Extension granted in student loan default rule

At the request of the Tennessee Bar Association and Chief Disciplinary Counsel to the Board of Professional Responsibility, the Tennessee Supreme Court has granted an extension of time to file comments on a proposed amendment to the court's disciplinary enforcement rule (reported in TBA Today Dec. 4), which would require suspension of law licenses of lawyers who default or become delinquent on certain guaranteed student loans.

The original deadline for comments was Dec. 31, but with the extension the new deadline is March 1. The TBA request said that a close analysis of the proposal "discloses some substantial and material weaknesses in the substantive and due process procedures" for making a determination of default.

Download the proposed amendment

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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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.

In the Matter of: A.W.H. and N.N.H.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jobi Teague, Covington, Tennessee for the Appellant/Respondent W.H.

Dee Shaun Peoples, Memphis, Tennessee for the Appellant/Respondent J.H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Elizabeth C. Driver, Nashville, Tennessee for the Appellee/Petitioner State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services

Judge: KIRBY

This appeal involves the termination of parental rights. After State authorities received a report that the mother of the two children at issue was using drugs, the mother admitted that she and the father used drugs, and the parents stipulated that their children were dependent and neglected. The children were initially placed with family members. After several months, a no-contact order was entered due to the parents' continued drug use and related issues. The children were then placed in State custody and permanency plans were created. The plans required, inter alia, that the parents become drug-free and maintain a stable, safe, and drug-free home. Despite years of counseling, treatment, and periods of abstinence from drug use, the parents continued to intermittently test positive for drug use. DCS filed a petition for termination of the parental rights of both parents. After a trial, the trial court terminated their parental rights on grounds of abandonment, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans, and persistent conditions. The parents now appeal. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/awh_122909.pdf


IN RE C.A.H. AND K.M.H.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William J. Eledge, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, A.H.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Douglas Earl Dimond, Elizabeth C. Driver, and Lindsey Owusu Appiah, Assistant Attorneys General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: BENNETT

The chancery court terminated Father's parental rights on the grounds of substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans and persistence of conditions. In a prior appeal, this court reversed with respect to these grounds, concluding that DCS failed to show by clear and convincing evidence that it made reasonable efforts to reunify the family in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 37-1-166. We remanded for the trial court to make findings of fact and conclusions of law with respect to the third ground for termination alleged in the petition, abandonment pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-1-102(1)(A)(iv). Upon remand, the chancery court determined that DCS clearly and convincingly established abandonment, concluding that Father's behavior constituted conduct that exhibited a wanton disregard for the welfare of the children and that termination was in the best interest of the children. Father appeals both the abandonment and best interest determinations. Finding clear and convincing evidence to support the trial court's determination, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/cah_122909.pdf


KEITH M. FARNHAM v. DONNA M. FARNHAM

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Keith M. Farnham.

Anne Greer, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Donna M. Farnham.

Judge: SUSANO

Keith M. Farnham ("Husband") filed a complaint in the trial court seeking a divorce from Donna M. Farnham ("Wife"). In a separate filing, he sought to have the parties' 17-year marriage declared void ab initio. The trial court denied the motion. Following a bench trial, the court dismissed Husband's complaint and granted Wife's counterclaim for divorce on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct. The court incorporated the parties' agreed parenting plan with respect to their two minor children, distributed the marital property, and awarded Wife periodic alimony. Husband appeals. He essentially challenges the trial court's main decrees. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/farnhamk_122909.pdf


ERIC THOMAS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Eric Thomas, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, Pamela S. Lorch, Senior Counsel, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: STAFFORD

Appellant, an inmate of the Tennessee Department of Correction, filed a claim in the Claims Commission, alleging that the Department of Correction had failed to apply 831 days of pretrial jail credit to his criminal sentences. Appellee State of Tennessee filed a motion to dismiss. The Claims Commission granted the State's motion to dismiss on the ground that Appellant had not exhausted his administrative remedies, and denied Appellant's motion for new trial or amendment of judgment. Appellant appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2009/thomase_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALD STEPHEN BLODGETT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael J. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ronald Stephen Blodgett.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Ronald Stephen Blodgett, entered an open plea of guilty in the Marshall County Circuit Court to the offense of driving after being declared a habitual motor vehicle offender, a Class E felony. The trial court sentenced the defendant to six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction as a career offender. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court should have ordered that he serve his sentence in community corrections. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/blodgettr_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ALFRED GENE BULLOCK

