Federal judges get 'Twitter instructions'

The rules for jury service in state and federal courts alike are evolving to grapple with the 21st century issue of electronic media. New jury instructions are being adopted and electronics are being banned from courtrooms. In January, the federal court's top administrative office, the Judicial Conference of the United States, issued so-called "Twitter instructions" to every federal judge, which are designed to be read to jurors at the start of the trial and before deliberations. "You may not use any electronic device or media" in connection with the case, the recommended federal instructions admonish. They also bar visits to "any Internet chat room, blog, or website such as Facebook, My Space, LinkedIn, YouTube or Twitter."

The Kingsport Times News carried this AP story

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/certlist_030810.pdf


IN RE: I.M.P., A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS, J.J.A., Petitioner/Appellant, v. M.P., ET AL., Respondents/Appellees

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James R. LaFevor, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, J.J.A.

Theodore Kern, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, M.P.

Laura S. Hash, Clinton, Tennessee, Guardian ad Litem.

Petitioner brought this action in Juvenile Court to establish paternity and set co-parenting time with the child. The mother answered and, as an affirmative defense, averred that the father had signed a waiver of his parental right and cited the statutes stating that a waiver of parental rights could not be revoked. The Trial Court appointed a guardian ad litem, and the sole issue tried by the Trial Court was whether the waiver should be voided on the grounds that the father had signed the waiver under duress and undue pressure. The Trial Judge found that the father failed to carry the burden of proof to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he signed the waiver of interest and notice due to fraud, duress or intentional misrepresentation. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/imp_030810.pdf


LAMAR TENNESSEE, LLC, ET AL. v. METROPOLITAN BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert M. Holland, Jr., Donald P. Paul, James A. Beakes, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency.

Sue B. Cain, Deputy Director of Law, Department of Law of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County; Lora Barkenbus Fox, J. Brooks Fox, Paul J. Campbell, II, Assistant Metropolitan Attorneys for the appellant, Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals and Metropolitan Government.

Lawrence P. Leibowitz, C. Ryan Stinnett, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Lamar Tennessee, LLC d/b/a Lamar Advertising of Nashville and Frank C. May.

Judge: COTTRELL

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County adopted a redevelopment plan for an area of the city which included the site of a long-existing billboard. The Tennessee Department of Transportation subsequently ordered the removal of the billboard to accommodate a road-widening project. The sign's owner filed an application for a permit to relocate the sign on another portion of its leasehold, but the city declined to approve the application because the redevelopment plan totally prohibits signs of that type. The sign company filed a petition for certiorari in the Chancery Court of Davidson County, asserting that Tenn. Code Ann. section 13-7-208 of the zoning statutes gave it the right to replace the sign. The court agreed, and ordered the city to re-evaluate the permit application in accordance with the statutory provisions for a pre-existing non-conforming use after a change of zoning. We reverse, finding that the grandfather provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. section 13-7-208 have no applicability to the restrictions contained in redevelopment plans under Tenn. Code Ann. section 13-20-201 et seq.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/lamartennessee_030810.pdf


BOLON CUSTOM KITCHENS v. ROBERT AND NORMA PARMAN

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David B. Herbert, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Robert and Norma Parman.

Donald R. Barrett and Samuel B. Dreiling, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee Bolon Custom Kitchens.

Judge: DINKINS

Materials supplier filed suit to enforce a lien upon property for unpaid costs of improvement to the residence; the trial court granted supplier's motion for summary judgment. The property owners appeal, asserting that supplier's lien was barred by the filing of the Notice of Completion or, in the alternative, that supplier's Notice of Lien was not properly filed with the Register's Office. Finding that supplier had a valid lien, the trial court's judgment is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/parmanr_030810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. COREY GILLIAM

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joseph S. Ozment, Memphis, Tennessee, for the defendant-appellant, Corey Gilliam

