ABA facing major changes; Robinson on path for president

A resolution scheduled to come before the American Bar Association House of Delegates meeting tomorrow would cut dues to the national organization for solo practitioners by about 50 percent. ABA President Carolyn Lamm cited dues as a reason why 70 percent of lawyers are not ABA members. A series of staff and organizational changes have taken place on her watch, she said, including the resignation last fall of the executive director, and the termination of the CFO and chief budget staff person.

Also as part of the meeting this week, former ABA treasurer and past president of the Kentucky Bar Association, William T. (Bill) Robinson III, was selected as president-elect nominee. It is expected that in August 2010, Robinson will become the president-elect for one year leading to his one-year term as president, which will begin in August 2011.

Find out more about the ABA Midyear Meeting

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Court: TSC



Court: TCA


John C. Speer, M. Ruthie Hagan, Tiffany A. Yates, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Condominium Management Associates, Inc.

Clyde W. Keenan, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Fairway Village Owner's Association, Inc.


Property manager CMA sued homeowner's association Fairway Village when Fairway Village failed to pay money owed to CMA for management fees and property repairs. Fairway Village counter-claimed against CMA and cross-claimed against CMA President Willingham, claiming that both had defrauded Fairway Village. Following protracted litigation, the chancery court dismissed Fairway Village's claims against CMA and Willingham, finding that it had failed to carry its burden of proof. The chancery court awarded CMA a judgment for fees and repairs, as well as a reduced attorney fee, but it denied CMA's request for prejudgment interest. We affirm the chancery court's finding that CMA owed no fiduciary duty to Fairway Village, its exclusion of accountant Hood's testimony, and its award of attorney fees to CMA. We find that the chancery court's judgment was not against the weight of the evidence, and we reverse its denial of prejudgment interest. We award CMA its attorney fees on appeal. This case is remanded to the trial court for a determination of prejudgment interest and appellate attorney fees owed to CMA.



Court: TCCA


Jerry J. Fabus, Jr., Gray, Tennessee, for the appellant, Douglas Keith Bear.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Amber Massengill and Julie Canter, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Douglas Keith Bear, appeals his convictions in the Criminal Court for Sullivan County for four counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony, and four counts of incest, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced him to twenty-five years for each count of rape of a child and to six years for each count of incest. Three of the rape sentences were to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of seventy-five years. On appeal, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence is insufficient to sustain his convictions, (2) that the trial court erred in refusing to allow the defense to offer evidence of the victim's prior sexual behavior, (3) that the trial court erred when it determined that a child witness was available for the defense despite the witness's adoption by a foster parent, (4) that the trial court erred in allowing the State to attack the testimony of the Defendant's witnesses during the State's closing argument, and (5) that the trial court erred in sentencing him to seventy- five years as a Range I offender. We affirm the convictions, but we conclude that the trial court erred in applying two enhancement factors to the Defendant's sentences. Although consecutive sentences are appropriate, we modify the Defendant's sentences for rape of a child to twenty-three years each and the Defendant's sentences for incest to five years each, for an effective sixty-nine year sentence.



Court: TCCA


Patrick T. McNally (on appeal) and Lorraine Wade (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Carl G. Boone.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michael Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Patrick Butler, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Carl G. Boone, was convicted by a Maury County jury of reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor, and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. The trial court merged the reckless endangerment conviction into the aggravated assault conviction and sentenced the defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to ten years at thirty-five percent in the Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence by misapplying enhancement factors and failing to apply appropriate factors in mitigation. Following our review, we affirm the sentencing imposed by the trial court. However, we remand for entry of corrected judgment forms to reflect that the reckless endangerment count of the indictment merged into the aggravated assault count and that the defendant was found not guilty of the aggravated rape count rather than not guilty by reason of insanity, as marked on the judgment form.



Court: TCCA


James T. Bowman and Matthew A. Carter, Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Poncho Juan Delgado.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General; and Dennis Brooks and Erin McArdle, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Washington County Grand Jury indicted the defendant, Poncho Juan Delgado, for first degree premeditated murder and arson. After the first day of trial, the case was delayed due to the illness of the judge. The trial court subsequently declared a mistrial and denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment against him because of double jeopardy. The trial court granted the defendant's request for an interlocutory appeal pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. Upon review, we affirm the ruling of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Ashley Preston, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Ronald Leslie McKnight.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Ronald Leslie McKnight, pled guilty to one count of selling less than 0.5 grams of a Schedule II controlled substance and to three counts of aggravated burglary. The parties agreed to a six-year sentence for the drug sale conviction and a four-year sentence for each of the aggravated robbery convictions, with the trial court to determine the manner of service and alignment of the sentences. The trial court imposed partial consecutive sentencing, for a total effective sentence of ten years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court erred when it denied him an alternative sentence. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgments.



Court: TCCA


Richard Lynn Norton, Mountain City, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; and Anthony Wade Clark, District Attorney General.


The Petitioner, Richard Lynn Norton, appeals pro se the Criminal Court for Johnson County's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to render judgment for his convictions, that the trial court erred in dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus without an evidentiary hearing and without appointing counsel, that the trial court erred by failing to rule on his motion to amend, and that his sentences have expired. Because the Petitioner's notice of appeal was not timely filed, we dismiss the appeal.



Court: TCCA


Joe H. Walker, District Public Defender; and Walter B. Johnson, Assistant Public Defender, attorneys for appellant, Kevin Spurling.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Bill Reedy, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Kevin Spurling, pled guilty to one count of statutory rape, a Class E felony and received an agreed sentence of two years, as a Range I, standard offender, with the manner of service left to the discretion of the trial court. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court denied the Defendant's request for judicial diversion and imposed a sentence of split confinement with ninety days to serve in the county jail followed by probation. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that the trial court erred in denying judicial diversion and, in the alternative, in requiring the service of ninety days in jail prior to probation. Because the trial court failed to make any specific findings on the record relative to its denial of judicial diversion, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.