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul Crouch, Allardt, Tennessee, for the appellant, Alfred Gene Bullock.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilbur, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General, and John G. Galloway, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

After the entry of a best-interest plea to felony child abuse, a Fentress County trial court denied judicial diversion for Appellant, Alfred Gene Bullock. The trial court sentenced Appellant to three years as a Range I, standard offender. Appellant appeals the denial of judicial diversion. After a review of the record, we determine that the trial court considered the factors required for the grant or denial of judicial diversion and did not abuse its discretion in denying judicial diversion to Appellant. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/bullocka_122909.pdf


LINDSEY BUTLER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lindsey Butler, Whiteville, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Melissa Roberge, Assistant Attorney General; and Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The pro se Petitioner, Lindsey Butler, appeals as of right from the Maury County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief alleging that ineffective assistance rendered his guilty pleas involuntary. Following our review, we reverse the judgment of the post-conviction court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/butlerl_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LONNIE THOMAS DUKE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Nathan Moore, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lonnie Thomas Duke.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III , District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A Davidson County jury convicted the defendant, Lonnie Thomas Duke, of burglary of a motor vehicle, a Class E felony. The trial court sentenced the defendant as a career offender to six years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant raises the following issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in allowing the state to cross-examine the defendant about his prior convictions and (2) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/dukel_122909.pdf


JOSEPH DARRYL GAINES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph Darryl Gaines, Pro Se, Clifton, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General, and Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Joseph Darryl Gaines, pled guilty to two counts of rape of a child in 2001. As a result, he received concurrent eighteen-year sentences. Previously, Petitioner filed two unsuccessful petitions for writ of habeas corpus. See Joseph D. Gaines v. Kevin Myers, Warden, No. M2005- 01889-CCA-R3-HC, 2006 WL 287432 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Feb. 7, 2006), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Sept. 5, 2006); Joseph D. Gaines v. Kevin Myers, Warden, No. M2004-00725-CCA- R3-HC, 2004 WL 2479918 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, Nov. 4, 2004), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Feb. 28, 2005). Petitioner filed the petition for writ of habeas corpus herein on October 23, 2008, alleging that his indictment failed to allege offenses. The trial court dismissed the petition. Petitioner appeals this decision. However, we determine that the untimely notice of appeal should be waived in the interest of justice. After reviewing Petitioner's claim, we determine that Petitioner has failed to show that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief based on the description of the charges against him in the indictment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/gainesj_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. REGINALD MARCEL GIBBS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dumaka Shabazz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Reginald Marcel Gibbs.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Roger Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Reginald Marcel Gibbs, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and pled guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor, and felon in possession of a handgun, a Class E felony. He was sentenced to fifteen years as a Range II offender on the aggravated robbery conviction; eleven months, twenty-nine days on the possession of drug paraphernalia conviction; and five years as a Range III offender on the felon in possession of a handgun conviction. The court ordered that the fifteen and five-year sentences be served consecutively for an effective term of twenty years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and the sentence imposed by the trial court. After review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/gibbsr_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. TONYA RENEE MITCHELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

William B. "Jake" Lockert, III (on appeal), District Public Defender; and Dawn Kavanaugh, Assistant Public Defender (at hearing), attorneys for appellant, Tonya Renee Mitchell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Dan Mitchum Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Billy Henry Miller, Assistant Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Tonya Renee Mitchell, pled guilty in the Dickson County Circuit Court to obtaining a controlled drug by fraud, TennCare fraud, two counts of forgery, and one count of uttering a forged writing. The trial court sentenced the Defendant to an effective sentence of six years but suspended the sentence contingent upon supervised probation. The trial court revoked the Defendant's probation when she violated certain conditions. However, the trial court stayed the Defendant's sentences and granted a furlough for in-patient drug treatment. The Defendant was ordered to appear before the next Drug Court following her discharge from treatment. When the Defendant violated conditions of her Drug Court Program, the trial court revoked her stay and ordered her to serve the balance of her sentence in incarceration. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/mitchellt_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JUSTIN DEWAYNE PICKLE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Donna Orr Hargrove, District Public Defender; and Michael J. Collins, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Justin Dewayne Pickle.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, 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: WITT

The defendant, Justin Dewayne Pickle, appeals from the Bedford County Circuit Court's order revoking his probation and ordering service in confinement of his one-year, three-month sentence for a conviction of statutory rape. On appeal, he claims that the order of confinement was erroneous. Because the record supports the trial court's order, however, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/picklej_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RONALD LEE STEWART

