Volunteers needed for Commodore Classic mock trial

Vanderbilt University Law School seeks volunteers to judge its second annual Commodore Classic invitational mock trial tournament, an intercollegiate competition in which 24 teams from across the nation perform trial simulations. The event is Jan. 30-31, 2010, in Nashville. The school needs to fill nearly 100 judging slots over the two days. Volunteers may judge one or all four rounds; previous judging experience is not required. Call (615) 653-8467 or email vumocktrial@gmail.com for more information.
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Court: TCCA


Dumaka Shabazz, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Townley Simonton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; Joseph E. Perrin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Following the denial of his motion to suppress, the Defendant, William Townley Simonton, pled guilty to possession of one-half gram or more of cocaine with the intent to sell and sale of one-half gram or more of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school zone, both Class B felonies, and received consecutive eight-year sentences. The Defendant's plea agreement preserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of the searches that led to his arrest. We hold that the trial court properly denied the motion to suppress. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.



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TBA closed for New Years Day
TBA offices will be closed Friday, Jan. 1, for New Years Day. The TBA will re-open on Monday at 8 a.m. Publication of TBA Today will resume on Monday as well.

AG: Challenge to health bill is premature
An effort to force changes to the federal health-care reform bill appears to be gathering steam, but Tennessee's attorney general said Wednesday that his office will sit out for now. Attorneys general in 13 states wrote to congressional leaders yesterday saying they will sue unless lawmakers remove a provision that gives the state of Nebraska a break on Medicaid payments. The group argues the law is unconstitutional because it provides a tax break for citizens of one state. In Tennessee, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, and state Representatives Susan Lynn, R-Lebanon, and Debra Young Maggart, R-Hendersonville, have argued the bill as a whole poses constitutional issues. They urged Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper to prepare for legal action if the bill becomes law.
The Tennessean looks at the issue
Court limits use of Tasers
In a case that could set the first broad judicial standards for the use of Tasers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that police can be held liable for using the device against an unarmed person. The court found that use of the electrically disabling device during a traffic stop constituted excessive force because it was used against an unarmed man who did not pose a threat and was not attempting to flee.
The New York Times reports
Court rules U.S. can keep surveillance targets secret
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Wednesday that the government may keep secret the identity of individuals targeted under the Terrorist Surveillance Program. Lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees had argued they would conduct client conversations differently if they knew the government was eavesdropping on them. The appeals court, however, said the government had sufficiently established that nondisclosure is "appropriate" and "perhaps essential" for reasons of national security and confidentiality.
Read more about the decision from WTVF-News Channel 5 in Nashville
Storied DA retires after 35 years
Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau -- the inspiration for the district attorney on TV's Law & Order -- is ending a 35-year career today at age 90. Morgenthau was known throughout his career as someone willing to take on mobsters, celebrities and CEOs, and helped launch the careers of many, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. He says he has not decided what to do next, but others report that his interests include pressing for immunity from deportation for illegal immigrants who help in immigration-fraud cases.
Read highlights of his career from WRCB-TV Chattanooga
Legislative News
Speaker lays out plan for special session
In a recent email to state House staff and members, Speaker Kent Williams provided details on how the special education legislative session would unfold, and revealed that problems with recently passed workers' compensation legislation would be addressed.
Read his message on Nashville Post Politics
Rep. Watson provides preview of 2010 session
Tennessee state Representative Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, writes about his view of the upcoming 2010 legislative session for Chattanoogan.com. While he suggests that budget issues will top the agenda, he lists a dozen other initiatives that may see action.
Learn more
TBA in the News
Lawyers cram for CLE
Today's Commercial Appeal documents lawyers' last-minute attempts to fulfill continuing legal education requirements as 2009 comes to a close. With snapshots from the Memphis Bar Association's "Last Minute 'Buy the Hour' Seminar" and the Tennessee Bar Association's "CLE Blast," the story captures the plight of many who have not yet completed the required hours.
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Think FedEx first
If you've been shipping with other carriers, it's time to switch to FedEx. Not only will you get peace of mind from reliable FedEx shipping, but you can also take advantage of great savings on FedEx shipping as well as FedEx Office services by enrolling in the FedEx member benefits program.
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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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