TBA recognized for service to profession and community

Two Tennessee Bar Association programs were named the best in the state today by the Tennessee Society of Association Executives. The TBA's Court Square CLE series was named the best coordinated series of seminars for its unique approach to delivering continuing legal education to lawyers in rural and small town settings. The series specifically was designed to reach underserved areas of the state and to offer lawyers an affordable and quality service. In addition, the TBA Young Lawyers Division's Wills for Heroes program was named the state's best volunteer recruitment effort. The award recognized the YLD's efforts in recruiting more than 350 volunteers to prepare wills and other end-of-life documents for first responders in the state. Throughout 2009, the YLD held 13 events across the state and served 471 first responders and their families.
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Court: TCA


J. Kimbrough Johnson and Michael Casey Shannon, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roy W. Hendrix, Jr.

Emily Campbell Taube and James Bennett Fox, Jr., Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Steven Anderson.


The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff buyer of land, concluding that Defendant seller was liable for rollback taxes pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 67-5-1008(f). We affirm.



Court: TCA


Branch Heard Henard, III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roy B. Cummins.

Rose Palermo, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Janis Oliver Cummins.


Husband appeals the trial court's decision that Wife's payment of taxes, insurance and association dues on houses titled jointly were contributions of separate property to the homes which, under a premarital agreement, entitled her to a credit before Husband could recover appreciation on those homes. The agreement provides for the treatment of a party's contributions of separate property to jointly held property, and we share the trial court's interpretation of those provisions. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court.



Court: TCA


Herbert S. Moncier, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, State of Tennessee, ex rel. Bee DeSelm, Donna Brian, Michael Whalen, Jerry Bone and Bee DeSelm, Donna Brian, Michael Whalen, and Jerry Bone, Individually.

Martha H. McCampbell, Albert J. Harb, John K. King, Michael S. Ruble, Wayne A. Ritchie, II., and Richard T. Beeler, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Knox County, Tennessee, Knox County Trustee, Fred Sisk, Knox County Register of Deeds, Sherry Witt, Knox County Sheriff, James "J.J." Jones, and Charles Bolus.


Plaintiffs' action sought the removal of twelve Knox County office holders who had been appointed by the Knox County Commission in violation of the Open Meetings Act, according to plaintiffs' complaint. Another action, independent of plaintiffs' action, sought removal of the office holders on the grounds that the office holders had been appointed in violation of the Open Meetings Act. Plaintiffs were allowed to intervene in the independent case which, following trial, resulted in a finding that the Commission had violated the Open Meetings Act, and the office holders were removed from office. In this case, the Trial Court held that since plaintiffs had obtained the results that they sought in their action as a result of their intervention that the continuation of this action was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. Plaintiffs sought and were granted several amendments with their complaint seeking relief on other grounds, but the Trial Court denied any further relief to plaintiffs' bid. On appeal, we affirm the Judgment of the Trial Court.



Court: TCA


Jason R. Creasy, Dyersburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ferrel C. Glover

Curtis F. Hopper, Savannah, Tennessee, for the appellee, Celia Ann Clevenger Glover


After the parties' brief marriage, the trial court awarded Wife $25,000.00 for equity allegedly accrued in the marital residence during the marriage. Finding no contributions by Wife to support a transmutation from separate to marital property, we reverse.



Court: TCCA


William E. Griffith, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal and at trial); Jason Gichner and Chase Smith, Assistant Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Elmi Abdulahi Abdi.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Rachel Sobrero and Pamela Sue Anderson, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Elmi Abdulahi Abdi, was convicted by a Davidson County Criminal Court jury of aggravated robbery, a Class B felony, and sentenced to thirty years in the Department of Correction as a Range III, persistent offender. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and the sentence imposed by the trial court. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Patrick G. Frogge, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Arthur L. Armstrong.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Mark A. Fulks and Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Amy Eisenbeck, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Petitioner, Arthur L. Armstrong, was convicted in 1978 of robbery, rape, kidnapping, and two counts of crime against nature and was sentenced to two life sentences, a twenty-year term, and two indeterminate terms of not less than ten years nor more than fifteen years, all of which the trial court ordered to be served consecutively. In March 2005, the Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, in which he alleged newly discovered evidence, and the trial court dismissed the petition after a hearing. On appeal, he contends that the dismissal was an unconstitutional denial of his right to due process. After careful review, we affirm the trial court's judgment.



