TBA honored for helping bring legal services to poor

The Tennessee Bar Association is being honored with a major national award for helping bring legal services to the poor. TBA officials learned this week that the organization will be the 2010 recipient of the Harrison Tweed Award, which is given jointly by the American Bar Association and the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association to honor "extraordinary achievements" in increasing access to civil legal services for the poor. The award will be presented at the ABA Annual Meeting in August. In selecting the TBA for the award, the judges cited Tennessee's 4ALL Campaign, which included the 4/4 Pro Bono Public Service Day, as well as legal clinics and events held during October 2009's Celebrate Pro Bono Month. The work was launched under the leadership of TBA Immediate Past President Buck Lewis and was continued under the guidance of current TBA President Gail Vaughn Ashworth.

Learn more about the award

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Court: TSC



Court: TCA


Michael W. Binkley, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Timothy Wade Keyt.

William F. Roberson, Jr., Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Nanci Suzanne Keyt.


This is the second appeal in a divorce action. Husband appeals the division of marital property and the award of alimony in solido to Wife. In the 2005 Final Decree of Divorce, the trial court determined that the husband's shares of stock in the family business, which his parents gifted to him, were his separate property; however, the appreciation of that stock during the marriage, $1.7 million, was held to be marital property. The court awarded the wife 37.5 percent of the marital estate and alimony in futuro of $1,500 per month for the first year and $2,500 per month thereafter. This court affirmed the division of marital property but modified the award of alimony, holding that she was entitled to eight years of rehabilitative alimony but not alimony in futuro. The Supreme Court held that the appreciation of the husband's stock was his separate property, not marital property, and remanded the case to the trial court to reconsider the division of the marital estate and to reconsider the award of alimony due to the substantial reduction of the marital estate. On remand, the trial court awarded the wife 64 percent of the substantially reduced marital estate and granted her alimony in solido in the amount of $478,000. In this second appeal by the husband, we affirm the division of marital property, finding it is not inequitable under the circumstances, and we affirm the award of alimony in solido to Wife, finding that the award was based on the relevant factors in Tenn. Code Ann. section 36-5-121(i).



Court: TCA


Byron M. Gill, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellants, Larry Lunan, Bad Toys, Inc., and Gambler, Inc.

Steven F. Glaser, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellees, Joy Lamberson McNaughten and Allen Wilson.


The owners of a piece of commercial property brought an unlawful detainer action against a lessee who had stopped paying rent. The trial court issued a judgment of $33,450 against the lessee for past-due rent, followed by a writ of ejectment. After the lessee moved from the property, the owners sued to collect the rent due on the five-year lease and for damages to the property. The lessee argued that irregularities in the execution of the lease rendered it unenforceable. The trial court determined that the lease was enforceable and that the lessee could be held personally liable for a judgment in the amount of $326,716.74. We find that the parties did not reach the meeting of the minds that is necessary to form an enforceable contract, and we accordingly reverse.



Court: TCA


Phillip C. Lawrence, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Stephanie L. Miller

No appearance on behalf of the appellee, Robert J. Miller


Wife appeals the entry of an order of protection against her. Because the order of protection has expired, the appeal is moot, and therefore, is dismissed.



Court: TCA


Kendra H. Armstrong, Cordova, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sherry Tanner.

James M. Hivner, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Whiteco, L.P. and Orangeco, L.P.


This case involves the question of whether Appellee entities are partnerships under Tennessee law. Appellant appeals the trial court's order, which found that Appellee entities were not partnerships. Finding no error, we affirm.



Court: TCCA


Stephen M. Wallace, District Public Defender; Deborah Black-Huskins Lonon, Assistant Public Defender, Blountville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Darius L. Brown.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Kent L. Chitwood, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Darius L. Brown, entered eleven guilty pleas in five different cases in the Sullivan County Criminal Court. He received an effective nine-year sentence at thirty percent pursuant to his plea agreement, with the manner of service of his sentence to be determined by the trial court. On appeal, Brown argues that the trial court abused its discretion by denying an alternative sentence. Upon review, we affirm the trial court's judgments.



Court: TCCA


Johnathan A. Minga (on appeal and at trial), Johnson City, Tennessee; and Mark Slagle (at trial), Johnson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joey Lee Goins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Amber Massengill and Kaylin Hortenstine, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Sullivan County jury convicted the defendant, Joey Lee Goins, of facilitation of second degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. The defendant appeals, claiming that the trial court erred in excluding statements of certain witnesses. The defendant also appeals the court's failure to sequester the jury in light of the media coverage of the trial. Lastly, the defendant argues that the court erred in imposing the defendant's sentences consecutively to each other and to his unrelated federal sentence of life without parole. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Donna Robinson Miller, Chattanooga, Tennessee, (on appeal); Jerrold J. White, Chattanooa, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Charles Mandel Moss, alias Charles Mandell, alias Pookie Doo.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Jason L. Thomas and C. Matthew Rogers, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Charles Mandel Moss, alias Charles Mandell, alias Pookie Doo, was convicted of violation of the motor vehicle habitual offenders act, a Class E felony; possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor; evading arrest, a Class A misdemeanor; violation of the seatbelt law, a Class C misdemeanor; and violation of the open container law, a Class C misdemeanor. The Defendant was sentenced to serve four years for violation of the motor vehicle habitual offenders act, eleven months and twenty-nine days each for possession of marijuana and evading arrest, and thirty days each for violation of the open container law and violation of the seatbelt law. The court imposed partially consecutive sentences that resulted in an effective sentence of four years, eleven months, and twenty-nine days. The Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the convicting evidence is insufficient to support the conviction for violation of the motor vehicle habitual offenders act, and (2) the trial court erred in admitting evidence related to the Defendant's previous arrests. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Tony Scott Walker, Henning, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; Garry G. Brown, District Attorney General; and Stephanie J. Hale, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Tony Scott Walker, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of error coram nobis, arguing that due process considerations should toll the statute of limitations and that he is entitled to error coram nobis relief on the basis of his discovery that one of the State's witnesses may have fabricated or falsified evidence at his trial. Following our review, we affirm the dismissal of the petition.



