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Court: TCA


Gursheel S. Dhillon, Estill Springs, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Virginia Lee Story, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Rennee N. Dhillon.


Husband raises numerous issues regarding the trial court's handling of this divorce. He asserts that the court erred in denying his motion to dismiss based upon improper venue, in approving the parties' marital dissolution agreement and denying his subsequent motion to set aside the agreement, in denying his petition to modify pendente lite support, in failing to address Wife's alleged efforts to alienate the parties' child from Husband, and in awarding excessive attorney fees to Wife. We affirm the trial court's decisions, and because Husband's appeal is frivolous, we award Wife her attorney fees on appeal.


Court: TCA


Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellants, Don Birdwell and wife Christine Birdwell.

James F. Conley, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellee, Marilou Gilbert.

This case arises from a boundary line dispute. Appellants appeal the trial court's denial of their petition to reopen proof after the court rendered its decision, establishing the disputed boundary in accordance with the Appellee's survey. Finding no error, we affirm.


Court: TCA


Isabelle Maumus, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Linda S.C.K.G.

Katherine A. Brown, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tyree. B.H. IV.


This is an appeal from the Juvenile Court's decision finding Mother guilty of three counts of criminal contempt. Finding the orders of the Juvenile Court to be lawful, specific and unambiguous, and that the evidence was sufficient to support a finding of willfulness, we affirm. Also, we find that the permanent injunction entered by the Juvenile Court to be a lawful order of that court.


Court: TCCA


Mark E. Stephens, District Public Defender; and Julie Auer and Robert C. Edwards, Assistant Public Defenders, attorneys for appellant, Glyn Dale.

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


The Defendant, Glyn Dale, was convicted by a Knox County Criminal Court jury of two counts of child rape, a Class A felony. Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant to twenty years for each count, to be served concurrently. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant argues that: (1) the trial court erred in allowing the jury to consider testimony regarding a diary that no longer existed at the time of trial and in denying his motion for a mistrial after the jury heard such testimony; (2) the trial court erred in allowing two witnesses to testify regarding the victim's prior consistent statements; (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction; (4) the trial court erred in failing to include a lesser included offense in the jury charge; (5) the trial court erred in sentencing the Defendant. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of conviction in this case. However, because the Defendant was sentenced without a proper execution of a written waiver of his ex post facto protections, we remand the case for a new sentencing hearing.


Court: TCCA


Richard Hughes, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan Fortener.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Robert Steven Bebb, District Attorney General; and Andrew Freiberg, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Appellant, Jonathan Fortener, was indicted by a Monroe County Grand Jury on one count of felony murder in the perpetration of aggravated child abuse. The victim was the appellant's infant son, Austin Fortener. At trial, a jury found the appellant not guilty on the charge of first degree murder, but convicted him of the lesser-included offense of second degree murder. The trial court imposed a twenty-five-year sentence. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


Richard L. Gaines, Knoxville, Tennessee, attorney for appellant, Carlos Mahone.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and Marsha Mitchell, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Carlos Mahone, appeals as of right from his Knox County Criminal Court jury convictions for criminally negligent homicide, especially aggravated robbery, and aggravated robbery for which he received an effective sentence of twenty-seven years. Following the filing of a pro se petition for post-conviction relief and the appointment of counsel, the trial court granted the Defendant a delayed appeal based upon trial counsel's ineffective assistance for failing to file a notice of appeal. The Defendant now urges this court to reverse his convictions based upon the insufficiency of the evidence and the failure of the trial court to grant his motion for new trial based upon what he alleges to be newly discovered witness testimony. Following our review, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.


Court: TCCA


Darren V. Berg; James C. Wright; and R. Deno Cole, Knoxville, Tennessee, attorneys for appellant, Teddy Ray Mitchell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkeley Bell, District Attorney General; and Victor J. Vaughn, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Teddy Ray Mitchell, appeals from his jury conviction in the Criminal Court of Hamilton County for disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor, for which he received a sentence of thirty days in jail. In this appeal as of right, the Defendant contends (1) that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction, (2) that his conviction violates his First Amendment right to free speech, and (3) that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of an altercation with another police officer that was contemporaneous to the offense. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence is insufficient to support the Defendant's conviction of disorderly conduct. Accordingly, the Defendant's conviction is reversed, and the case is dismissed.

