Explore opportunities in Elder Law practice

If you are considering expanding your practice into the area of Elder Law, tune in to two upcoming TennBarU webcasts: Elder Law 101 and Elder Law 102. Both hour-long programs will be webcast live on March 30, and then can be viewed later as online video programs. The sessions will be taught by Dana Perry, a shareholder in the law firm of Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC.

Visit TennBarU for details on topics to be covered in these webcasts

Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

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You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.


Court: TCCA


Tracy Jackson Smith, Knoxville, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Timothy Flood.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Steven W. Sword, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Timothy Flood, appeals as of right the Knox County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his conviction for four counts of child rape. On appeal, the Petitioner argues that he did not waive his claims regarding speedy trial and sentencing because appellate counsel was ineffective in neglecting to raise these claims and that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial and on appeal. Following our review, we affirm the post-conviction court's judgment denying the petition for post- conviction relief.



Court: TCCA


Brett B. Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Antonio Hill.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Pamela Fleming, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Antonio Hill, was convicted by a Shelby County jury of robbery, a Class C felony, and attempted robbery, a Class D felony, as lesser included offenses of the indicted offenses of aggravated robbery and attempted aggravated robbery. The trial court subsequently sentenced the defendant to concurrent sentences of five years and three and one-half years for the respective convictions. On appeal, the defendant raises the single issue of whether his sentence is excessive. Specifically, he contends that the trial court erred in considering the enhancement factor that the defendant possessed or employed a firearm during the commission of the offenses based upon the jury's rejection of the greater offenses, which included possession of a firearm as elements of the offense. Following review of the record and applicable sentencing law, we affirm the sentences as imposed.



Court: TCCA


Steven B. Ward, Madisonville, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Terry Wayne Hawkins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Amy Tarkington, Deputy Attorney General; R. Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Andrew Freiberg, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Terry Wayne Hawkins, was convicted by a Monroe County jury of aggravated sexual battery and was sentenced to eleven years as a Range I, violent offender. In this appeal as of right, he contends that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


WITT concurring


Court: TCCA


Kent L. Booher, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donald Lockhart.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; Frank Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Appellant Donald Lockhart was indicted by a Loudon County Grand Jury for driving under the influence in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-10-401. The trial court denied a motion to suppress evidence derived from the stop of Appellant's vehicle. Thereafter, Appellant pled guilty to the charge, but under Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37(b) preserved the following issue for appeal: "Whether the trial judge erred by failing to suppress evidence gathered pursuant to a traffic stop of the [Appellant] that was conducted by the Lenoir City Police Department and which the [Appellant] alleged was conducted in the absence of a valid warrant, probable cause or reasonable suspicion, all in violation of [Appellant's] constitutional rights to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures?" On appeal, he argues that the citizen informant's tip, combined with an officer's determination that Appellant was impaired during a welfare check minutes before the stop, was insufficient to establish reasonable suspicion. Upon review, we affirm.


WITT concurring


Court: TCCA


Morris Marsh, appellant, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General & Reporter; and Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The petitioner, Morris L. Marsh, appeals from the Johnson County Criminal Court's dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, and the State of Tennessee moves the court to summarily affirm the dismissal pursuant to Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rule 20. Because the record supports the State's motion, the criminal court's order is affirmed.



Court: TCCA


Cory Myers, Pro Se, Only, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel W. Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Jason C. Scott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Cory Myers, appeals pro se from the Circuit Court for Gibson County's dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The judgment form in this case shows that Myers originally pled guilty to first degree murder for which he received a life sentence. However, in this appeal, Myers argues that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to sentence him because another form, entitled "Plea of Guilty and Waivers of Jury Trial and Appeal" (hereinafter "plea agreement form"), shows that he pled guilty to the offense of "felony homicide." Based on the plea agreement form, Myers claims his conviction is void because "felony homicide" does not exist under Tennessee law. Upon review, we affirm the judgment dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus.



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Legislative News
'Split the Baby' amendment now available
The exact language of the amendment adopted to the so-called "Split the Baby" bill is now available. It reads as follows: "The court shall order a custody arrangement which permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the best interest of the child based on all relevant factors including, but not limited to, the location of the residence of the parents, the child's need for stability and those set forth in Section 36-6-106." The Family Justice Subcommittee of the House Children and Family Affairs Committee approved the amendment yesterday.
Download it here
Legal News
GOP caucus set for chancellor selection
The Hamilton County Republican Party has announced plans for choosing a chancellor candidate although Gov. Phil Bredesen has not yet issued a writ of election. The governor has said he will wait until Chancellor Howell Peoples resigns on March 31 to issue the writ, but party officials say they cannot wait that long to make plans for choosing a candidate. Precinct caucuses will be held April 29 to elect delegates to a May 13 nominating convention, which will nominate a Republican candidate for the judgeship. In the meantime, Bredesen is considering three individuals who were selected by the Judicial Nominating Commission as interim appointees to the bench.
Read more on Chattanoogan.com
Ramsey renews calls for AG action on health care
Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, yesterday renewed his call for Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper to join AGs in other states who have taken legal action to stop implementation of the new health care law.
Chattanoogan.com has the story
Ginsburg defends DOJ lawyers
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently defended Justice Department lawyers attacked for previous representation of terrorism suspects. Ginsburg, speaking at a Pro Bono Institute reception, said she was "unsettled, indeed alarmed" by reports of the criticism. Ginsburg's former law clerk, Karl Thompson, is among the nine lawyers who provided free representation to suspects held at Guantanamo Bay. The justice called him a man of intelligence, integrity and devotion to American ideals. WATE News Knoxville carried the story from the AP.

Hughes to seek McCord's seat
Seymour resident Scott Hughes has filed a petition to run for the state District 8 House of Representatives seat being vacated by Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville. Hughes has worked in nonprofit management for the past 10 years, most recently as executive director of a crisis pregnancy center in Knoxville. He also has been active in the Pro-Life Coalition of East Tennessee. The Maryville Daily Times reported the news.

Supreme Court Report
Citizenship case to be decided
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality of an immigration law that makes it more difficult for a child born outside the United States to become a citizen based on the status of his father than of his mother. Under current law, children can become citizens if their mothers reside in the U.S. for one year after giving birth, but cannot become citizens based on their fathers' status unless the man resides in the country for five years. The case will test whether this disparate treatment violates the equal protection clause.
The ABA Journal has more
Breyer, Scalia explain why they often disagree
When contentious decisions come down at the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer and Justice Antonin Scalia are almost always on opposite sides. On Tuesday, as part of a Supreme Court Historical Society event, the two talked about how differing views of judging can lead to opposite conclusions.
Learn more from this AP story on WATE.com
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer suspended
On March 19, Knoxville lawyer Kenneth Corum was suspended for 8 months retroactive to April 17, 2009, (the date a temporary suspension was imposed on him) for failing to respond to a complaint of misconduct. Corum submitted a conditional guilty plea and agreed to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.
Read the BPR notice
Holder to speak at Expo breakfast
Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice M. Holder will be the featured speaker at the Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce's Power Breakfast April 20. The event, which is open to the public, begins at 7:15 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Germantown Athletic Club. It will conclude with a ribbon cutting officially opening Expo 2010. Tickets are $20 each and reservations are required. Contact the Chamber office at (901) 755-1200 for more information.

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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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