Proposed judicial conduct rules released for comment

Proposed new judicial conduct rules with accompanying changes in procedural rules and statutes were approved for release by the Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors on Saturday. The proposal -- the first comprehensive review of the Rules of Judicial Conduct and related provisions since 1990 -- was developed by the Task Force on Judicial Conduct Rules, chaired by Max Bahner with Sarah Sheppeard as reporter. The proposal will be circulated to the bench and bar later this week, and will be shared with special committees of the Tennessee Judicial Conference and Tennessee Trial Judges Association at their upcoming meeting in Murfreesboro.

Deadline for comments is July 31. The task force will then review the comments and make final recommendations to the TBA House and Board before reporting back to the board at its fall meeting in October. It is hoped that the proposal can then be forwarded to the Tennessee Supreme Court before the end of the year. It is expected that the court will then establish its own review and comment process before considering the final adoption of the rules.



Download a copy of the report with brief highlights of the changes

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
11 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS

Grants & Denials List


Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/certlist_060710.pdf


CHRISTINE GREENWOOD v. KIRBY FAMILY DENTISTRY, P.C., ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Christine Greenwood, Pro Se.

Chad D. Graddy, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellees, Kirby Family Dentistry, P.C., and M. Sayed Taghavi, D.D.S.

Judge: FARMER

The trial court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment in this action for dental malpractice. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/greenwoodc_060710.pdf


JEREMY WHITE v. COMMISSIONER GAYLE RAY, ET AL.
CORRECTION is on page 8, line 5: In the phrase "White will get his, end." now reads, "White will get his." ", end" has been deleted


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeremy White, Pro Se

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General and Jennifer L. Brenner, Assistant Attorney General, Tennessee, for the appellee(s), Commissioner Gayle Ray, et al.

Judge: FARMER

This appeal arises out of the disciplinary conviction of a prisoner for drug possession. The prisoner filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the chancery court seeking to review the actions of the prison disciplinary board. The chancery court issued the writ and determined that the prisoner was not entitled to relief. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/whitej_060710.pdf


JERRY ANN WINN v. WELCH FARM, LLC, and RICHARD TUCKER

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

W. Timothy Harvey, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerry Ann Winn.

Joe Weyant, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Welch Farm, LLC, and Richard Tucker.

Judge: STAFFORD

This is an appeal from the trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to the Appellees. After reviewing the record, we find that the order granting summary judgment fails to comply with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56.04, as it does not "state the legal grounds upon which the court denies or grants the motion." Consequently, this Court cannot proceed with our review and must vacate the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/winnj_060710.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES G. COONS, II

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Michael A. Colavecchio, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, James G. Coons, II.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Katrin N. Miller and Kristen E. Menke, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

The Defendant, James G. Coons, pled guilty to second degree murder, and the trial court sentenced him to forty years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Defendant appeals, contending the trial court did not adequately consider his mental health as a mitigating factor in his punishment. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we conclude the trial court properly sentenced the Defendant. As such, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/coonsj_060710.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CASSANDRA HENDRICKS FRANKLIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lyle A. Jones (at trial and on appeal) and David S. Stockton (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, for the appellant, Cassandra Hendricks Franklin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and James Walter Freeland, Jr. and P. Neal Oldham, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Cassandra Hendricks Franklin, was convicted by a Tipton County jury of first degree premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In a timely appeal to this court, she argues that the evidence was insufficient to sustain her conviction and that the trial court erred by denying defense counsel's motion to withdraw from representation. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/franklinc_060710.pdf


MARIO ANTWAN FULGHAM v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Benjamin L. McGowan, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Antwan Fulgham.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Neal Pinkston, Executive Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, Mario Antwan Fulgham, appeals as of right from the Hamilton County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief challenging his convictions for facilitation of first degree murder, attempted especially aggravated robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery. The Petitioner argues that he was entitled to post-conviction relief because his trial counsel committed ineffective assistance in failing to pursue defenses of intoxication or diminished capacity and in failing to advise the Petitioner of his right of allocution at sentencing. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the post- conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/fulghamm_060710.pdf


HAROLD JAMES GREENLEAF, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joe Brandon, Jr., Smyrna, Tennessee, for the appellant, Harold James Greenleaf, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; and William Whitesell, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Petitioner, Harold James Greenleaf, Jr., appeals from the order of the trial court denying his petition requesting forensic DNA analysis. Upon his plea of guilty in 2000, the Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to forty years in the Department of Correction. The Petitioner seeks DNA testing of evidence related to the investigation and prosecution. After our review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the Rutherford County Circuit Court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/greenleafh_060710.pdf