OGLE dissenting


Court: TCCA


Howard L. Upchurch, Pikeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Johnny L. Sapp.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and James William Pope, III, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Johnny L. Sapp, was found guilty of one count of possession of a motor vehicle from which the serial number has been removed in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-5-111 and two counts of altering the serial number on a motor vehicle in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated section 55-5-112. He received a total effective sentence of two years. On appeal, the appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; that his convictions for possession of a motor vehicle from which the serial number had been removed and altering the serial number on a motor vehicle violate double jeopardy; and that the trial court erred in denying judicial diversion or probation. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Legal News
Legislative News
Disciplinary Actions
Career Opportunities
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Corker OK with U.S. attorney nominee
U.S. Senator Bob Corker said yesterday that although he doesn't know and has not met Nashville attorney Jerry Martin, he doesn't foresee any problems with his nomination to become the next U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Martin's nomination leaves two judicial appointments left for President Barack Obama to fill in Tennessee: that of U.S. marshal and a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The Nashville Post has more (subscription required)
Temp. judge starts Monday in Chattanooga court
Senior Judge Donald Paul Harris, a special judge from Franklin, temporarily will fill a vacancy on the 11th Judicial District Chancery Court following yesterday's retirement of Chancellor Howell Peoples. Harris will begin presiding over cases on Monday, according to Clerk and Master Lee Akers. In February, the Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission nominated three candidates for the post but Gov. Phil Bredesen has yet to appoint one of them.
Learn more in the Times Free Press
Local bars elect new officers
Several local bars have elected officers in recent weeks. At the Dickson County Bar Association, Timothy V. Potter is the new president, while Hilary H. Duke is now secretary and treasurer. Both are with the Dickson law firm of Reynolds, Potter, Ragan & Vandivort.

At the Loudon County Bar Association, Loudon attorney Arthur Wayne Henry is the new president; Ford & Nichols attorney Ashley Shudan, also of Loudon, is vice president/president-elect; Sherri Alley with Kizer & Black in Maryville is secretary; and Robert Hinton with Sproul & Hinton in Lenoir City is treasurer.

At the Robertson County Bar Association, Frederic Lee Borthick Jr. takes over as president while Phyllis Morriss assumes the position of treasurer. Both practice law in Springfield.

McWherter candidacy official
Jackson businessman Mike McWherter, 54, today formally announced his candidacy for governor as a Democrat, saying his emphasis will be generating new jobs. McWherter made the announcement in front of supporters at the state capitol. He also took the opportunity to criticize Republican primary candidate and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, saying he has stretched the truth on the number of jobs created by his family's business.
The News Sentinel reports
War veteran, lawyer files for Gordon's seat
Iraq war veteran Brett Carter, 38, is the second Democrat to file a petition to run for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon. He joins 34-year-old Marine Capt. Ben Leming, who obtained permission from the secretary of the Navy to file his candidacy, but can't actively campaign until his active duty ends May 1. Carter is a Gallatin native who graduated from the University of Memphis School of Law. He enlisted in the Tennessee National Guard after he began practicing law in Nashville.
The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal has this AP story
Legislative News
State Rep. Rowland to retire
State Rep. Donna Rowland, R-Murfreesboro, announced today that she plans to retire after a decade of service, but remain active in public service and perhaps seek elective office in the future.
Read more in the Tennessean
Burchett undergoes emergency surgery
State Sen. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, underwent an emergency appendectomy last night after feeling poorly during the day. His spokesperson said doctors performed routine surgery to remove the appendix, which was inflamed but had not ruptured.
The Tennessean has more
Disciplinary Actions
Davidson lawyer suspended
The Tennessee Supreme Court on March 25 suspended Davidson County lawyer Anna E. Haas from the practice of law for two years for failing to communicate with clients, failing to properly account for all funds distributed to her on clients' behalf, negligently representing a client in an estate matter, and failing to respond to requests from the Board of Professional Responsibility.
See the BPR's press release
Sullivan lawyer suspended
The Tennessee Supreme Court on March 26 suspended Sullivan County lawyer Suzanne Shackleford Queen from the practice of law for 11 months and 29 days, retroactive to the date of a temporary suspension imposed on Aug. 29, 2008. Queen was suspended for failing to communicate with a client, failing to properly withdraw from representation of a client and failing to respond to requests from the Board of Professional Responsibility.
Read the BPR notice
Two lawyers reinstated
On March 31, Terence J. Fairfax of Jeolton and Bum Lee of Seoul, South Korea, were reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee following suspension for failure to comply with continuing legal education requirements. Fairfax was suspended on Aug. 15, 2007. Lee was suspended on July 1, 2008.

Career Opportunities
Federal PD has 2 job openings
The Federal Public Defender for the Middle District of Tennessee is seeking an assistant public defender and a research/writing attorney. Candidates for either position should submit a letter of interest, resume, list of references and writing sample to Administrative Officer Sharon P. Ross, Office of the Federal Public Defender, 810 Broadway, Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37203. Information also may be faxed to (615) 736-5265 or emailed to The office requests no telephone or email inquiries. Download a description of the assistant public defender job or the research attorney job

FTC offers free webinar on consumer fraud
The Federal Trade Commission is hosting a free webinar on April 14 titled, "The Hallmarks of Consumer Fraud Targeting Senior Victims: A Primer on How to Identify, Deter and Defend Against Consumer Fraud." The seminar will be conducted by an FTC attorney and will focus on issues such as telemarketing fraud, identity theft, money wire scams and deceptive health product claims. The event is sponsored by the National Consumer Law Center and the U.S. Administration on Aging.
Register here
TBA Member Services
Open your door to FedEx residential shipping
Did you know that the FedEx portfolio of residential services can help you reach every residential address in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii? That's why you should Think FedEx First. And as a TBA member, you get a valuable discount on the select FedEx residential services.
Find out how to enroll today

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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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