Law firm, legal department honored at pro bono event

The good works of the law firm Miller & Martin PLLC and the corporate legal department at International Paper were celebrated Saturday during the 2010 Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala in Nashville. Along with the award presentations, the program featured remarks by TBA Access to Justice Committee Chair Deb House, TBA President Gail Vaughn Ashworth, International Paper General Counsel Maura Smith and Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice Holder. The event raised more than $45,000 for pro bono efforts in the state.

See photos from the event on TBAConnect

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
06 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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.

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/certlist_032910.pdf


FRANK GARRETT, ET AL. v. CITY OF MEMPHIS ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

David M. Sullivan, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellants, Frank Garrett, Raymond Hopkins and William Walsh.

Louis P. Britt, III and P. Daniel Riederer, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, City of Memphis.

Judge: FARMER

This appeal concerns the discretion of the Memphis Police Department to fill vacant civil service positions with temporary, "acting" personnel prior to the expiration of an active promotion roster. The trial court concluded the Memphis City Charter does not mandate permanent promotion of the next eligible employee from an active promotion roster simply because a vacancy exists. The court further concluded that no charter provision or city ordinance prohibits the use of acting appointments; rather, the proof showed that the use of officers in an acting capacity is a longstanding policy within the police department and every other division of city government. As a result, the court held that the department did not violate civil service laws when it declined to permanently promote the plaintiffs. Finding no error in the decision below, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/garrettf_032910.pdf


IN RE: THE ESTATE OF MARY JANE MCLISTER ANDERSON OWEN, Deceased

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Duke Harris Brasfield, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellant, First United Methodist Church of Covington, Tennessee.

Blanchard Everett Tual and Forest J. Dorkowski, Memphis, Tennessee, and J. Houston Gordon, Covington, Tennessee, for the appellee, Estate of Mary Jane McLister Anderson Owen.

Judge: FARMER

This is a will construction case. The decedent died testate in July 2008. The personal representative of the decedent's estate filed this action to construe provisions of the decedent's will concerning the control of specifically devised farm property. The chancery court determined that the decedent intended for the property to remain subject to the control of her estate pending administration. Because the unambiguous language of the will pointedly excludes specifically devised real property from the control of the personal representative, we reverse and remand.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/owenm_032910.pdf


IN RE: TRISTAN J.K.S.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

James R. Hickman, Jr., Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joshua C. Soller.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Amy T. McConnell, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, ex rel., Kye K. Kolb and Carla R. Kolb.

Judge: FRANKS

The appellee filed a Petition for Contempt against respondent for failing to pay child support. The Trial Court found respondent in contempt, entered Judgment for back child support, but later purged the Judgment for incarceration. The respondent has appealed, arguing that the Trial Court erred in finding him in civil contempt, and it was not appropriate to incarcerate him to enforce the Court's orders. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/tristan_032910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. D'ANGELO BARNES and MONTERRIO WATSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gerald S. Green, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellant, D'Angelo Barnes and Brett B. Stein, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellant, Monterrio Watson.

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

Judge: SMITH

Appellants, Monterrio Watson and D'Angelo Barnes, were both convicted by a Shelby County Jury of two counts of aggravated robbery. Appellants were both juveniles at the time of the offenses but were transferred to criminal court for trial as adults. Appellant Barnes was sentenced by the trial court to serve ten years for each conviction. The sentences were ordered to be served concurrently. Appellant Watson was ordered to serve eight years and six months for each conviction, to be served concurrently. Both Appellants filed timely motions for new trial. The trial court denied both motions and these appeals ensued. The appeals were consolidated by this Court. On appeal, the following issues are presented for our review: (1) whether the evidence is sufficient to support the convictions; and (2) whether the trial court properly denied Appellant Watson's request for an acceptance hearing in criminal court after the transfer from juvenile court. After a review of the record, we determine that Appellant Watson waived the issue related to the transfer from juvenile court for failing to provide an adequate record on appeal. Moreover, Appellant Watson failed to file a motion for an acceptance hearing within ten days of the transfer order as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 37-1-159(d). Further, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions for aggravated robbery. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/barnesd_032910.pdf


