6th Circuit: Party labels, fundraising OK in judicial races

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday cleared the way for Kentucky judicial candidates to raise money and run with political party affiliations, saying a ban on such activities violates the First Amendment. The case grew out of a Kentucky rule that prohibited judicial candidates from identifying themselves by party, raising money and taking a stand on specific issues. With regard to the ban on taking positions on issues, the appeals court said it was "constitutional in the main," but because of a material ambiguity, required further consideration by the district court. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

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TODAY'S OPINIONS
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JEFFERY AARON LANE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; John H. Bledsoe, Assistant Attorney General; H. Greeley Wells, Jr., District Attorney General; and James F. Goodwin, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Jason R. McLellan, Kingsport, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeffery Aaron Lane.

Judge: LEE

We review this post-conviction case to determine the validity of defendant's guilty plea when the trial court did not specifically ask the defendant "How do you plead?" and he did not respond with the words, "Guilty" or "Not guilty." We hold that the defendant's guilty plea was valid because the facts and circumstances of the case show that the defendant intended to plead guilty, affirmatively admitted his guilt, stated that he was entering his plea voluntarily, and believed that he was pleading guilty. Accordingly, the defendant knowingly and voluntarily entered a guilty plea, and the guilty plea proceedings in this case substantially complied with the mandates of federal and state law. Therefore, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed, and we remand for reinstatement of the defendant's conviction under the accepted plea agreement.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/lanej_071410.pdf


ANGELA BRANDENBURG, ET AL. v. JAMES STEVEN HAYES, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Steven E. Marshall, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Angela Brandenburg and Black Bear Cabins & Weddings, Inc.

Scott D. Hall, Sevierville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Cynthia Herron Hayes.

Douglas R. Beier, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, James Steven Hayes.

Judge: MCCLARTY

Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant Husband and Wife seeking injunctive relief. Wife filed a counterclaim and cross-claim against Plaintiff and Husband alleging fraudulent conveyance, conversion, and misappropriation of assets. After a bench trial, the trial court found that Plaintiff and Husband devised a scheme to cloud the ownership of the business jointly owned by Husband and Wife and to hide assets from Wife during an impending divorce. The trial court awarded damages totaling $175,000 to Wife. Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/brandenburga_071410.pdf


IN RE CALEB J. B. W.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Joshua H. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kimberly W.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General & Reporter, Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General, and Lindsey O. Appiah, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, Department of Children's Services.

Sally Love, Cleveland, Tennessee, Guardian ad Litem.

Judge: MCCLARTY

This appeal involves the termination of a mother's parental rights to her son. Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that the mother knowingly failed to protect her child by not immediately seeking medical care and by not immediately reporting her child's injuries to medical providers or the authorities. Therefore, the trial court terminated the mother's parental rights. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/caleb_071410.pdf


GLADYS DAVIS v. NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Sonya W. Henderson, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Gladys Davis.

Keith D. Frazier, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Nissan North America, Inc.

Judge: SWINEY

Gladys Davis ("Plaintiff") filed this retaliatory discharge case against her former employer, Nissan North America, Inc. ("Defendant"). Plaintiff claims Defendant retaliated against her for filing several workers' compensation claims. Prior to Plaintiff's discharge, she underwent a comprehensive medical examination and, based on this examination, two physicians who are board certified in occupational and preventive medicine opined that there was a high risk of re-injury should Plaintiff be returned to work. Relying on the medical opinions of these two physicians, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The Trial Court concluded, among other things, that Defendant had negated an essential element of Plaintiff's claim and Defendant, therefore, was entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiff appeals, and we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/davisg_071410.pdf


IN RE DRAKE L.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Timothy T. Ishii, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cassandra A.

Abby Rose Rubenfeld, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Brian L.

Judge: BENNETT

Mother appeals the trial court's change of custody of the parties' minor child to Father. Father appeals the trial court's determination of Mother's child support obligation and its failure to award him a judgment for child support retroactive to the date he was awarded temporary custody. Both parties contest the trial court's findings of contempt. We affirm the trial court's change of custody to Father. We reverse its finding of contempt as to Mother and the denial of retroactive child support for Father. We remand the matter to the court for a determination of Mother's child support obligation.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/drakel_071410.pdf


MICHAEL CARY MURPHY v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael C. Murphy, Morristown, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; and Nicholas G. Barca, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Revenue.