ROBERT L. LEACH, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul J. Bruno and Kathleen G. Morris, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert L. Leach. Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General and Jennifer L. Smith, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Appellant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder, one count of especially aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated rape. He was sentenced to death for each murder conviction. He received consecutive twenty-five year sentences for the especially aggravated robbery and aggravated rape. His convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal. See State v. Leach, 148 S.W.3d 42 (Tenn. 2004). The Appellant subsequently petitioned for post-conviction relief, which was denied by the trial court. He now appeals from the denial of post-conviction relief. On appeal, he argues numerous violations of his constitutional rights during his trial proceedings, including denial of the effective assistance of counsel. After careful review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/leachr_060710.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANDY B. MCAMIS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jean M. Brock, McMinnville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Andy B. McAmis

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Dale Potter, District Attorney General; and Lisa Zavogiannis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

The Warren County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Andy McAmis, for one count of aggravated assault in connection with a fight. After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of reckless aggravated assault. The trial court sentenced Appellant to eight years as a Range II, standard offender. On appeal, Appellant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction and to rebut his assertion of the affirmative defense of self-defense; the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial; and the trial court erred in admitting inflammatory photographs. After a thorough review of the record, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient and that the trial court did not err in denying the mistrial or allowing the photographs into evidence. However, there is a mistake on the judgment form identifying Appellant as a Range I offender instead of a Range II offender. Therefore we affirm Appellant's conviction but remand for correction of the judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/mcamisa_060710.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ANTHONY LEVAIL NEWSOM

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Ardena J. Garth and Richard Kenneth Mabee (on appeal), and Steve Brown (at trial), Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Levail Newsom.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, District Attorney General; and William Hall, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Anthony Levail Newsom, was convicted of possession of .5 grams or more of cocaine for resale, and an eight-year sentence was imposed. The appellant was granted probation. However, the trial court subsequently found that the appellant violated the terms of his release, revoked the appellant's probation, and ordered him to serve his eight-year sentence in confinement. On appeal, the appellant contends that the trial court erred in revoking his probation and in ordering him to serve his sentence in confinement instead of on community corrections. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/newsoma_060710.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE. v. DWIGHT J. SHANKLE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. McMurray Johnson, Athens, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Dwight J. Shankel.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Robert S. Bebb, District Attorney General; and Andrew Freiberg, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

The Defendant-Appellant, Dwight Shankle, was convicted by a McMinn County jury of manufacture of methamphetamine under 0.5 grams, a Class C felony. He was sentenced as a multiple offender to eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction and assessed a $25,000 fine. On appeal, he claims the insufficiency of the evidence. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/shankled_060710.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. LORI MICHELLE WALLER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Lori Michelle Waller, Medina, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The Appellant, Lori Michelle Waller, appeals following the revocation of her probation. The Appellant admitted her violation of probation. In her brief, the Appellant alleges that her term of split confinement has been served. The State has filed a motion requesting that this Court affirm the decision of the lower court. After review of the pleadings and record before this Court, we conclude that the State's motion is well-taken. Accordingly, the action of the lower court is affirmed pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/wallerl_060710.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES FRANKLIN WIGGINS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Steven B. Ward, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Franklin Wiggins.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; Russell Johnson, District Attorney General; and Frank A. Harvey, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, James F. Wiggins, pled guilty to driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI), a Class A misdemeanor. He received a sentence of eleven months and twenty-nine days and was ordered to serve forty-eight hours in jail and the rest on probation. The Defendant's plea agreement reserved a certified question of law regarding the legality of the traffic stop which led to his arrest. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/wigginsj_060710.pdf


ROBERT M. WINTERS v. JIM MORROW, WARDEN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert M. Winters, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; and Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

The pro se Petitioner, Robert M. Winters, appeals as of right from the Bledsoe County Circuit Court's order summarily dismissing his petition for a writ of habeas corpus attacking his convictions for felony murder and aggravated robbery. He alleges that his indictment is void for failing to charge an offense. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/wintersr_060710.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Politics
Legal News
Legislative News
Upcoming
TBA in the News
TBA Member Services

Politics
The candidates and the issues
All four major candidates for governor appeared in forums during the Tennessee Bar Association convention in Nashville last week, discussing topics important to the legal community: judicial selection, criminal justice, indigent defense, workers' comp, the civil justice system and how best to choose the attorney general. The three main Republican candidates say they're open to making the position of state attorney general an elected office. Read about that from WPLN.org. Democrat Mike McWherter told the audience of lawyers that Tennessee ought to be the model in how the state appoints the attorney general: "I think every state should do it this way." Read what each of them said on the law-related subjects at the TBA's candidate forum.