RAIN THOMAS CHESHER v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Rain Thomas Chester, Pro Se, Clifton, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The petitioner, Rain Thomas Chesher, appeals the Henry County Circuit Court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. The state has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the circuit court's judgment pursuant to Rule 20 of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. We conclude that the state's motion is meritorious. Accordingly, we grant the state's motion and affirm the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/chesherr_032910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. OSCAR JOE GARCIA

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

David W. Camp, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Oscar Joe Garcia.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Rolf Hazlehurst, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

Following a jury trial, the defendant, Oscar Joe Garcia, was convicted of four counts of facilitation of attempted second degree murder, four counts of facilitation of aggravated assault, one count of felony reckless endangerment, and one count of possession of a weapon with intent to employ during the commission of an offense. The trial court merged the facilitation of aggravated assault convictions into the facilitation of attempted second degree murder convictions and sentenced the defendant, as a Range I standard offender, to six years for each of the facilitation convictions, two years for the felony reckless endangerment conviction, and eleven months, twenty-nine days for the weapon conviction. The court ordered the six-year sentences to be served consecutively and the remaining sentences to be served concurrently, for a total effective sentence of twenty-four years. On appeal, the defendant argues that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences and in denying his motion to correct and/or reduce his sentence. Based upon our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/garciao_032910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LINDA DIANE HILL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Greg W. Eichelman, District Public Defender, for the appellant, Linda Diane Hill.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; and Al Schmutzer, Attorney General, Pro Tem, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, Linda Diane Hill, was convicted of premeditated first degree murder, for which she received a life sentence. The Defendant appeals the judgment, arguing that (1) the convicting evidence is insufficient; (2) the trial court erred in admitting expert testimony; (3) the trial court erred in allowing the State's expert witnesses to remain in the courtroom during the proof; and (4) the trial court erred in allowing a State's expert witness to testify during the State's rebuttal proof. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/hilll_032910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. PRESTON RUCKER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Larry E. Fitzgerald, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Preston Rucker.

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

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Preston Rucker, was convicted of especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping and sentenced, respectively, to concurrent sentences of twenty-four years and twenty years. On appeal, he argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions, that the trial court erred in concluding that a police report was not admissible as an exception to the hearsay rule, and that the trial court imposed an excessive sentence. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/ruckerp_032910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAROZ DANTAE THOMAS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

George Morton Googe, District Public Defender, and Paul E. Meyers, II, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jaroz Dantae Thomas.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Anna Banks Cash, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A jury convicted the defendant, Jaroz Dantae Thomas, of underage driving while impaired, a Class A misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced him to 11 months, 29 days of probation, supervised by Community Corrections; a $250 fine; suspension of his driver's license for one year; and twenty-four hours of community service. On appeal, the defendant challenges his sentence. Following our review of the record, the parties' briefs, and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court but modify the defendant's sentence to strike the 11 months, 29 days of probation. The case is remanded for entry of a corrected judgment consistent with this opinion.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/thomasj_032910.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
Politics
Your Practice
TBA Member Services
TennBarU CLE

