Ethics programs promise better understanding of rules

If you want to understand how Tennessee ethics rules apply to situations you face in your practice every day, make time to attend the Feb. 19 TennBarU seminar that will be presented in Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. Attorneys representing the Board of Professional Responsibility -- the state entity that investigates allegations of attorney misconduct -- as well as attorneys who represent those accused of wrongdoing will be leading the program. Through the use of role-playing and interactive discussion, you will gain unique insight on avoiding the ethical traps most frequently encountered by lawyers.

Find out more about these TennBarU programs

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Court: TSC


David I. Komisar, Nashville, Tennessee, for the petitioner, Dudley King.

Robert H. Waldschmidt, Nashville, Tennessee, for the respondent, Robert H. Waldschmidt, Trustee.

Judge: LEE

The certified question from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Tennessee that we address in this case is: whether the consignment of a recreational vehicle ("RV") by a consumer to a Tennessee RV dealer for the purpose of selling the RV to a third person is a transaction covered under Tennessee Code Annotated section 47-2-326, a part of Tennessee's version of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code. We answer the certified question in the negative.


Court: TCA


John P. Williams, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lone Star Oil & Gas, Inc.

Phillips M. Smalling, Byrdstown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Elmer C. Howard.


Lessee filed a declaratory action to interpret an Oil and Gas Lease ("the Lease") after Lessor denied access to the property. Upon concluding that the Lease terminated by its own terms, the trial court denied relief to Lessee. Lessee appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCA


Arthur G. Seymour, Jr., and Kevin A. Dean, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Scott Moore and appellee, Paul Pinkston.

Herbert Moncier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, State of Tennessee, ex rel, Robert Wolfenbarger, III., and "Citizen Plaintiffs".


Sixteen "citizen plaintiffs" filed this ouster suit against Scott Moore and Paul Pinkston, Knox County Commissioners. Plaintiffs demanded a jury, which the Trial Court disallowed and, following an evidentiary hearing, the Trial Judge found that Scott Moore should be removed from office, but held the petitioners were unsuccessful in their attempt to oust Paul Pinkston. The parties have appealed and we hold that plaintiffs are entitled to a jury to decide the factual issues in dispute and vacate the Trial Court's Judgment as to Paul Pinkston and remand for a new trial. The Judgment as to Scott Moore is affirmed.


Court: TCA


Henry Forrester, Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael R. S.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Joshua Davis Baker, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.


Father appeals an order terminating his parental rights to his three children. The trial court determined, by clear and convincing evidence, that the father had failed to comply with the permanency plans and had abandoned his children by willfully failing to visit and by failing to provide a suitable home. Because the conditions leading to the children's removal persisted more than six months, the trial court found that there was little likelihood that the conditions would be remedied, and the children would likely be subjected to further neglect if returned to the father's custody. Finally, the trial court concluded that termination of the father's parental rights was in the best interest of the children. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Ryan B. Feeney, Selmer, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Hugo Brooks.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; Hansel J. McCadams, District Attorney General; and Frankie K. Stanfill and Ed N. McDaniel, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Michael Hugo Brooks, was convicted by a Hardin County jury of DUI, third offense, and was sentenced by the trial court to 11 months, 29 days, with 120 days to serve in the county jail followed by probation. The sole issue the defendant raises in this appeal is whether the trial court committed plain error by denying his motion to suppress. Based on our review, we conclude that he has not shown the existence of plain error in the trial court's ruling. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Lance R. Chism, Memphis, Tennessee (on appeal); and Robert Wilson Jones, District Public Defender; and Robert Felkner and Glenda Adams, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Jonathan Ransom.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Amy Weirich, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Jonathan Ransom, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to twenty-five years as a Range I, standard offender. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Phyllis Aluko, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Nathaniel Richardson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel W. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and David Zak, Assistant District Attorney General; for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Nathaniel Richardson, pled guilty to second degree murder in Shelby County and received a twenty-year sentence. At the guilty plea hearing, Appellant reserved the following certified questions of law for appeal pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2) of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure: 1) Whether the trial court erred by denying [Appellant's] motion to suppress all the evidence taken from the trunk of the car that was seized by the police on September 13, 2004? Whether the seizure of the car from the parking lot where [Appellant] worked in the absence of a search warrant violated the U.S. Const. amend. IV and amend. XIV and Art. 1 section 7 and section 8 of the Tennessee Constitution and in violation of Rule 41 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure; thereby[ ] requiring that the evidence taken from the trunk be suppressed? A search warrant was later signed on September 15, 2004[,] and the vehicle was searched. 2) Whether the trial court erred by determining that [Appellant] was legally competent to stand trial. We determine that the trial court properly denied the motion to suppress where officers had probable cause to seize Appellant's car. We decline to address Appellant's remaining arguments regarding his statements to police, detention by police, and validity of the search warrant as they were not presented in the certified questions presented. Further, we determine that the issue regarding Appellant's competency is not dispositive and, therefore, not a proper certified question. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Russell T. Greene, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Justin Michael Scott.

RobertE.Cooper,Jr.,AttorneyGeneraland Reporter;and David H.Findley,SeniorCounsel; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Kethe appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Justin Michael Scott, pled guilty in the Knox County Criminal Court to vehicular assault and driving on a revoked license. He received a total effective sentence of three years, to be suspended after service of six months in the Knox County Jail. On appeal, the appellant challenges the trial court's failure to grant a sentence of full probation. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


David K. Calfee, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Arthur W. Stamey, III.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Stephen M. Hatchett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Arthur W. Stamey, III, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis. In this appeal, he contends that the coram nobis court erred by permitting two witnesses to testify for the State and by concluding that those witnesses were more credible than the petitioner. He also claims that the court erred by concluding that a letter of recantation written by the victim did not constitute newly discovered evidence. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the coram nobis court.


Court: TCCA


Leah Joy Ward, Memphis, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Rachel E. Willis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Pro se Petitioner Leah Joy Ward filed a petition for post-conviction relief, asserting she was denied effective assistance of counsel resulting in her conviction for first degree premeditated murder. The post-conviction court concluded that her petition was barred by the statute of limitations and denied it without a hearing. She appeals, arguing due process concerns should toll the statute of limitations. We affirm.


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