Lawyers stepping up to offer help

More than 100 lawyers have already volunteered to help staff call centers and resource clinics to serve victims of Nashville area flooding. Relief and recovery groups today announced they are setting up additional Disaster Assistance Centers tomorrow at the Hadley Park Community Center, 1037 28th Avenue North, the Hermitage Community Center, 3720 James Kay Lane, and at the East Community Center, 700 Woodland Street. The three new locations join operations at the Coleman Community Center, 384 Thompson Lane, and at the Bellevue Community Center, 656 Colice Jeanne Road. Volunteer lawyers will be helping staff all five centers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Also available to help flood victims will be lawyers volunteering tonight at the Nashville Bar Association's regular Dial-A-Lawyer program. Help will be available there from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at (615) 242-9272. The Legal Aid Society will also host clinics on May 11 and May 12, with the May 12 clinic devoted entirely to flood-related questions. Both events will start at 5 p.m. at Legal Aid offices on 300 Deaderick Street.
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Court: TSC


Lance R. Chism (on appeal) and Brett Stein (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shawn Hatcher.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and P. Thomas Hoover and Michelle Parks, Assistant District Attorneys General; for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.

Judge: CLARK

We granted permission to appeal in this case in order to consider whether Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 33 permits a defendant to amend his motion for new trial after the hearing on the initial motion has been conducted and an order denying the motion has been entered. In this case, newly-appointed defense counsel filed several pleadings seeking to add grounds in support of a new trial after the hearing on the original motion for new trial had been held and an order denying a new trial had been entered. The trial court considered the new grounds and subsequently entered a second order denying a new trial. The defendant appealed. The Court of Criminal Appeals refused to consider any issues raised after the trial court denied the original motion for new trial. As to the issues that were raised in that motion, the Court of Criminal Appeals determined that the defendant is not entitled to relief. We have concluded that trial courts should not permit the defense to amend its motion for new trial after the new trial hearing has been held and an order denying a new trial has been entered. Further, we have reviewed an issue the defendant properly preserved and have reviewed for plain error the issues the defendant failed to preserve but argues to this Court. We hold that the defendant is not entitled to relief on any of these issues and therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals.


Court: TCA


Stanley Finney, Mountain City, Tennessee, pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Kellena Baker, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Tennessee Department of Correction and George Little.


Petitioner, a prisoner, filed a Common Law Writ of Certiorari in the Chancery Court, alleging that he had been illegally disciplined while incarcerated. Respondents agreed that the writ should be granted and thereafter they filed a Motion to Dismiss the action. The Trial Judge dismissed the writ and petitioner has appealed. On appeal, petitioner argues that the allegations set forth in his petition must be taken as true under the Rules of Civil Procedure. The factual allegations pled by petitioner, when taken as true, state a cause of action. We therefore vacate the Order of Dismissal and remand for further proceedings.

Corrected Opinion: Correction on page 4 changes "eighty" to "eight"

Court: TCCA


David A. Collins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kenneth Miller, and Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ray Junior Turner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; John Zimmerman and Andrea Green, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendants, Kenneth Miller and Ray Junior Turner, were convicted by a Davidson County jury of conspiracy to deliver 300 grams or more of cocaine and delivery of 300 grams or more of cocaine. Additionally, the Defendant Miller was found guilty of possession with intent to deliver 300 grams or more of cocaine. All convictions are Class A felonies. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-17-417(j)(5). Following a sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced the Defendant Miller to an effective sentence of one hundred and twenty years as a Range II, multiple offender; the trial court ordered all three of his forty-year sentences to be served consecutively to one another. As for the Defendant Turner, the trial court imposed an effective sentence of sixty years as a career offender, running both of his sixty-year sentences concurrently with one another. On appeal, the Defendant Miller presents the following issues for our review: (1) whether the trial court erred in not suppressing the evidence gathered via wiretaps; (2) whether it was error to allow a State's witness to "fieldtest" a substance found on an exhibit; (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to support verdicts for conspiracy and delivery of 300 grams or more of cocaine; and (4) whether the trial court committed sentencing errors. The Defendant Turner, in addition to challenging the sufficiency of the evidence in support of his convictions, argues that: (1) the trial court erred by admitting into evidence certain "drug ledgers" found in his apartment; and (2) the telephone calls intercepted during the wiretap investigation, purported to contain the Defendant's voice, were, in fact, inadmissible hearsay. After a review of the record, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.



