Judicial Council sunsets as legislature wraps up work

In the last hours of the 106th General Assembly -- which wrapped up its work around 1 a.m. today -- the Senate failed to reauthorize the Tennessee Judicial Council, which now will "sunset" on June 30. The council, which has existed since 1943, comments on the impact of legislation on judicial administration; recommends new judges, district attorneys and public defenders; removes district public defenders for cause; and appoints five members of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. After the Senate, on a 16-16 vote, rejected restrictive new language on the council's ability to review legal legislation, the sponsor of the bill -- Government Operations Committee Chair Bo Watson, R-Signal Mountain -- deferred further action. The House had already adopted a six-year extension of the group's charter.

It is expected that an effort will be mounted at the beginning of the next legislative session to revive the body made up of judges, lawyers, clerks and other judicial branch officials. The TBA supports an active and vigorous Judicial Council, believing it provides an excellent forum for resolution of inter-governmental branch issues.
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database or to obtain a text version of each opinion, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at the TBA's Membership Central.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
04 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. 2) Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion.


Court: TCCA


David N. Brady, District Public Defender; Cynthia Lyons, Assistant Public Defender, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Timothy Dell Hilton.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Randall A. York, District Attorney General and Gary McKenzie, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant-Appellant, Timothy Dell Hilton, was convicted by a Cumberland County jury of aggravated kidnapping, a Class B felony, and aggravated assault, a Class C felony. He received an eight-year sentence for the aggravated kidnapping conviction, and a concurrent, three-year sentence for aggravated assault conviction. On appeal, Hilton claims: (1) the insufficiency of the evidence; and (2) the trial court erred in denying his motion in limine. Upon review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Terry Jordan, Assistant District Public Defender, for the appellant, Vincent Byron Rose.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and Tara Trent, Assistant District Attorney General Pro Tempore, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Vincent Byron Rose, appeals from the trial court's order revoking his probation and ordering that he serve his sentence in confinement. Discerning no error in the judgment of the trial court, we affirm.



Court: TCCA


Ralph E. Harwell and Jonathan Harwell, Knoxville, Tennessee, attorneys for appellant, William George Soller, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Steven R. Hawkins, Assistant District Attorney General, attorneys for appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, William George Soller, Jr., was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), fourth offense, a Class E felony. The Defendant pled guilty to violation of the implied consent law (Count 2) and driving on a revoked license (Count 3), both Class A misdemeanors. Following a sentencing hearing, the Defendant was sentenced as a multiple offender to forty months to serve at 35% for the DUI conviction, eleven months and twenty- nine days in the county jail, suspended to five days and the remainder on supervised probation for Count 2, and eleven months and twenty-nine days in the county jail, suspended to forty-five days and the remainder on supervised probation for Count 3. The trial court ordered the sentences to be served concurrently to one another but consecutively to sentences imposed in a separate case. In his appeal as of right, the Defendant contends that (1) the trial court erred in denying the motion to suppress because the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the Defendant, (2) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for DUI, and (3) the trial court erred in sentencing the Defendant as a Range II offender. Following our review, we affirm the judgment but conclude that the trial court improperly classified the Defendant as a Range II offender. Accordingly, we remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.



Court: TCCA


Tracy Jackson Smith, Assistant Public Defender (on appeal); and Ralph E. Harwell, Knoxville, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, William George Soller, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; James B. Dunn, District Attorney General; and Steven R. Hawkins, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, William George Soller, Jr., appeals from his Sevier County Circuit Court jury convictions of felony reckless endangerment, reckless aggravated assault, fourth offense driving under the influence ("DUI"), and leaving the scene of an accident. In this appeal, the defendant contends that: (1) the trial court erred by refusing his request for a change of venue; (2) the trial court erred by refusing to excuse a potential juror for cause; (3) the trial court erred by refusing to permit the testimony of an expert witness for the defense; (4) the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for felony reckless endangerment and DUI; (5) the trial court erred in its instructions to the jury; (6) the trial court should have dismissed one count of the indictment as duplicitous; and (7) the trial court erred by classifying the defendant as a Range II, multiple offender for sentencing purposes. After a review of the record, we affirm the defendant's convictions but vacate the defendant's sentences on the felony convictions of reckless aggravated assault and fourth offense DUI and remand the case to the trial court for resentencing.