Legal News
New York Times: Is health care law unconstitutional?
In an opinion piece this morning, The New York Times asks experts if opponents to the health care law have a strong case that the individual mandate is unconstitutional -- and how likely are the courts to strike down any part of the health legislation? Among the experts is James F. Blumstein, Vanderbilt Law School professor of constitutional law and health law & policy. He writes that "for the states to succeed in having the law declared unconstitutional, the Supreme Court would have to modify significantly existing analysis and doctrine surrounding the Commerce Clause."
Read the entire analysis
Governors, attorneys general, disagree over health care
In four states, Democratic governors are criticizing Republican attorneys general for joining litigation challenging the new federal health insurance mandate, over their objections.
The Times Free Press carried this New York Times News Service story
Middle school student explains judicial review
Scarlett Fox took third place in "Junior Individual Interpretive Web Site" at East Tennessee History Day for a site she designed to explain the origins of judicial review. "[Marbury v. Madison] gave them the ability to show that laws of the land could be unconstitutional. ... It was complicated because judicial review wasn't something where you could see an immediate impact; you had to read between the lines." Scarlett is now headed to the state competition in Nashville on April 17.
The Mountain Press has the story
Gov. Clement's view on the death penalty was personal
Bob Clement writes about how his father, Gov. Frank Clement Sr., dealt with the death penalty while in office, including meeting personally with each condemned inmate. In 1965 he sent a personal letter to every member of the Senate, asking them to abolish capital punishment, and telling them that the death penalty was, in his view, contrary to the biblical commandment not to kill. "The question of capital punishment cannot be divorced from Christian philosophy," he wrote. The Senate voted 25-7 to abolish capital punishment, but despite Clement's appeal, the House voted the next day, 48-47, in favor of keeping it.
Read the opinion piece in the Tennessean
Online comments from judge in pending case was mistake, newspaper admits
An Ohio newspaper sparked a debate about the ethics of online journalism after it reported that anonymous comments posted on its Web site about a suspected serial killer's case were traced to the personal e-mail account of the judge presiding over the trial. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold told the newspaper she didn't post the items, and later her daughter told the newspaper that she posted the comments using her mother's e-mail account. In hindsight, the newspaper's executive editor says she understands why people are questioning whether the newspaper should have tracked down the commenter's e-mail address in the first place.
The First Amendment Center carried this AP story
Legislative News
'Split the Baby' bill softened by amendment
A bill that would drastically alter the way child custody is determined in Tennessee continues moving through the legislature, but got an amendment last week that lessens the change. Murfreesboro Republican Donna Rowland says her amendment makes the measure read in a more straightforward way, to say that both parents should have an equal chance to be the custodial parent. The bill's sponsor, Republican Mike Bell, says he doesn't like the amendment and will try to alter it.
WPLN reports
Politics
Brody, Harwell pull papers to run, but may not use them
Ira Brody, the Murfreesboro Republican businessman who just last year tried to become Tennessee's state treasurer, picked up papers to qualify to run against Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper -- but has since said now is "not the right time for him to run." Read the story and the update at NashvillePost.com

The AP reported yesterday that Jim Harwell had pulled a petition to run in the District 56 GOP primary -- against his sister-in-law Beth Harwell, and quoted her as saying her brother-in law was just "exploring the process." Today he clarified with Post Politics that in fact, he had not been sure which state House district he lived in, which is why he pulled petitions for both District 56 and District 55, House Minority Leader Gary Odom's district.
PostPolitics.com has more
Spotlight on the 8th Congressional race
Congressman John S. Tanner of Union City's decision to retire opened the field in the the 8th Congressional District, with several stepping up to run.
The Commercial Appeal studies the race
Your Practice
Keeping client info 'in the clouds' has good, bad points
"Cloud" computing -- a form of remote electronic data storage on the Internet -- is gaining interest for law firms. With data stored "in the cloud," or kept on large servers located elsewhere and maintained by a vendor, maintenance and upgrades are not the firm's responsibility because the vendor purchases, maintains and updates hardware and software. The firm generally pays a monthly fee to the vendor for its services. But some of the advantages of cloud computing also are reasons for lawyers to be cautious about its use. In particular, the fact that client data and work product are stored somewhere outside the direct control of the law firm raises potential ethics concerns of confidentiality and security.
The ABA Journal explores this trend
TBA Member Services
Let JobLink help you with your next career move
A career service for Tennessee attorneys and law students, TBA JobLink is a job seeking and recruitment tool available at no charge. Whether you have a position to fill or are seeking employment, this site will guide you through a simple process to post your information.
Visit the site
TennBarU CLE
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 Tuesday, 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

 
 
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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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