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

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Corey Gilliam, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of theft of property valued at over $1,000, felon in possession of a handgun, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, and driving on a suspended license. He was sentenced to twelve years as a career offender for the theft of property conviction, six years as a career offender for the felon in possession of a handgun conviction, eleven months and twenty-nine days for the leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury conviction, and eleven months and twenty-nine days for the second or subsequent driving on a suspended license conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences to be served consecutively. In this appeal, the defendant argues: (1) the insufficiency of the evidence; (2) the trial court erred by providing the jury with an instruction on reasonable doubt that was unconstitutional; (3) the trial court erred by finding that the defendant's 2007 conviction for aggravated robbery was admissible for impeachment; (4) the imposition of consecutive sentencing violated the Sixth Amendment; (5) the State failed to elect when the defendant drove on a suspended license in the indictment; and (6) the jury instructions for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury and driving on a suspended license failed to charge a mens rea. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/gilliamc_030810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRANDON McCOY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert C. Richardson, Jr., Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandon McCoy.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Bottoms, District Attorney General; and Dan Runde, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: WOODALL

Following a jury trial, Defendant, Brandon McCoy, was convicted of two counts each of attempted second degree murder, a Class B felony, attempted especially aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and attempted aggravated robbery, a Class C felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to twelve years for each attempted second degree murder conviction in counts one and two of the indictment, twelve years for each attempted especially aggravated robbery conviction in counts three and four, and six years for each attempted aggravated robbery conviction in counts five and six. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve his sentences in counts one, three, four, five and six of the indictment concurrently. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve his sentence in count two concurrently with counts three, four, five, and six, but consecutively to Defendant's sentence in count one for an effective sentence of twenty-four years. Defendant's convictions were affirmed on appeal, but we remanded for a new sentencing hearing because the trial court failed to make the findings required by State v. Wilkerson, 905 S.W.2d 933 (Tenn. 1995) to support the imposition of consecutive sentencing based on a finding that Defendant was a dangerous offender. State v. Brandon McCoy, No. M2007-00421-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 1774985 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, April 18, 2008). On remand, the trial court again imposed an effective sentence of twenty-four years. On appeal, Defendant argues that the trial court erred in finding that an extended sentence is necessary to protect the public. After a thorough review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/mccoyb_030810.pdf


CLEO PATTERSON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Cleo Patterson, Pro Se, Memphis, Tennessee

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Alanda H. Dwyer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Petitioner, Cleo Patterson, pleaded guilty to shoplifting, first degree burglary, sale of marijuana, and DUI in the Montgomery County Circuit Court. He subsequently filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Shelby County Criminal Court which was summarily dismissed. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that the trial court erred in failing to appoint counsel and in failing to grant an evidentiary hearing. He also contends that he is restrained of liberty because of his aforementioned "void" convictions. Upon review, we affirm the judgment summarily dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/pattersonc_030810.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. MICHAEL STEWART

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert W. Jones, District Public Defender; Barry W. Kuhn, Assistant Public Defender, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Michael Stewart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Bryan Davis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Michael Stewart, was convicted of destruction or interference with utility lines, a Class E felony, following a bench trial in the Criminal Court of Shelby County. He was sentenced as a multiple offender to three years and three months in the county workhouse. On appeal, Stewart claims the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because the State did not rebut his defenses of duress and necessity beyond a reasonable doubt. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/stewartm_030810.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

