxville bar associations will hold their annual memorial services this week. In Nashville, the NBA will hold its 100th Annual Memorial Service tommorow, Nov. 19, at the Downtown Presbyterian Church. The service begins at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow in the church's Fellowship Hall. The KBA's annual service will be held this Friday, 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.

TBA Member Services
Program offers savings on auto insurance
See how being a member of the TBA could help you save 8 percent on car insurance. GEICO offers 24-hour sales, service and claims. Call GEICO at (800) 368-2734
or get an online rate quote

 
 
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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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