Supreme Court praised for access to justice initiative

An editorial in yesterday's Tennessean praises the state Supreme Court for proactively dealing with the issue of access to justice for the state's poor saying, "When justice is not administered equally, we all have a problem." The paper dedicated a full page to the issue and called on all Tennesseans to pay attention to the court's June 22 announcement of how access to justice can be expanded in the state.

As part of the feature, the paper ran two guest editorials. In the first guest column, Gary Housepian, executive director of the Legal Aid Society, writes that though legal aid lawyers work year round to help those who cannot afford legal representation, the need for assistance exceeds available resources. In the second editorial, Nashville School of Law Dean Joe Loser suggests that the high cost of legal education saddles graduates with debt that drives up fees and makes legal representation unaffordable for many.
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Court: TCA


Margaret Jane Powers, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Donna Angela Ross.

John Mark McFarland, Kingston, Tennessee, for the appellee, Rocky Glen Ross.


This is a divorce case. The trial court granted the husband a divorce on the ground of inappropriate marital conduct and awarded the husband what appears to be a sizable majority of the parties' assets. The trial court, however, did not adjudicate the wife's counterclaim for spousal support. Because the order appealed does not adjudicate all of the claims, rights, and liabilities of the parties, it is not a final judgment that is appealable of right. We dismiss.


Court: TCCA


Ricky Lee Cook, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence R. Whitley, District Attorney General; and William Lamberth, II, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


On May 11, 2009, the Defendant, Ricky Lee Cook, pleaded guilty to Class D felony evading arrest and driving under the influence ("DUI"), third offense. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, he received a sentence of eleven-months and twenty-nine days at 75% to serve for the DUI conviction and a sentence of three years at 30% to be probated for the felony evading arrest conviction. These sentences were consecutive terms. Thereafter, the Defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The Sumner County Criminal Court denied the motion. The Defendant now appeals, contending that this denial was error. After our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


William B. (Jake) Lockert, III, District Public Defender; Lila Kathleen Mitchell (on appeal) and Dawn Kavanagh (at hearing) Assistant Public Defenders, Ashland City, Tennessee for the Defendant-Appellant, Danurico Dujuan Grundy.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Dan M. Alsobrooks, District Attorney General; and Billy H. Miller, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Danurico Dujuan Grundy, appeals the revocation of his probation by the Circuit Court for Dickson County. On November 17, 2005, he pled guilty to theft under $500, a Class A misdemeanor, and five counts of uttering a forged instrument under $1,000, a Class E felony. Grundy received an effective sentence of two years in the Tennessee Department of Correction and was ordered to pay $26.50 to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund and $546.50 in court costs. On appeal, Grundy claims the trial court erred by revoking his probation and reinstating his original sentences of confinement. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


John Chadwick Long, Hendersonville, Tennessee (on appeal), and William Bart Highers, Gallatin, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Willie James Krisle.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Lytle Anthony James, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Willie James Krisle, was convicted in the Sumner County Criminal Court of two counts of the sale of less than .5 grams of a substance containing cocaine, see Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-17-417(c)(2)(A), and he received a total effective sentence of eight years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions, specifically contending that there was insufficient evidence corroborating the testimony of his accomplice, co-defendant Robert Hargrove. Upon review, we affirm the appellant's convictions.


Court: TCCA


Steven G. Moore, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, for the Defendant-Appellant, Daryl Powell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; J. Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Steven H. Strain, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Daryl Powell, appeals from the Sequatchie County Circuit Court's order denying his motion to determine the conditions and status of his probation and requiring him to provide a blood sample to the DNA database, which was entered more than four years after he was sentenced for his conviction for incest, a Class C felony. In his appeal, Powell argues that he complied with the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated section 40-35-321 when he submitted a blood sample to the DNA database during the investigation of the charges against him in this case. Upon review, we conclude that Powell does not have an appeal as of right pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Appellate Procedure 3(b). Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.


Court: TCCA


Emeterio R. Hernando, Lewisburg, Tennessee, for the Petitioner-Appellant, Kimberly Ann Ross.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Frank Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Kimberly Ann Ross, appeals from the Bedford County Circuit Court's denial of post-conviction relief from her guilty plea to first degree murder and her life sentence. In her appeal, the Petitioner argues that she received ineffective assistance of counsel because trial counsel coerced her into pleading guilty to first degree murder and failed to adequately prepare her case, investigate witnesses, and defend her. She also contends that she was unable to make a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent decision to enter her guilty plea because she was under the influence of certain medications. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.


