Estate Planning Forum returns to Nashville

Some of the state's top estate planners will be sharing their knowledge on estate planning developments and topics important to Tennessee practitioners at the upcoming Estate Planning Forum, Feb. 26, in Nashville. This information-packed, full-day TennBarU program will provide seven CLE hours and include a luncheon address from Knoxville attorney Anne McKinney.

Find out more or register now

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Court: TCCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Hugh T. Ammerman, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Frank E. Mondelli and Peter D. Heil, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert Lee Archibald, Jr.


The Defendant, Robert Lee Archibald, Jr., was charged with one count of possession with intent to sell or deliver twenty-six grams or more of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. He filed a motion to suppress the evidence against him, arguing that the search warrant authorizing the search was defective. The Davidson Count Criminal Court granted his motion. The State now appeals that grant. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Myron Lorenzo Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Sarah Davis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Myron Lorenzo Johnson, was convicted by a Davidson County jury of first degree premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, and especially aggravated robbery. The trial court merged the convictions for first degree premeditated murder and felony murder. For these convictions, the Defendant received an effective sentence of life imprisonment plus sixty years. In this direct appeal, the Defendant raises the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying his motion for a mistrial after the victim's mother fainted in front of the jury; and (2) whether the trial court erred under Tennessee Rule of Evidence 404(b) by allowing testimony that the Defendant was involved in the drug trade. Following a review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Stacie Odeneal, Loretto, Tennessee, for the appellant, Demetrius L. Lancaster.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Richard Dunavant, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Demetrius L. Lancaster, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school zone, being a convicted felon in possession of a weapon, and sale of .5 grams or more of cocaine. He received an effective fourteen-year sentence, as a Range I, standard offender for these convictions, which sentence was to be served consecutively to a prior seventeen-year sentence. The Petitioner then filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court held an evidentiary hearing on the petition and subsequently entered an order denying relief. The Petitioner appeals. Because the record on appeal does not include a transcript of the evidentiary hearing in the post-conviction court, we conclude that the Petitioner has waived the issues argued on appeal. We must presume that the post-conviction court correctly denied post-conviction relief and, therefore, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Edward E. DeWerff, (at trial), and Gregory D. Smith, (on appeal), Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Todd Burton Samuelson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Assistant Attorney General; John Wesley Carney, Jr., District Attorney General; and Arthur F. Bieber and John E. Finklea, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

After a bench trial, a Montgomery County Circuit Court found the appellant, Todd Burton Samuelson, guilty of second degree murder, a lesser-included offense in an indictment that charged him with first degree murder and tampering with evidence. The court, which dismissed the tampering with evidence count at the close of the State's case, sentenced the appellant to 20 years in prison. On appeal, the appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction for second degree murder and that this court should modify his conviction to voluntary manslaughter. Based upon our review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court on the second degree murder charge. We remand to the trial court for entry of a judgment dismissing the tampering with evidence charge.


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Legal News
Outlook for lawyers in Memphis positive
The Memphis Daily News looks at the economic recovery through the lens of the legal profession, discovering that things seem to be on a slow upswing. "It's a new day, and we're going to have to be very cautious," says Keith Simmons, managing partner in the Nashville office of Bass Berry & Sims. "I think 2010 will be a better year than 2009. It's going to be a slow, gradual recovery ... and I think the law industry in general is going to mirror the economy," The Memphis Bar Association, Memphis Area Legal Services and Counsel on Call also comment on the recovery of the legal market.
The Memphis Daily News has the story
Recurring theme: Convicted murderer escapes while on bathroom break
A Memphis man is on the loose today after asking for a bathroom break while waiting for a verdict in his first-degree murder trial Saturday afternoon. Because he was technically still out on bond, he was allowed to go unattended. But the 21-year-old didn't come back to hear the jury's "guilty" verdict. "I'm sure he just got scared," Marvin Ballin, Dearick Stokes' attorney said. "He's just a young kid." TBA Today reported a similar bathroom escape in Kentucky Jan. 21.
The Commercial Appeal has this story
Bill Bovender honored with lifetime award
The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce honored longtime Kingsport resident, attorney and community leader Bill Bovender with its prestigious Lifetime Member Award last week. The award goes to an individual who has made an enormous contribution to the Kingsport Chamber and the community throughout his or her lifetime. Bovender is a member the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, a Tennessee Bar Foundation Fellow and a former member of the House of Delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association.
The Kingsport Times News tells you more
Legal Opportunity Scholarship deadline March 1
Applications are available for the American Bar Association's Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, which is "intended to encourage racial and ethnic minority students to apply to law school and to provide financial assistance to scholarship recipients." The fund awards $5,000 of assistance annually to each recipient attending an ABA-accredited law school. Apply by the March 1 deadline at
Civil rights heroes honored in D.C. gallery
A new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is showcasing figures who played major roles in advancing civil rights. Photographs, paintings, sculptures and other items from the gallery's permanent collection are featured in "The Struggle for Justice." Among those depicted are abolitionist Frederick Douglass, suffragist Susan B. Anthony and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Curators say the exhibit tells the stories of leaders whose efforts prompted historic change in the status of blacks, women, gays, people with intellectual and physical disabilities and other groups. The exhibit will be on permanent display at the museum. The Associated Press reported the news.

Your Practice
You might need a 'virtual escape'
The same technology that has freed attorneys from their physical office space has also tethered them to clients around the clock, perhaps thwarting work-life balance as much as it helps. In fact, more than four-fifths of lawyers use a BlackBerry or other smartphone while away from the office, according to the 2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, up from 67 percent in 2008 and 53 percent in 2007. Read about some lawyers who were able to disconnect, at least while on vacation, and find out if that might be for you.
The ABAJournal has the story
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Other associations may offer you a discount for online legal research, but only the TBA gives it to you FREE with your membership. As a TBA member, you have free access to Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm offering a benefit that is national in scope with unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing. And it all comes AT NO COST to TBA members.
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Napier-Looby Bar Foundation Banquet is Feb. 18
The Napier-Looby Bar Foundation's 6th Annual Barristers' Banquet and Award Program will be this Thursday 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

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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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