Court: TCCA


Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Don Birdwell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and David McGovern, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, the State of Tennessee.


Defendant, Don Birdwell, was convicted of one count of aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and one count of vandalism of property valued between $1,000 and $10,000, a Class D felony. The trial court sentenced Defendant as a Range I, standard offender, to concurrent sentences of three years, six months for his aggravated assault conviction, and two years, six months, for his vandalism conviction, for an effective sentence of three years, six months. The trial court ordered Defendant to serve ninety days in confinement, after which the sentence was suspended and Defendant placed on probation. On appeal, Defendant argues that (1) the evidence is insufficient to support his convictions of aggravated assault and vandalism; (2) the trial court impermissibly commented on the evidence; and (3) the trial court erred in denying Defendant's request for full probation. After a thorough review of the record, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Michael J. Collins and Andrew Jackson Dearing, III, Assistant Public Defenders, Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Walter Jude Dec.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Sophia S. Lee, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Walter Jude Dec, pled guilty to 41 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, as follows: 25 counts of possessing in excess of 100 images of a minor, a Class B felony; one count of possession between 50 and 100 images of a minor, a Class C felony; and 15 counts of possessing less than 50 images, a Class D felony. He was sentenced as a violent offender to twelve years for each of the Class B felonies and as a Range I, standard offender to six years for the Class C felony and four years for each of the Class D felonies, with all sentences to be served concurrently. On appeal, the defendant argues that his sentences are excessive and that the trial court erred in not merging the 41 counts into a single count. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.



Court: TCCA


Bob Lynch, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Gary Lee Hunt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; David Vorhaus, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.


The Defendant, Gary Lee Hunt, pled guilty to driving under the influence ("DUI"), second offense, and the trial court sentenced him to eleven months and twenty-nine days, forty-five days of which he was ordered to serve in incarceration with the remainder to be served on probation. In accordance with Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 37, the Defendant reserved as a certified question of law the issue of whether the stop of his vehicle, which led to his indictment and guilty plea, was constitutional. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we conclude that the stop of the Defendant's vehicle was constitutional. Therefore, we affirm the trial court's judgment.



Court: TCCA


Philip A. Condra, District Public Defender; and Charles Doug Curtis, II, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Ryan Smith.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and Julia Oliver, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Ryan Smith, appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to amend the judgment in his statutory rape case to eliminate the requirement that he register as a sex offender, arguing that the trial court misinterpreted Tennessee Code Annotated section 40- 39-202(20)(A)(ii), which defines when a statutory rape conviction triggers sex offender registry requirements. Based on our review, we agree that the trial court misinterpreted the statute and that the defendant's conviction does not require his registration as a sex offender. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's order and remand for the court to amend the defendant's judgment to remove the defendant's placement on the sex offender registry.



Court: TCCA


John E. Herbison, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Damien Tolson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; T. Michel Bottoms, District Attorney General; and James G. White, II, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The petitioner, Damien Tolson, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief from his first degree premeditated murder conviction, arguing that the post-conviction court erred in finding that he received effective assistance of counsel. After review, we affirm the denial of the petition.



