Barker portrait unveiled today

The Chattanooga legal community gathered at the Hamilton County Courthouse this afternoon for a portrait unveiling of former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William M. "Mickey" Barker. Barker, a Chattanooga native, served 10 years on the state's highest court, three of which were spent as chief justice. Following retirement from the court in 2008, Barker began a dispute resolution practice with Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, where he continues to work. An editorial today in the Chattanooga Times Free Press called Barker "one of the most distinguished and respected members of Tennessee's legal profession."

Read more of the paper's tribute

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CORRECTION is on page 2, line 5 the word principle is changed to principal.

Court: TCA


Heather G. Anderson, Knoxville, Tennessee for the Appellant, Joyce Fitzgerald, d/b/a Realty Executives of Kingston.

Jack H. McPherson, Jr., Kingston, Tennessee for the Appellee, Charlotte Branson.


Charlotte Branson ("Plaintiff") sued Joyce Fitzgerald, d/b/a Realty Executives of Kingston with regard to real estate commissions for several specific transactions. After a trial, the Trial Court entered an order finding and holding, inter alia, that Plaintiff was entitled to a judgment against Ms. Fitzgerald for the commissions on three of the transactions. Ms. Fitzgerald appeals to this Court. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Gary D. Beasley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, David M.

David L. Scott, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellees, Adam Z. and Jennifer Z.


This is an appeal from a termination of parental rights. Finding that the termination was contested and that the trial court failed to appoint a guardian ad litem, we vacate the order of the trial court and remand.


Court: TCCA


Lance R. Chism (on appeal); Juni Ganguli and James Thomas (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Darren Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda Dwyer and Colin Campbell, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Darren Brown, was convicted by a Shelby County Criminal Court jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. On appeal, he argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial in light of the prosecutor's improper closing argument; and (3) the State's comment on the defendant's post-arrest silence constitutes plain error. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Jeffry S. Grimes, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ramone Pierre Gholston.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and John E. Finklea, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Ramone Pierre Gholston, was convicted by a Montgomery County jury of facilitation of first degree murder, a Class A felony, and facilitation of especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony. The trial court sentenced the Defendant as a Range I, standard offender to twenty-one years for the facilitation of first degree murder and to ten years for the facilitation of especially aggravated robbery, to be served concurrently. On appeal, the Defendant contends that his sentence for the facilitation of first degree murder is excessive. Because no written waiver of ex post factor rights signed by the Defendant is in the record, the Defendant was improperly sentenced under the 2005 amendments to the Sentencing Act of 1989. We reverse the judgment of the trial court, and we remand the case for resentencing.


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Trial date set for Dumas
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Download the order setting the trial date
Peoples' replacement expected in March
According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, appointment of a new Hamilton County chancellor to replace Howell Peoples should come by the end of March. Peoples tendered his resignation Monday, triggering a 60-day window for the Judicial Selection Commission to recommend three possible replacements to the governor. The replacement will serve until August and then face election to finish out the term. Among those mentioned as possible candidates is Chattanooga attorney Leah Gerbitz, daughter of former district attorney and criminal court judge Gary Gerbitz. Read more from or read a tribute to Peoples from the Times Free Press.

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The Daily News has the story
Ford reportedly eyeing run as NY senator
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The Commercial Appeal has the story
Fincher won't run for U.S. House
State Rep. Henry Fincher, D-Cookeville, announced today he will not run to succeed Bart Gordon in the U.S. House of Representatives. Fincher, an attorney, told The Associated Press that he would have to take 10 months off and raise at least $2 million to mount a successful bid. He joins fellow Democratic Rep. Mike McDonald of Portland in deciding against a run.
Read more in the News Sentinel
Victor Ashe to speak at Baker Center
Former Knoxville mayor Victor Ashe, who recently completed five years as U.S. ambassador to Poland, will speak at two events this month sponsored by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The events will take place Jan. 14 and 26.
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