Legal News
Legislative News
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TBA Member Services

Legal News
Firm gives scholarship donation to Fisk, honors African-American execs
Bass, Berry & Sims PLC recently gave a $5,000 scholarship donation to Fisk University President Hazel R. O'Leary from the firm's African-American Affinity Group. The gift was given during the firm's second annual Salute to African-American Executives. The event, a networking and luncheon program held in honor of African-American executives and influential leaders in Nashville and surrounding communities, was held at Bass, Berry & Sims' new Nashville offices in the Pinnacle at Symphony Place.
Learn more and see pictures from the event
Clerk election shaping up to be a 'loo loo'
Davidson County Juvenile Court Clerk Vic Lineweaver has been in the news a lot, columnist Gail Kerr points out, and not in the good way. Eleven opponents have lined up so far to run against him, trying to nab the $103,000 salaried position.
Read her column in the Tennessean
Renovated courthouse out of money but not finished
Although nearly all of the $7.7 million allocated for a renovation of Williamson County's antebellum courthouse in downtown Franklin has been spent, it isn't ready for new tenants, and observers say they are not sure what it will be used for.
Read more in the Tennessean
TBA reception honors Nashville attorney Mayden
The Tennessee Bar Association hosted a reception honoring Nashville attorney Barbara Mendel Mayden for her contributions to the legal community on Saturday during the ABA Midwinter Meeting in Orlando, Fla. Also supporting the event were the University of Tennessee College of Law, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School.
See photos from the event on TBAConnect
Judges grappling with questions brought by child porn victims
A 20-year-old woman who was the victim of her uncle's child pornography abuse 11 years ago is taking aim at anyone who would view those images and asking for restitution in hundreds of criminal cases around the country. Her requests and those filed by other victims of child pornography are forcing federal judges nationwide to grapple with tough legal questions: Is someone who possesses an abusive image responsible for the harm suffered by a particular child? And how much should that person have to pay?
The Associated Press looks into it
Knox charter amendment suit can go forward
Knox County Chancellor John Weaver says that a suit seeking to invalidate a 2008 amendment to the Knox County Charter can move forward. The amendment reduces the size of the County Commission, bars county employees from serving on the panel and prevents commissioners from voting on matters in which they have a conflict of interest.
The News Sentinel reported the news
Washko is managing shareholder at Ogletree
Elizabeth (Liz) Washko has been named as the new managing shareholder for Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC's Nashville office. She takes over from Tom Davis who, after five years in the position, has become the practice group leader of the firm's Traditional Labor Practice Group. In her role, Washko will be responsible for the leadership, growth and day-to-day operation of the office.

Arrested missionary group gets new lawyer
Haitian lawyer Edwin Coq has been fired from his representation of 10 American missionaries after their arrest last week in Haiti. Coq had requested $60,000 of the Americans' families, which their Dominican Republic lawyer said was "some kind of extortion with government officials" that would have led to the release of nine of the 10 missionaries. Coq said it was his fee, although he had told the AP on Friday that he was working for no fee.
Fox61 reports
Social media helping police; warn your clients
Metro Nashville police have started using social media sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube as investigative tools, resources they say are becoming more and more useful in catching criminals and gathering evidence against them. This has caused at least one area criminal defense attorney to caution clients to shut down their social media pages.
The Tennessean has the story
Napier-Looby Bar Foundation Banquet is Feb. 18
The Napier-Looby Bar Foundation's 6th Annual Barristers' Banquet and Award Program will be Feb. 18 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. Reception is at 6 p.m. with dinner and program at 7 p.m. The event will feature keynote speaker Max Siegel, head of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program and entertainment by the Fisk Jubilee Singers. For more information, contact William Stover or Andrea Perry
Learn more or purchase tickets here
Legislative News
Track legislation of interest to Tennessee attorneys
The TBA Action List tracks bills in the General Assembly that the TBA has a direct interest in. This means it has either initiated the legislation, taken a postiion on the bill or has a policy on the issue. The TBA Watch List is a broader list of bills of interest to the Tennessee legal community.
TBA Bill Tracking Service
Herenton starts campaign to unseat Cohen
Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton opened his Congressional campaign Saturday afternoon to a crowd of around 300 in East Memphis. Herenton is seeking to unseat incumbent Steve Cohen in the August Democratic primary. "God is for us. God is on our side," Herenton began as he talked about his record as Memphis mayor, touting the city's fiscal condition and healthy reserves, Downtown development and the transition of public housing projects to mixed use-mixed income housing.
The Memphis Daily News has the story
Disciplinary Actions
Memphis lawyer censured
Memphis lawyer Archie Sanders III was publicly censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 2 for violating the Rules of Professional Conduct by failing to diligently move his clients' case towards resolution and by failing to adequately communicate with his clients.
Read the BPR news release
Dandridge lawyer disbarred
Jeffrey L. Jones of Dandridge was disbarred by order of the Tennessee Supreme Court on Feb. 5. Jones delivered to the Board of Professional Responsibility an affidavit consenting to disbarment because he could not successfully defend himself on charges filed against him on Nov. 18, 2008.
Read the BPR news release
TBA Member Services
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Lets face it. Information about your in-transit shipments is critical to your business. Now when you track a package on fedex.com, you have even greater visibility into the status of your shipments. You can customize your tracking results page, organize your shipments by status, easily send and receive proactive e-mail notifications on shipments, and save time with the updated and streamlined Signature Proof of Delivery request process.
Take advantage of your member discounts on select FedEx shipping services and FedEx Office business services

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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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