President designates more Tennessee counties for aid

Two additional Tennessee counties -- Montgomery and Dyer -- were designated today as federal disaster areas by President Barack Obama. They join Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson counties, which the president declared disaster areas yesterday. The designation makes federal funding available to individuals in these areas who have suffered storm damage. Also today, Tennessee Bar Association leaders met with officials from other Tennessee bar and legal services organizations to plan how free disaster legal assistance will be provided to those in need.

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Court: TCA


Thomas F. Bloom, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sonya Rene Taylor.

Mary C. LaGrone, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Joe Allen Pennington.


This is the second appeal from the Trial Court's altering the custodial arrangement of the parties' minor child. In the first trial, the Trial Court excluded testimony of the child's stepfather, on the grounds that the mother had not properly noticed the Court and party that the stepfather was a witness. On the first appeal, this Court remanded this case to the Trial Court and directed that the stepfather's testimony be allowed. On remand, the stepfather testified at length, but it was revealed during his examination that he had read the entire evidentiary transcript of the first trial. The Trial Court then ruled that the stepfather's testimony should be stricken, but went ahead and considered his testimony and essentially determined that his testimony did not alter the weight of the evidence as found in the first trial, and affirmed the Court's original award of granting custody to the father. On appeal, we affirm.


Court: TCA


Jeffrey Jones, Bartlett, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kimberly Dawn Welty.

Jeffrey Allen Welty, Pro Se.


Defendant appeals the trial court's order denying her motion to transfer the case based on the relocation of the parties. We dismiss the appeal for lack of a final judgment.


Court: TCCA


Comer L. Donnell, District Public Defender; William K. Cather, Assistant Public Defender; and Tillman W. Payne, Assistant Public Defender, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christopher Lee Davis.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Tom P. Thompson, District Attorney General; and Jason Lawson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, Defendant, Christopher Lee Davis, was found guilty of aggravated robbery, carjacking, attempt to commit especially aggravated kidnapping, all Class B felonies, and attempt to commit premeditated first degree murder, a Class A felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to twelve years for each Class B felony conviction and twenty-five years for his attempted premeditated first degree murder conviction. The trial court imposed a combination of consecutive and concurrent sentencing for an effective sentence of forty-nine years. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress; (2) the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction of attempted premeditated first degree murder; (3) the trial court erred in determining the length of his sentences; and (4) the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentencing. After a thorough review, we affirm Defendant's convictions and the length of his sentences. We remand this matter for a new sentencing hearing solely for the purpose of determining whether consecutive sentencing is appropriate under the Sentencing Act and State v. Allen, 259 S.W.3d 671 (Tenn. 2008).


Court: TCCA


Jeremy W. Parham, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raymond O. Long, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Katrin Miller, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Petitioner, Raymond Long, Jr., appeals the dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel at trial. Specifically, Petitioner challenges trial counsel's failure to call certain witnesses to testify at trial on his behalf. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that Petitioner has failed to show that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel and affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Claiborne H. Ferguson, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Johnathan Norman.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy P. Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Walter C. (Chris) Scruggs, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The defendant, Johnathan Norman, appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to withdraw guilty pleas that he entered to charges of (1) being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, a Class E felony, and (2) unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana), a Class A misdemeanor. After careful review, we conclude that the defendant's motion to withdraw his pleas was not timely, and we affirm the judgments from the trial court.

Separation of Powers: Pretrial Diversion Legislation (HB 3283)