Judge: CLEMENT

Appellant, a former municipal court judge, filed this action to contest the determination by the Department of Revenue that he was not entitled to have a judicial license plate for his vehicle. Appellant served as a municipal court judge from 1996 to 2000 in Morristown, Tennessee, a position to which he was appointed, not elected. He first obtained a judicial license plate in 1996 and following the end of his term in 2000, he annually renewed his judicial license plate. In 2006, Appellant received a notice from the State that he was not presently eligible to have a judicial license plate because the current statute, Tenn. Code Ann. section 55-4-226(f) (2004), provided that only "duly elected" municipal court judges were entitled to judicial license plates. Appellant then pursued a contested case hearing, and when the administrative action was dismissed, Appellant filed a petition for judicial review under the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. The chancery court upheld the administrative decision based on Tenn. Code Ann. section 55-4-226(f) (2004); however, the statute was amended in a material way in 2009, during the pendency of this case, which was not brought to the attention of the court. The Department has acknowledged in this appeal that the current statute provides that a former "appointed" municipal court judge, such as Appellant, may obtain a judicial license plate. We have determined the 2009 amendment to Tenn. Code Ann. section 55-4-226(f) provides the relief Appellant is seeking; therefore, the issues on appeal are moot. Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed for mootness.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/murphym_071410.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Supreme Court Report
Upcoming
Correction
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Governor commutes Owens' death sentence
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen announced today that he has commuted the death sentence of Gaile W. Owens to life in prison. Owens was convicted in 1986 of hiring a man to kill her husband. Bredesen said his decision was based on the fact that Owens had agreed to a plea bargain that was later rescinded, and because she may have been abused by her husband.
The Tennessean has a summary of the case
TLAW names new officers and board members
The Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women inducted new officers and board members at the group's annual meeting last month. Officers are President Rebecca Blair with Day & Blair in Nashville; President-elect Wynne Hall with Paine, Tarwater & Bickers LLP in Knoxville; Treasurer Linda Knight with Gullett, Sanford, Robinson & Martin PLLC in Nashville; Recording Secretary Debra House with Legal Aid of East Tennessee in Knoxville; Corresponding Secretaries Christina Duncan, with Rogers & Duncan in Manchester, and Amy Everhart, a solo practioner in Nashville; and Immediate Past President Amy Hollars of Livingston, a circuit court judge in the 13th Judicial District. Board members include West Tennessee Director at Large Beth Bates with West Tennessee Legal Services in Jackson, Middle Tennessee Director at Large Maria Salas with the Salas Law Group PLLC in Nashville, and East Tennessee Director at Large Rebecca Franklin with Norton Spangler & Cramer PC in Knoxville.

Murfreesboro lawyer named to court reporting board
Gov. Phil Bredesen yesterday appointed Murfreesboro lawyer John Mack Green to the Tennessee Board of Court Reporting. Green, a solo practioner, earned his law degree in 1987 from Vanderbilt University Law School. The appointment came as part of larger effort to assign 134 Tennesseans to 60 state boards and commissions.
See a list of all appointments
New policy governs police handling of juveniles
Memphis police have been given broader discretion in dealing with juveniles accused of criminal activity. The change allows police and the Juvenile Court to issue a summons in lieu of arrest "for any misdemeanor offense and for felonies involving property crimes, where no further investigation is necessary." The purpose behind the move, according to officials, is to curtail the "hero status" many juveniles gain after being taken away in the back of a police car.
The Memphis Daily News has more
LSC to implement internal controls over grant awards
The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced this week it would improve internal controls over grant awards following a review of the agency by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In its report, the GAO recommends that the LSC improve internal controls as well as its process for documenting grant evaluations. On a positive note, the report found that the corporation had improved its governance and accountability practices since previous reviews were conducted in 2007.
Download the GAO's report
Supreme Court Report
Committee vote on Kagan delayed for a week
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday postponed for one week a vote on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Committee Republicans insisted on the delay, saying they needed more time to review Kagan's written answers to questions they posed following her confirmation hearings, and to inquire further into how she would behave as a justice.
Read the story from the AP on Yahoo! News
Upcoming
Congressional panel to hold hearing in Memphis
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and two Memphis-based bankruptcy judges are among witnesses scheduled to testify when a subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee holds a field hearing on Monday in Memphis. Wharton, who testified before the subcommittee in Washington in April, is expected to talk about the effects of predatory lending. Two other panels are expected to address bankruptcy and housing foreclosures in Memphis. The subcommittee, which is chaired by Rep. Steve Cohen, will hold the session at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 335 at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Correction
An item in Tuesday's TBA Today gave an incorrect date for an upcoming CLE webcast to help lawyers offering assistance to flood victims answer questions about the accelerated home buyout program. The one-hour free program will begin at noon Central time tomorrow (Thursday).
Register now or learn more about the free webcast
TBA Member Services
Avis benefits 'try harder'
TBA members are offered a rental car discount through Avis. Enroll in the Avis Preferred Service at www.avisawards.com to bypass the rental counter and go directly to your car for a faster, easier rental experience. Enter code AWD# A570100.


 
 
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