Nominating Commission settles on new officers, procedure

The Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission, meeting today by conference call, adopted revised bylaws and a new application for candidates seeking to fill judicial vacancies. The commission also elected Mary Beard of Memphis to fill the vice chair position that opened up when Bill Young of Chattanooga assumed the chairmanship. That moved followed Tuesday's resignation of David Bautista, who served as the organization's first chair. Both Young and Beard will be eligible for reelection when officer terms expire Aug. 31. State offices in Nashville closed at noon today, so details of the timing for the Chattanooga hearing to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Chancellor Peoples and final bylaws and application provisions were not available Friday afternoon.
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Court: TCA


Jeffrey Alan Green and Gregory Hall Oakley, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Daniel Wallace Small, Jr.

Michael W. Binkley, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Nancy Chandler Small.


In this divorce action, Husband appeals numerous holdings of the trial court, including: the ground upon which the divorce was granted; the nature and amount of spousal support; the determination of the amount of marital property and the division of marital assets and liabilities; certain aspects of the parenting plan ordered by the court; and the entry of the final decree of divorce retroactive to the date the court entered its findings and conclusions. Finding that the trial court erred in the amount of earning capacity imputed to each party, the awards of spousal and child support are reversed and remanded for redetermination. Finding that the trial court erred in the determination of the marital assets, the division of marital property is reversed and remanded for reconsideration. Finding that the trial court erred in imposing a restriction on Husband's visitation and in setting the parenting schedule, those matters are reversed. Finding that the court did not err in ordering Husband to maintain life insurance for the benefit of the child, entering the final decree nunc pro tunc, and in its credibility determination regarding Husband, those judgments are affirmed. Husband's appeal of the trial court's grounds for divorce is determined to be moot. The court's determination to award counsel fees to Wife is affirmed and the issue remanded for redetermination of the amount to be awarded; Wife's request for attorney's fees incurred on appeal is granted and the matter remanded to the trial court for a determination of the amount to be awarded.


Court: TCA


David M. Smythe, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, E. W. Stewart Lumber Co., Inc., d/b/a Stewart Builder Supply.

Michael K. Williamson, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Meredith Clark & Associates, LLC.

Leroy B. Dodd, Clarksville, Tennessee, Pro Se.


Supplier of building materials filed materialman's lien on property after contractor failed to pay for materials provided for building a house on the property. On cross motions for summary judgment, the trial court struck down liens the supplier had filed against the subject property and dismissed the supplier's action; supplier appeals. Finding error, we reverse and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.


Court: TCCA


Dexter Johnson, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and David H. Findley, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Dexter Johnson, filed a petition in the Johnson County Criminal Court seeking habeas corpus relief from his multiple felony convictions. The petitioner argued that because the trial court failed to enumerate enhancing and mitigating factors on the record and because the judgments of conviction fail to specify whether his sentences are to be served concurrently or consecutively, his convictions and sentences are therefore void. The habeas corpus court dismissed the petition, and the petitioner appeals. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.


Court: TCCA


Joseph V. Hoffer, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Simpson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and William A. Reedy, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


A Bradley County Jury convicted Petitioner, Timothy Simpson, of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, and he was sentenced to nine years. This court affirmed the conviction on direct appeal. Subsequently, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, asserting that he was denied a fair trial because he was not given access to prior statements made by the victim and that his trial counsel was ineffective. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition, and the Petitioner appealed. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm.


Legal News
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Legal News
TBA board will review JNC candidate applications
The Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors will hold a special meeting on Feb. 16 to review applicants for the vacant seat on the Judicial Nominating Commission created by the resignation of David Bautista of Elizabethton. The commission nominates candidates to fill judicial vacancies under the revised system of merit selection, performance evaluation and retention elections. The process for applying to be appointed by Speaker Kent Williams to fill the vacancy begins with submission of an application to the Administrative Office of the Courts. After the applications deadline passes on Feb. 10, the statue allows 14 days for comments on the applicants. The TBA will submit its recommendations following the special board meeting.
Find out the details from the AOC
Bell wants to depose disciplinary counsel
General Sessions Judge John Bell is demanding the right to depose Joseph S. Daniel, disciplinary counsel for the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary, and review "all complaints" of unnecessary ruling delays filed against judges in the state since January 2003. Daniel is prosecuting a case against Bell before the Court of the Judiciary, in which Bell is accused of improperly handling a civil case and then conspiring with a lawyer to persuade the plaintiff in that case to drop his complaint against Bell. Daniel responded with a motion to quash the subpoena attorney Gordon Ball filed on behalf of Bell.
The News Sentinel has the story
State approves guides for teaching the Bible in public schools
The Tennessee Board of Education on Thursday approved guidelines on how to teach the Bible in public high schools. The curriculum is in response to 2008 legislation, which authorized the state to create a course for a "nonsectarian, nonreligious academic study of the Bible." "Whether these classes are constitutional depends on who teaches them and how they are taught," Hedy Weinberg, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said. "The devil is in the details."
The Tennessean looks into it
Jellico court system is back in business
The town of Jellico, after reestablishing its court system about eight months ago, has seen rewards since cases are now heard locally instead of everyone going to Jacksboro for justice. "Jellico is so far from the county seat that it was very inconvenient not only for law enforcement to travel to, but citizens as well," says Jellico's Municipal Judge Charles Herman. Court is held twice a month on Mondays, two weeks apart at 6 p.m.
Read more in the LaFollette Press
Blount County group elects officers
Newly elected officers of the Blount County Bar Association for 2010 are Diane Hicks, president, with Goddard & Hicks; Angela Snyder, vice president, with Costner & Greene; Gina Jenkins, secretary, with Gibson & Jenkins Don Crane, treasurer. All are from Maryville.

Hearings today on Kentucky's death penalty protocol
A public hearing was held today, a month after the Kentucky Supreme Court ordered executions halted because the state skipped public hearings on the administrative regulations that make up the protocol for lethal injections. Among other concerns, speakers said changes are needed in how a condemned inmate's religious needs are handled and how much of an execution the public can witness. carried this AP story
Lawyer lays out reasons for needing a will
Nashville attorney Barbara Moss explains who needs a will and why in her column
in the Tennessean
Blackburn will skip tea party convention
Rep. Marsha Blackburn and a congresswoman from Minnesota have changed their minds about speaking at the national tea party convention being held in Nashville next week. Both lawmakers' offices released statements earlier this week citing concerns about how funds raised by the convention might be used. Many tea party activists across the country are boycotting the convention over its $550-per person ticket price and the $100,000 fee being paid to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as keynote speaker.
WSMV-TV has the story
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer suspended
On Jan. 25, the Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order summarily and temporarily suspending Knoxville lawyer Kathy Burns Stillman from the practice of law for failing to respond to the board regarding a complaint of misconduct.
Read the BPR news release
Nashville lawyer suspended
On Jan. 25, the Tennessee Supreme Court temporarily suspended the law license of Jerry Maynard II of Nashville, for failure to respond to a complaint of ethical misconduct. Maynard, a Metro Nashville Council member, told today that no client had filed a grievance against him. The complaint, he said, took the form of a query from the BPR that included copies of articles written for The City Paper and The Tennessean last June. Because of a serious illness he was going through, he says "I did not timely file a response to the BPR." Maynard said he has not practiced law in years. "I pastor a church, and I have nothing to do with the law."
Read the BPR release
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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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