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-05-05

Opinion Number: 10-61


Legal News
Flood Impact
TBA in the News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Court seeks comments on proposed fee hike
The Tennessee Supreme Court today solicited comments on a proposed rules amendment that would increase the hourly rate paid appointed counsel of indigent defendants. The Supreme Court Order seeks comment on a petition to amend the Court's Rule 13 that was filed by the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL). The deadline for submitting written comments is Dec. 31, 2010.
Download the order and the Petition for Amendment
Senate to consider U.S. Attorney nominee
The nomination of Nashville attorney Jerry E. Martin to be U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee was scheduled to be considered today by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Martin was nominated on March 25 by President Barack Obama to replace current U.S. Attorney Ed Yarbrough. He is a partner at Barrett Johnston & Parsley.
Learn more in the Nashville Post (subscription required)
Pharmacy sues H3GM for malpractice
The original backers of New Day Pharmacy have accused Nashville law firm Harwell Howard Hyne Gabbert & Manner of malpractice, accusing the firm of contributing to the venture's bankruptcy by not spotting a potential violation of federal self-referral restrictions. The firm maintains that the claims have no merit and that the client told them there were other lawyers working on regulatory matters. "We're getting inappropriately and unfairly blamed now that [the] company's gone under," said Mark Manner, managing shareholder at the firm.
Read more in the Nashville Post (subscription required)
Law school boycotts rankings
The law school rankings by U.S. News & World Report are missing information for St. Thomas University School of Law in Florida because the school's dean, Al Garcia, decided to boycott the annual rankings. Standing alone in his decision, he says, "Everybody decries the survey, but everyone participates in the survey. Boycotting is not going to solve matters, but I figured I would put my money where my mouth is."
The ABA Journal has the story
Flood Impact
Holder encourages pro bono for flood victims
Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Janice M. Holder today urged attorneys to assist with disaster relief efforts in the state by providing pro bono legal services. "It is important that our neighbors throughout Tennessee receive proper access to legal assistance following this disaster, and I encourage attorneys to step up and volunteer legal services to those in need," she said.
Read the full statement
Register here to volunteer
Additional Nashville firms close
In addition to Davies, Humphreys, Horton & Reese PLC and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz PC, which announced closures yesterday due to power outages in Nashville, Miller & Martin PLC and Neal & Harwell PLC -- both housed at One Nashville Place -- have also closed. According to the Miller & Martin web site, attorneys can be reached by phone, with lines routed through the firm's Chattanooga office, or by email from the firm's site.

Update on Bass Berry
Bass, Berry & Sims reports it is continuing to serve its clients during the flood emergency in Nashville via a remote back-up system. The firm's offices in the Pinnacle Building remain closed due to flooding. An email from the firm's managing partner Keith Simmons encourages clients to contact the firm as normal.
Read his message
Some courts remain closed, others open
Courts in Cheatham, Davidson and Hickman counties remain closed until May 7, although the Davidson County court clerk's office is open. The criminal courts building in Nashville, the Justice A.A. Birch Building, is also now closed due to water pressure issues resulting from the flooding. It likely will stay closed all week. The Montgomery County courts, which were closed Monday and Tuesday, reopened today.
Get the latest on court closures from the AOC
DA's office reopens
A small cadre of staff and attorneys operated the Davidson County District Attorney's office on Monday and Tuesday, but the office fully reopened today. Its satellite office in the Juvenile Justice Center suffered "serious damage" and those employees have joined the main office on Second Avenue. Juvenile detention dockets are scheduled to resume Thursday at a yet-to-be-named offsite location.
The City Paper has the news
Nashville Law Day event postponed
Due to the recent flooding and power outages the Nashville Bar Association's Law Day Event on May 10 will be rescheduled. Updates will be posted on the association's web site.
Check here for details
Law firms unveil flood resources
A group of lawyers at Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella have created a blog to provide information to flood victims. Topics include recovering lost documents (such as car titles and deeds), flood insurance and grants and loans to rebuild. Check it out here. The Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings also has put together a Q&A to help victims deal with the flood's aftermath. Read it here

Parking for TBA visitors
The Tennessee Bar Association normally validates parking for those attending CLEs and other meetings at the Commerce Street Garage. The garage is currently closed to non-monthly parkers due to power outages. Visitors to the TBA can park in the Central Parking Garage at 424 Deaderick Street and still get their tickets validated.
See a map of the area
TBA in the News
Lawyers' legal aid efforts recognized
The good work being done by Middle Tennessee lawyers responding to flood victims got top billing in today's issue of the Nashville Business Journal. TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur said lawyers stand ready as "problem-solvers" as people begin to think about what resources they need to recover.
Read the article
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

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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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