Legislative News
Legal News
Supreme Court Report
Career Opportunities
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legislative News
Legislature wraps up session
The 106th General Assembly permanently adjourned early today after the House failed to pass a compromise version of the so-called "Health Freedom Act." Read about the last-minute wrangling in the Knoxville News Sentinel

Following adjournment, Gov. Phil Bredesen commented on the legislature's work.
Read his comments here
Legal News
Hurd sworn in to judicial post
Gov. Phil Bredesen today took part in an investiture ceremony for Rhynette Hurd, who he had earlier appointed to the Tennessee Circuit Court for the 30th Judicial District, Division VIII. The ceremony was held at the Shelby County Commission Chamber in Memphis. "With this appointment, we fulfill one of the fundamental responsibilities of our Constitution -- making sure that Tennessee's judicial system remains independent and strong," Bredesen said.
Read more from the Administrative Office of the Courts
Ogden named new Bar Foundation chair as IOLTA revenues rise
Knoxville attorney Harry Ogden took over leadership of the Tennessee Bar Foundation from outgoing chair Riney Green at the organization's annual meeting, held last week during the TBA Annual Convention. The foundation also selected Charles Key of Memphis to be chair-elect, and it heard a report on IOLTA funds, which showed that revenues have begun to rebound since rate comparability and uniform participation rule changes -- advocated by the TBA and the TBF, and adopted by the Tennessee Supreme Court -- went into effect Jan. 1.

Glankler Brown to move east
Memphis law firm Glankler Brown PLLC is moving out of its downtown landmark location at One Commerce Square into a prominent East Memphis building later this year to be closer to clients and take advantage of more affordable upgraded office space. Firm management says the move will save $200,000 each year, but the decision has been "excruciating" for some lawyers who see it as an end of an era, reports the Memphis Daily News. The paper also looks at the commercial real estate impact of the move.
Read more here
Local LAW chapters elect officers
Two local chapters of the Lawyers Association for Women have named new officers. At the Marion Griffin Chapter in Nashville, Donna Lee Roberts with Stites & Harbison PLLC takes the helm as president. Other officers include President-Elect Joycelyn Stevenson with Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings; Secretary Helena Yarbrough with Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC; and Treasurer Amber Roderer with Deloitte Tax LLP.

At the Southeast Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women (SETLAW) chapter in Chattanooga, Amanda Rogers with Luther-Anderson PLLP is the new president. Other officers are President-Elect Katie Smith with the Electric Power Board and Secretary/Treasurer Katy Russell with Luther-Anderson PLLP.

Third generation lawyer continues family tradition
Kathleen Hale McClellan was admitted to practice law in Tennessee last week at the Supreme Court's semi-annual new admittee swearing in ceremony. Introducing her to the court was her father, attorney Doug Hale; mother, attorney Brenda Hale; and grandmother Judge Jane Franks. McClellan, who will practice in her family's Franklin firm, said she found inspiration for the law as a child visiting her parents' law office and at the Nashville School of Law, where pictures of her family -- all graduates of the school -- grace the halls.
The Tennessean covered the story
Supreme Court Report
Washington Post provides glimpse into Kagan's life
In a story today, the Washington Post examines the personal and professional life of Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Her world, according to the Post, is a narrow one, despite "a blaze of accomplishment." She never married and never had children. She doesn't care for pets. And her friends are from her professional work. "She made her life the law and became consumed by it -- and happily so, by all accounts," the piece concludes.
Read more here
Career Opportunities
Legal Aid Society hiring for two offices
The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands is seeking staff attorneys for its Clarksville and Tullahoma offices. Attorneys will handle general civil issues such as domestic violence, housing, consumer, elder law, health and benefits law. Knowledge of Spanish and some legal experience is preferred. Applications must include a cover letter, resume, writing sample and three references, which should be sent via mail, fax or e-mail to: Human Resources Administrator, Legal Aid Society, P.O. Box 5209, Oak Ridge, TN 37831; Fax: (865) 483-8905; E-mail: HR@las.org.
Learn more about the openings on the TBA JobLink site
Forum on hate crimes set for June 24
A Community Education Forum on hate crimes will be held June 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The event will feature presentations by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, the Knoxville division of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service. Admission and parking is free.

Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer suspended
Knoxville lawyer Keith Pope was temporarily suspended from the practice of law on June 2 after the state Supreme Court determined he posed a threat of substantial harm to the public.
Read the BPR press release
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

Discontinue your TBA Today subscription? ... Surely not!
But if you must, visit the TBALink web site at:

Questions, comments: Email us at TBAToday@tnbar.org

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.

© Copyright 2010 Tennessee Bar Association