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Christopher P. Westmoreland, Shelbyville, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Ronald Lee Stewart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Defendant, Ronald Lee Stewart, appeals as of right from his convictions in the Marshall County Circuit Court for one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, one count of theft of property valued at less than five hundred dollars, a Class A misdemeanor, and one count of theft of property valued between one thousand and ten thousand dollars, a Class D felony. The Defendant received an effective sentence of twelve years to be served in incarceration. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant claims that his convictions are constitutionally infirm due to juror fatigue and that the trial court erred in sentencing him as a persistent offender. Following our review, we conclude that the Defendant failed to prepare an accurate record of the subject of this appeal and his issues are waived. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/stewartr_122909.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEFFREY BERNARD STRATTON, JR.

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Norris A. Kessler, III, Winchester, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jeffrey Bernard Stratton, Jr..

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Cameron L. Hyder Assistant Attorney General; C. Michael Layne, District Attorney General; Marla Holloway Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Coffee County jury convicted the Defendant, Jeffrey Bernard Stratton, of driving under the influence ("DUI") and DUI per se. The trial court merged the convictions. The Defendant appeals, arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions and that the trial court's sentence is excessive. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/strattonj_122909.pdf


JOE STRAWTHER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Russ Eagle, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joe Strawther.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William C. Whitesell, Jr., District Attorney General, and Trevor H. Lynch, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Joe Strawther, pled guilty to aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated robbery in Rutherford County in exchange for an effective eight-year sentence. Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied relief. Petitioner appeals the denial of the petition. However, the issue raised by Petitioner on appeal was not raised in his petition for post-conviction relief and, therefore, is not properly before this Court. The Petitioner has failed to show that he received ineffective assistance of counsel or that his guilty pleas were entered involuntarily. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2009/strawtherj_122909.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Politics
Legal News
Legislative News
Your Practice
TBA Member Services

Politics
Wilder in 'serious' condition
Former Lt. Gov. John Wilder's son said his father was in "serious" condition today after suffering an apparent stroke yesterday in his West Tennessee home.
Follow the story in the Commercial Appeal
Legal News
Clarksville to add more to domestic violence division
A $400,000 grant from the Department of Justice has allowed Clarksville Police to expand the domestic violence division by bringing in more detectives, moving into a new office space and hiring two victim advocates. Previously, just one detective investigated the rising number of serious domestic violence crimes in the city.
The Leaf Chronicle reports
TV investigations put spotlight on courts
In 2009, investigations by a Nashville television reporter put a spotlight on several misdeeds by area judges and court practices, which resulted in some disciplinary actions.
NewsChannel 5 recaps its story
Nation declines in death penalty use, South still ahead
A national report shows an overall decline in death sentences and executions, but the South still leads the country in use of the death penalty.
The TImes Free Press has the story
ABA, Cleveland bar, hiring new executive directors
Two bar associations are looking to hire new executive directors -- the American Bar and Cleveland. If you are looking for a change of venue to Illinois or Ohio, you will want to check out these job descriptions.
Read them here
Legislative News
Special session: Workers' comp law may be delayed
State lawmakers will debate whether to suspend a workers' compensation law that has divided the construction industry at a special session on education that is expected to start Jan. 12. House Speaker Kent Williams told legislators today that Gov. Phil Bredesen's special session will allow debate on a law that requires all contractors to have workers' compensation insurance. Small contractors say the law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, is costly and unnecessary, but large contractors say the law eliminates abusive practices and makes job bidding fairer.
The Tennessean reports
State rep. may miss session for National Guard duty
State Rep. John Mark Windle, a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, apparently faces a call to active duty overseas that would prevent him from serving during the upcoming 2010 session of the state legislature, officials said today. Windle, D-Livingston, has not formally advised legislative officials of his plans, said Burney Durham, chief clerk of the state House of Representatives.
The News Sentinel has more
Your Practice
Conficts check: Conduct one when changing jobs
Lawyers are changing jobs more frequently these days and this raises some tricky ethics issues, especially regarding conflicts of interest. The primary difficulty is reconciling the general ethics prohibition against disclosing client information with the practical reality that one of the best ways to avoid trouble when a lawyer moves to a new firm is to conduct a conflicts check.
The ABA Journal takes an in-depth look at the issue
TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at www.avisawards.com to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.


 
 
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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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