Legal News
Flood Impact
Court of the Judiciary
TBA Member Services

Legal News
New database gives stats on trial judges
The Tennessee court system has published a database of trial judge statistics on its Web site. While the courts have long shared filing and disposition data by Judicial District, this is the first time the court system has published statistical information by individual judges. This statistical database allows Web site visitors to see the number of cases disposed or appealed by individual judge or by Judicial District during the 2008-09 fiscal year. The database provides the docket numbers for the cases that have been appealed, and also offers a link to the Web site's searchable opinion database, allowing visitors to easily see the appellate court opinions that have been filed for those cases. Access the Trial Judge Case Statistics database.
Read more about it from the AOC
'Capital Case Handbook' revised, given to state's PDs
University of Tennessee law professor Penny White authored the book, Tennessee Capital Case Handbook, a revision of a 1992 edition. Several members of the law school community were involved in its publication. The handbook is an 800-page, 24-chapter guide for capital defense lawyers and will be provided to every public defender in Tennessee.
Read more about it
Sotomayor immortalized in comics
This month, Justice Sonia Sotomayor joins House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Vice President Al Gore and conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh in having her own comic book. Describing the four as "some of the most fascinating and polarizing figures on the national political stage," Bluewater biography comics is publishing separate comic books on each that will be in comic book stores tomorrow.
Learn more from the Blog of Legal Times
Flood Impact
Cheatham, Davidson court closures announced
A number of Tennessee courts have closed this week because of the major flooding that has affected much of the state. According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, Cheatham and Davidson County courts will be closed through May 7.
Stay updated from the AOC site
Federal disaster area declared
President Barack Obama has granted Gov. Phil Bredesen's request for Federal Emergency Assistance for Tennessee, according to an e-mail from Rep. Jim Cooper's office obtained by The Tennessean. Bredesen asked the president on Monday to declare 52 counties a federal disaster area. The declaration allows for federal help to immediately begin for flood-ravaged Nashville.
The Tennessean has the story
Free recycling collection set for wet paper, cardboard
EarthSavers is offering free recycling collection for water damaged documents, paper, and cardboard in several Nashville areas. The collection will be May 5 and 6, available to any business in flooded areas around downtown, Metro Center and Hillsboro Village. Click on the link below and add the words "Flood Paper" in the comments section.
Schedule a collection
Some law offices closed until water down, power back on
Because of the continuing power outage in downtown Nashville, at least two firms have reported closures. Davies, Humphreys, Horton & Reese PLC reports that it will be closed until power is restored. Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz PC's Nashville office is closed today, but attorneys may still be contacted by e-mail. All attorney e-mail addresses are available at
TBA disaster recovery news on Twitter
The TBA posts regular updates on disaster recovery information and volunteer opportunities on Twitter. Flood items will carry the tag #nashflood.
Follow us on Twitter @TennesseeBar
Jim McBroom services
James Cummings McBroom, 67, died April 30. Services were today at the Gallatin Church of Christ with burial at Williams Cemetery in White Bluff, Tenn.
Read his obituary in the Tennessean
Court of the Judiciary
Replacements named in Bell case
Judge David Loughry and attorney John W. Rodgers, both of Murfreesboro, have been named as temporary replacements in the complaint of Judge John A. Bell, by an order from Court of the Judiciary Presiding Judge Don R. Ash. The order says the replacement is necessary "based upon either recusal or unavailability of certain members of the hearing panel for the Court."
Download the order
TBA Member Services
TBA expands insurance services for members
The TBA Member Insurance Solutions Program has been expanded to offer assistance to members in meeting their health, life, disability and other insurance needs. Working with Graham Swafford III of Capital Financial Group, the TBA is now able to provide members with exclusive benefits, personalized service, and pricing discounts. Services and products offered include: disability income insurance, business overhead expense insurance, group life, long-term and short-term disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, and group health, dental and vision insurance along with other employee related benefits.
Learn more about TBA Insurance Solutions now

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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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