On the topics of taxes, jobs and health care, public radio stations across the state joined together to find out where the candidates stand.

Judge Pugh will fill in for Judge Pugh
Shelby County Commissioners voted today to keep General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Ann Pugh in office through Aug. 31, rejecting an application by Steven D. Townsdin to serve on an interim basis through the summer. Pugh announced earlier this year that she would retire as of May 31 so that voters could pick a successor on the Aug. 5 ballot.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Legal News
Changas elected to fill open TBA board seat
The Tennessee Bar Association's Board of Governors on Saturday chose Nashville lawyer David Changas of Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC to fill the Fifth District Board seat vacated by Jackie Dixon when she was elected TBA Vice President. Changas will hold the seat until the board's next annual election in the spring of 2011.

Sellers defied UVA dean's prediction
As the first woman lawyer in Murfreesboro, Nancy Smith Sellers, who died June 1, is remembered fondly by lawyer-family: husband Bill Sellers, daughter Cindy Sellers Forrester, and son-in-law Tom Forrester. Cindy Sellers Forrester recalls this story: "When they were going through the admission process [at the University of Virginia Law School] the dean pulled granddad and my mother aside and said, 'Now, Mr. Smith, your daughter has met all the qualifications to be admitted to the law school, but it is a waste of your time and money to send her to law school here. She's only here to find a husband and she will never practice law and I recommend you turn right around and go to Tennessee and take her home.'"
Read this tribute in the Tennessean
Michigan opinion outlines help for pro se litigants
The State Bar of Michigan has issued an ethics opinion on unbundled legal services. According to the opinion, an attorney may assist a pro se litigant by giving advice or preparing documents as long as the attorney complies with the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct. An attorney who assists a pro se litigant is not required to appear in any proceeding and is not required to disclose the assistance to the court or opposing counsel.
The State Bar of Michegan has the opinion
4 of 5 Tennesseans can't afford legal help
About 1 million Tennesseans who meet federal poverty guidelines are eligible for free legal aid in civil litigation, but there are only 81 federally funded, full-time attorneys in Tennessee to help them. Janice Holder, the chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, said that means four out of every five eligible residents still can't get legal help.
Learn more from the Times-News
Judges in oil spill districts have oil ties
More than half of the federal judges in districts where most of Gulf oil spill-related lawsuits are pending have financial connections to the oil and gas industry, complicating the task of finding judges without conflicts to hear the cases, an Associated Press analysis of judicial financial disclosure reports shows.
NewsChannel5 reported the AP story
Legislative News
The budget explained
Tennessee's newly approved state budget is complicated and full of compromises, additions and subtractions. WPLN explains what to expect when the state's fiscal year starts July 1.
Listen to the report
Upcoming
Court to unveil access to justice plans
The Tennessee Supreme Court will make a formal announcement regarding access to justice on June 22 at 1 p.m., Central time. Chief Justice Janice Holder will discuss the Access to Justice Commission's Strategic Plan and recommendations, announcing the court's goals for improving access to justice in Tennessee and outlining next steps for this initiative. The event is open to the public and the media. For more information, contact Rebecca Rhodes.

TBA in the News
Rules of Professional Conduct studied by court
Last week, lawyers representing the Tennessee Bar Association and six other legal organizations answered questions posed by members of the Tennessee Supreme Court as part of their review of proposed changes to the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct. The rules were last amended more than six years ago, and the latest round of proposed changes was offered by the Tennessee Bar Association.
Read it in the Commercial Appeal
TBA gets 'Padilla' seminar up and going 'within hours'
When the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that immigrants have a constitutional right to be told by their lawyers whether pleading guilty to a crime could lead to their deportations, "within hours, the Tennessee Bar Association was scrambling to organize a Web-based seminar on the issue." The seminar, "The Padilla Decision: What Every Criminal Attorney Should Know" is still available online .
WRCB-TV reports this AP story.
TBA Member Services
Discounts from Office Depot
Are you saving yet? Sign up for the TBA-Office Depot Program and begin saving. TBA Members receive significant discounts on office supplies from Office Depot.
Find out more

 
 
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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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