Court: TCCA


Hewitt Chatman, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Jerry Timberlake.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Senior Counsel; James G. (Jerry) Woodall, District Attorney General; and Angela R. Scott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Jerry Timberlake, appeals the Henderson County Circuit Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the lower court's denial of relief pursuant to Rule 20 of the Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Because the petitioner has failed to prove his allegations by clear and convincing evidence, we conclude that the State's motion is well-taken. Accordingly, we affirm the lower court's denial of post-conviction relief.


Court: TCCA


Christopher Westmoreland, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tommy L. Wray.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Weakley E. Barnard, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Tommy L. Wray, was convicted of one count of aggravated burglary, a Class C felony, one count of sexual battery, a Class E felony, and one count of attempted sexual battery, a Class A misdemeanor. See Tenn. Code Ann. sections 39-14- 403(b), -13-505(c), -12-107(a). In this appeal, he contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial due to the State's failure to provide him with a copy of a statement made by the victim. After our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

Constitutionality of Sex Offender Residency Restriction Pertaining to Student Residence Facilities

TN Attorney General Opinions

Date: 2010-06-09

Opinion Number: 10-81


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Corker meets with Kagan
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker met with Elena Kagan -- President Barack Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court -- yesterday but remained noncommittal about how he'll vote. "I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Solicitor General Kagan today and let her know that I plan to reserve judgment on her nomination until the conclusion of a fair and thorough hearings process," Corker said. "As I make my decision, I will continue to examine her experience, ability, integrity and judicial philosophy to determine whether her decisions are likely to be rooted in the law rather than based on personal or political beliefs," he added.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Legal News
Court upholds suspension of Memphis lawyer
The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld a one-year suspension for Memphis immigration lawyer Timothy Darnell Flowers, who was accused of multiple counts of misconduct, including filing frivolous appeals, bouncing checks and taking advantage of vulnerable clients. The court said Flowers demonstrated a pattern of neglect and a refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of his conduct. Download the opinion
Read about the case in the Commercial Appeal
Appeals court bans Ten Commandments display
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday voted to uphold a ban on the display of the Ten Commandments at two southern Kentucky courthouses. The displays, called the "Foundations of Law and Government," included multiple religious and government documents such as the Bill of Rights, Magna Carta and Star Spangled Banner. However, Judge Eric Clay wrote that the counties could not provide a "valid secular purpose" for the display of the Old Testament laws.
Nashville NewsChannel 5 reports
ABA offers nonprofit litigation resource
Attorneys who provide pro bono legal assistance to nonprofits can get free assistance from the Business and Corporate Litigation Committee of the ABA's Business Law Section. The committee has just released the 2010 edition of its "Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation," and it is making the chapter on nonprofit law and litigation available free to organizations and attorneys that provide pro bono legal assistance to nonprofits. Contact for a copy of the chapter.

Drop in juvenile arrests leads to decline in facilities
A report from the Associated Press finds that states across the country are quietly shutting down dozens of reformatories amid plunging juvenile arrests, increasing popularity of treatment programs and bleak budgets. The review looked at juvenile arrests in California, Kansas, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.
The Columbia Daily Herald ran the AP story
Legislative News
New campaign finance provisions approved
Legislation requiring corporations to report any independent expenditures they make in Tennessee state or local political races was approved by the state House on Tuesday as members agreed to several Senate changes to the bill. The legislation is now on its way to the governor for his signature. The bill came in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned a federal ban on corporations making independent expenditures in campaigns.
Read more in the Times Free Press
Legislature approves random student drug testing
Students who participate in extracurricular activities may be subject to random drug testing beginning July 1 under legislation approved yesterday. The bill -- approved 79-12 in the House and 27-0 in the Senate -- would change current law, which allows drug testing only if school officials have probable cause to believe a student is using drugs. Under the bill, school districts would set their own drug-testing policies or decide whether they want to participate in the program.
The Commercial Appeal reports
MBA section plans golf tournament
The Memphis Bar Association Bankruptcy Section is hosting the 22nd Annual Nancy Cannon Bankruptcy Open Golf Tournament and dinner on June 11 at Stonebridge Golf Club. Start time will be 1:30 p.m. The entry fee is $65.
Download a registration form
Federalist Society hosts debate on Kagan nomination
On June 14, the Nashville chapter of the Federalist Society will host a debate on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. M. Edward Whelan III, president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and Vanderbilt Law Professor Brian Fitzpatrick will debate the issues surrounding the nomination. The event will run from 12-1:30 p.m. at the Nashville office of Bass Berry & Sims located at The Pinnacle at Symphony Place, 150 Third Ave. South, Ste 2800. The cost is $10 per person, which also includes lunch. RSVP by June 11th to
For more details visit the society's web site
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