'Tacky for Teens' campaign asks legislators to support youth courts during special session

As the Tennessee General Assembly gathers this week for a special session on education reform, the Tennessee Bar Association is offering legislators an opportunity to have a little fun and raise money for the state Youth Court Program. The TBA, through its charitable arm, the Tennessee Legal Community Foundation, kicks off the first annual "Tacky For Teens: A Second Chance For Hideous Neckwear" on Tuesday. The campaign encourages lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to wear tacky neckwear during the special session. For a $25 contribution to the foundation you will receive a lapel pin letting colleagues know that YOU know your accessories are hideous.

Learn more here

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Court: TSC


Claiborne H. Ferguson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tommy Holmes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Amy Weirich, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLARK

We granted permission to appeal in this case to address whether the trial court erred in ruling that an indigent defendant forfeited his right to counsel at trial by telling his appointed lawyer, "I know how to get rid of you," and, at a subsequent meeting, physically assaulting his lawyer by striking the lawyer's eyeglasses with his finger. The defendant was tried by a jury pro se and convicted of aggravated rape. We hold that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the trial court committed reversible error in ruling that the defendant had forfeited his right to appointed counsel at trial. While the defendant's physical attack on his lawyer was serious misconduct, it did not rise to the level of "extremely serious misconduct" sufficient to warrant an immediate forfeiture. State v. Carruthers, 35 S.W.3d 516, 548 (Tenn. 2000). Because the defendant was erroneously denied his fundamental constitutional right to counsel, we must reverse his conviction and remand this matter for appointment of new counsel and a new trial. The judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed.



Court: TCA


David S. Wigler, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Betty Brasfield.

A. James Andrews, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Raymond C. Dyer.

Mark S. Cizek, Clinton, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Conley R. Dockery.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Kimberly J. Dean, Deputy Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


Betty Brasfield ("Plaintiff") sued a former co-worker, Raymond Dyer, and a former boyfriend, Conley Dockery, claiming both defendants had defamed her and intentionally interfered with her employment contract with the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole ("the Board"). The Trial Court dismissed the intentional interference with contract claims before trial. At the end of a lengthy trial on the defamation claims, the jury returned a verdict against Dyer for $250,000, and against Dockery for $100,000. Both Dyer and Dockery ("Defendants") filed a post-trial motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or, alternatively, for a new trial. The Trial Court granted Defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and entered judgment for Defendants. Plaintiff appeals raising numerous issues. We conclude that Plaintiff presented no material evidence that her reputation was damaged by Defendants' alleged defamatory statements and, even if her reputation was damaged, that it was Defendants who were responsible for that damage. Accordingly, we affirm the Trial Court's granting Defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. We further conclude that there was no breach of contract and, therefore, the Trial Court properly dismissed before trial Plaintiff's claim for intentional interference with contract.



Court: TCA


Aaron S. Guin and Mark W. Honeycutt, II, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellants, Corey Greene and Caroline Greene.

Travis B. Swearingen and William S. Walton, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee, Tennessee Protection Agency, Inc.


This negligence action arose from a gunshot injury suffered by the plaintiff, Mr. Greene, when he was a customer at the co-defendant's night club in Nashville. The shooter was never identified. Mr. Greene filed suit against the night club and the agency providing security at the club, claiming that the security agency was negligent in allowing an individual into the club with a weapon. The defendant security agency moved for summary judgment. After a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant security agency, holding that the agency affirmatively negated an element of Mr. Greene's claim by refuting his allegation that a security guard accepted a bribe and by showing that the agency did not breach any duty to Mr. Greene. The plaintiffs timely appealed. We affirm.


SWINEY Concurring in part and dissenting in part


Court: TCCA


Charles Richard Hughes, Jr., District Public Defender, and Chessia Cox, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Shane Thomas Cox.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Steve Bebb, District Attorney General; and Paul Donald Rush, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Shane Thomas Cox, appeals the trial court's order revoking his probation for aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, and theft of property over $500, a Class E felony, and ordering him to serve his effective three-year sentence in the Department of Correction. We hold that the trial court failed to give the Defendant a proper hearing. The judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded for a new revocation hearing.



Court: TCCA


A. Ensley Hagan, Jr., Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric Tyreese Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Melissa Roberge, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, Jr., District Attorney General; and David E. Durham, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Eric Tyreese Davis, appeals the post-conviction court's dismissal of his post- conviction petition in which Petitioner alleged that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of trial counsel in connection with the entry of his pleas of guilty, and that his guilty pleas were not voluntarily or knowingly entered. After a thorough review we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.



Court: TCCA


Randall E. Reagan, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Thomas Eugene Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; Jeff Blevins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


After the trial court denied his motion to suppress evidence against him, the Defendant, Thomas Eugene Davis, pled guilty to possession with intent to sell more than .5, but less than 300, grams of cocaine, reserving several certified questions of law pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b)(2). The certified questions are as follows: (1) whether the search warrant failed to sufficiently particularize the items to be seized; (2) whether officers executing the search warrant failed to comply with the "knock and announce" rule; and (3) whether officers executing the search warrant failed to serve the Defendant with a copy of the warrant. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the trial court's judgment.



Court: TCCA


Jerry Gonzalez (on appeal), Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ruben Hernandez Martinez.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Mark A. Fulks, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Anderson and Lisa Naylor, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Ruben Hernandez Martinez, pled guilty to five counts of aggravated rape, Class A felonies. The trial court sentenced him to serve an effective eighty-eight year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that (1) the trial court considered impermissible factors when enhancing the defendant's sentence, (2) the trial court considered impermissible factors when ordering that the defendant's sentences run consecutively, (3) the trial court erred by sentencing the defendant to eighty- eight years in violation of the extradition agreement, (4) the trial court erred in finding that the defendant was a dangerous offender, and (5) the trial court erred in denying the defendant pretrial jail credit. After a thorough review, we affirm the defendant's convictions and sentences. We remand the case for entry of corrected judgments consistent with this opinion.



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Legal News
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Read the BPR news release
Career Opportunities
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Learn more about the job on TBA JobLink
U of M Law School grand opening this week
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TBA Member Services
TBA, Bank of America team up for no-fee credit card
The TBA World Points Rewards MasterCard from Bank of America places a new world of rewards, privileges, and service at your command -- with no annual fee.
Click here to learn more

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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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