Supreme Court Report
Legal News
Flood Impact
Court of the Judiciary
TBA Member Services

Supreme Court Report
Life in prison for non-murdering juveniles unconstitutional
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that a sentence of life in prison without parole is cruel and unusual punishment for juveniles who have not been charged with murder. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Graham v. Florida. The court ruled for Terrance Jamar Graham, who had received a life sentence without parole for participating in an armed robbery at the age of 17 when he was on probation.
ABAJournal.com connects you to this story
Legal News
Editorial: 'Brown' gave the gift of public education
On this the 56th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court ruling in the case of Oliver Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al., the Jackson Sun calls on readers to "honor the struggles and the contributions to this great cause by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and civil rights lawyers Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall and others." The newspaper says that parents need to support public education and be "demanding of their children's efforts, supportive of teachers and mentors to children who lack involved parents."
Read the editorial
Court rejects Johnson's argument; execution to be set
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today rejected death row inmate Donnie Johnson's long-running argument that state prosecutors engaged in misconduct by not revealing to the defense that they had granted work-release inmate Ronnie McCoy a deal in exchange for his testimony. Prosecutors and McCoy denied a deal was struck. A spokesman for the Tennessee Attorney General's Office in Nashville said today the state likely will soon be asking that an execution date again be set for Johnson.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Irick motion for more time granted
The Tennessee Supreme Court today granted Billy Ray Irick's motion for more time to file a response to the state's motion to set an execution date. Irick now has until June 3 to respond.
Learn more from the AOC
Flood Impact
FEMA now backing 800 number for legal services
A toll-free legal assistance line for victims of recent storms and flooding is now being supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (ABA YLD). The groups join a partnership of Tennessee legal organizations that launched the toll-free phone line May 6 after massive flooding swept through the state in early May. Call the toll-free hot line at (888) 395-9297.
Volunteer to help or learn more about recovery efforts
Bass, Berry back in the office after water damage
Bass, Berry & Sims reports that the firm is back in its normal office space in Nashville and "it's business as usual." The firm was displaced in the early May flooding.

FEMA to open 26 disaster recovery centers
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has opened or plans to open 26 disaster recovery centers in Tennessee, as well as deploy six traveling teams in Middle and West Tennessee.
Download the location chart
Free FEMA CLE this week
The TBA will offer a free one-hour webcast CLE this Thursday featuring disaster recovery legal expert Juli Gallup, who will explain the FEMA application process, the forms Tennesseans must fill out to be eligible for assistance and the appeals process for those dissatisfied with their benefits. This program is accredited for one hour of dual credit and is being offered by the Tennessee Bar Association as a public service for attorneys who are providing pro bono assistance to disaster victims.
Register here
Tax exemption proposed for flood victims
House Democratic Leader Gary Odom, D-Nashville, is working on legislation that would exempt Tennesseans who qualify for FEMA relief from sales taxes on appliances and building materials through September.
Read more in the Tennessean's In Session blog
Epstein is Hamilton Co. Dem's pick for chancery seat
The Hamilton County Democratic Party selected Valerie Epstein, an attorney with Berke, Berke and Berke, Saturday as its candidate for the vacant judgeship on the county's Chancery Court. Epstein will represent her party in the Aug. 5 election to fill the vacancy left by longtime Chancellor Howell Peoples.
The Times Free Press reports
Turnout for Davidson County election expected to be light
Officials wonder if Davidson County's May elections will be severely affected by the recent flooding. The election, originally set for May 4, is now May 18.
The City Paper reports
Court of the Judiciary
Bell order denies summary judgment
The Tennessee Court of the Judiciary issued a response to various motions filed by both parties in the matter of Cocke County Judge John A. Bell, including agreeing to disqualify attorney John Rodgers but denying to disqualify Judge David Loughry as temporary panel members. The court also determined that Bell had not met the burden of proof for summary judgment under current Tennessee law and therefore denied that motion.
Download the order
TBA Member Services
Secure, compliant data backup service now available
The TBA's official data protection, backup and recovery vendor of choice, i365, offers secure online backup solutions. i365 minimizes downtime by backing up files quickly and easily, and helps lawyers remain compliant by maintaining file integrity. Get i365 and be confident your data is securely stored and protected. TBA members enjoy a 10 percent savings on all services. For more information on this member benefit Denise Lucas at (407) 523-9774.
Learn why lawyers trust i365 for online data backup solutions

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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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