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Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Dumas trial continued
An agreed order of continuance was filed today continuing the scheduled trial of Gloria Dumas from April 5 to July 28-30. The order says Dumas has surgery scheduled in March, the parties need more time to prepare, and they have agreed to attend mediation.
Download the order
Memphis law students advance to national competition
A University of Memphis team of law students won the San Francisco Regional completion of the National Appellate Advocacy Competition, sponsored by the American Bar Association. Tracy Bradshaw and Grace Whiting will advance to the national level of competition in Chicago in April, along with the top four teams from each of the six regions. U of M law professor Barbara Kritchevsky, director of the school's advocacy program, was the principal coach for this and one other team, with assistance at the competition from U of M law alumnus Tim Perkins. Thirty-three teams competed in the San Francisco regional; about 200 teams compete altogether across the country in the competition.
Learn more from the University of Memphis
More than 150 first responders helped by TBA young lawyers
The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division hosted a free Wills for Heroes clinic in Nashville on Feb. 27. More than 150 first responders and their spouses were served through this one-day clinic organized by Nashville lawyer Jenney Springer with Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, and Lebanon lawyer David Veile with Lowery, Lowery & Cherry. The service project is part of a statewide effort. Plans are in the works for events in Cookeville (March 27), Bristol (April 10), Knoxville (May 1) and Chattanooga (May 22). To get involved contact David Veile at dveile@lowerylaw.com
See photos from the Nashville event on TBAConnect
Rutherford Cannon County Bar has new officers
New officers of the Rutherford Cannon County Bar Association for 2010 were sworn in on Feb. 27. They are: R. Timothy Hogan, president; Thomas S. Santel Jr., vice president; Diana Benson Burns, secretary; and David L. Scott, treasurer.

KBF grant applications due this month
The deadline for submitting grant applications to the Knoxville Bar Foundation is March 19. Since 1997, the foundation has awarded approximately $195,000 in grants for local law-related programs. Last year the Board of Directors approved seven grant requests, totaling $26,000. For more information, contact Thomas M. Hale, chairman, at (865) 525-5134 or e-mail him at tomhale@kramer-rayson.com
Download an application
Races for clerk jobs turning political
The race for Criminal Court and Juvenile Court clerk jobs in Nashville have turned into hot political battles. Some are asking why. "I would say it strikes people as odd that candidates are running political kinds of campaigns for those administrative kinds of jobs," said at-large Councilman Ronnie Steine, a Metro government veteran.
The Tennessean reports
Executions will start earlier
The state Department of Correction announced today the process for capital punishment sentences will begin at 10 p.m. CST, instead of 1 a.m., effective June 1. The sentences had been carried out at 1 a.m. to allow for time to proceed on a scheduled date and to minimize interference with institutional operations, the Correction Department said in a statement. Correction Commissioner Gayle Ray said in the statement the time change was made in consideration of crime victim's families, prison staff and the public at large.
The News Sentinel reported the news
Upcoming
Portrait of Chancellor Sharon Bell to be unveiled
A portrait of the Hon. Sharon Bell will be unveiled April 16 at Knoxville's City-County Building following a 3 p.m. ceremony and reception. Friends, family and colleagues are invited. The portrait will remain in Knox County Chancery Court, Part III, where Bell presided from 1986 until her retirement in 2006.

Supreme Court Report
High court to hear case of funeral protesters
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to consider the legal fight over the anti-gay protesters who show up at military funerals with inflammatory messages like "Thank God for dead soldiers." The justices will hear an appeal from the father of a Marine killed in Iraq to reinstate a $5 million verdict against the protesters, after they picketed outside his son's funeral in Maryland. A jury in Baltimore awarded Albert Snyder damages for emotional distress and invasion of privacy, but a federal appeals court threw out the verdict. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the signs contained "imaginative and hyperbolic rhetoric" protected by the First Amendment.
WATE.com carried this AP story
Torture suit against Rumsfeld can proceed
A ruling on Friday has allowed a suit filed by two former U.S. workers for an Iraq-owned security firm to proceed against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The Chicago federal judge overseeing the suit, Wayne Andersen, denied Rumsfeld's motion to dismiss the suit, holding that the plaintiffs had alleged enough to open up discovery.
ABAJournal.com connects you to this story
Legislative News
'50-50' bill would take discretion from judges
Tennessee legislators are considering a fundamental change in the way child custody and visitation is divvied up between parents. The "equal time" bill would split a child's time 50-50, take discretion away from judges, and replace the current "Parenting Plan" system.
WPLN capitol correspondent Joe White explains
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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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