Legal News
Supreme Court Report
Election 2010
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Nashville lawyer Bill Willis dies
Nashville lawyer William R. (Bill) Willis died today. He was 79. A 1954 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, he was a partner in the firm of Willis & Knight, and was a former president of the Nashville Bar Association and former chair of the Board of Professional Responsibility. No information about services is available at this time, but it will be reported as it becomes available.
The Tennessean has more
Legal News
Former Sen. Crutchfield asks for return of full citizenship
Former state Senator Ward Crutchfield has petitioned for restoration of full citizenship after completing his probation on a bribery case. In order to regain his law license, he would need to apply to the Tennessee Supreme Court. He was sentenced to six months of home confinement and two years of supervised release. He paid a $3,000 fine in the "Tennessee Waltz" case.
Chattanoogan.com reports
Wiseman, Ashworth leave Gideon, form new firm
Three former Gideon & Wiseman attorneys, including two of its founding partners, are starting a new downtown Nashville law firm. Thomas Wiseman III and Gail Ashworth are joining with former Gideon associate attorney Kimberly Silvus to set up Wiseman Ashworth Law Group PLC. Both Wiseman and Ashworth are past presidents of the Nashville Bar Association, and Ashworth is immediate past president of the Tennessee Bar Association.
The Nashville Business Journal has more
Tennessee legislators fly to Arizona in support of new law
Nine Republican legislators are on a trip to Arizona today to offer Gov. Jan Brewer support for her state's immigration law. Democrats wasted no time in criticizing the trip. "Apparently Tennessee Republicans think political junkets to Arizona are more important than unemployment in their own districts." Sen. Eric Stewart, D-Belvidere, said. The Times Free Press has more. "We're absolutely going to introduce something similar if not identical to the Arizona legislation in Tennessee next year, and this ruling isn't going to change that," said Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, who is on the trip.

Judge threatened, protesters weigh in on immigration law
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer today asked legislators to consider whether they should change the state's immigration law in the wake of a judge's ruling blocking enforcement of parts of it. "The governor believes that the law is constitutional and she is obviously going to pursue the appeal," a spokesperson said. "What she is looking at are legislative improvements that can be made ... given the current ruling for an injunction." WATE.com has more.

In Phoenix, the judge who blocked the strict immigration law's most controversial elements was threatened, and protesters yesterday stormed a downtown jail, beating on the metal door and forcing sheriff's deputies to call for backup. Dozens were arrested. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio launched his latest sweep Thursday afternoon anyway, sending about 200 sheriff's deputies and trained volunteers out across metro Phoenix to look for traffic violators who may be there illegally.
Read more in the Tennessean
Supreme Court Report
Corkers says he'll vote against Kagan
Republican Sen. Bob Corker announced this afternoon he will vote against Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court. "Elena Kagan's actions as a clerk for the Supreme Court strongly suggest that she believes it is appropriate to use the court to achieve a political end," Corker said in a written statement announcing his decision.
Read more in the Tennessean
Election 2010
Retention vote explained
The Marshall County Tribune explains that on the ballot this election are two judges who "must now have the voters' approval to stay on the bench for full eight-year terms." Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee and Court of Appeals Judge John W. McClarty are up for a retention vote. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission unanimously recommends both judges for retention, the paper notes. The TBA's Judicial Election Information Center has more information or watch a short video on the topic.
Read the story from the Marshall County Tribune
Early voting ends Saturday
Early voting in Tennessee's Aug. 5 primaries and local general elections ends Saturday, July 31.
Find a complete list of locations and early voting hours
Disciplinary Actions
Crossville attorney disbarred
Anthony W. Turner of Crossville was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court on July 27 for violating several Rules of Professional Conduct, including actions related to the abandonment of his law practice after accepting fees from clients.
Download the BPR release
Memphis attorney suspended
On July 27, Memphis attorney Timothy Darnell Flowers was suspended from the practice of law for three years by the Tennessee Supreme Court and ordered to pay restitution to a former client. This suspension shall run concurrently with a previous one-year suspension imposed by the Supreme Court on June 4. Among other violations, Flowers failed to act diligently in pursuing his clients' interest in multiple cases by accepting fees to file appeals with the Board of Immigration Appeals and then failing to file briefs or offer appropriate legal analysis to support the clients' appeals.
Download the BPR release
TBA Member Services
Open your door to FedEx residential shipping
Did you know that the FedEx portfolio of residential services can help you reach every residential address in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii? That's why you should Think FedEx First. And as a TBA member, you get a valuable discount on the select FedEx residential services.
Find out how to enroll today

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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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