Clark to be sworn in as chief justice Sept. 1

Justice Cornelia A. Clark will become the second woman in the state's history to serve as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court when she is sworn into office at 10 a.m. on Sept. 1 at the historic courthouse in Franklin. Chief Justice Janice Holder will administer the oath of office to Clark, who was elected by the court to serve a two-year term as chief justice.

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Court: TSC

CORRECTION on page 1 lists appellant as Lakisha Lynch instead of Yvette Martin

Court: TCA


Cynthia Elease Greene, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Lakisha Lynch.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Warren Jasper, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee, ex rel. Yvette Martin.


The mother of a minor child appeals her conviction of eighteen counts of criminal contempt for willful failure to pay child support. She contends the evidence was insufficient to sustain the convictions for criminal contempt. We agree and reverse the finding of the trial court.

With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TCCA


Darrell W. Lunsford, Pikeville, Tennessee, Pro se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The Petitioner, Darrell W. Lunsford, appeals the dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, in which he alleged that his sentence was illegal. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

TIPTON dissenting


Court: TCCA


Jeremy W. Parham, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, William Earl Robinson a.k.a. Edward Baxter.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, William Earl Robinson, a.k.a. Edward Baxter, appeals the Davidson County Criminal Court's denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. The petitioner pled guilty to rape, a Class B felony, and was sentenced to eight years, which was suspended to probation upon acceptance of the plea. After his probationary sentence was revoked, the petitioner filed a post-conviction petition, alleging that his plea was entered unknowingly and involuntarily based upon the ineffective assistance of counsel. On appeal, he specifically contends that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to properly advise the petitioner of his potential range of punishment for the charged offenses prior to his acceptance of the plea. Following review of the record, we find no error and affirm the denial of post-conviction relief.


Court: TCCA


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at trial), for the appellant, Guy Henry White.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Mike Flynn, District Attorney General; and Tammy Harrington, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

The defendant, Guy Henry White, entered into an open guilty plea to one count of theft of property valued at $10,000 or more but less than $60,000. See T.C.A. section 40-3-103 (2006). The trial court sentenced him to five years to be served as 90 days' incarceration with the remainder on supervised probation. The defendant appeals from the trial court's denial of judicial diversion and its imposition of a five-year sentence. Discerning no error, we affirm.


Court: TCCA


Joseph R. Wiggins, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Joseph R. Wiggins, appeals the Lake County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief. In his petition, he contends that the five- year sentence he received for a simple rape conviction in 1983, is illegal because of a defective indictment. The State has filed a motion requesting that this court affirm the habeas corpus court's dismissal pursuant to Rule 20, Rules of the Court of Criminal Appeals. After review, we conclude that the State's motion is meritorious because the petitioner's challenged sentence has long expired and he is no longer "restrained of his liberty" pursuant to that conviction. Accordingly, we grant the State's motion and affirm the dismissal.


Election 2010
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Election 2010
Henry ahead of Yarbro by 13 votes, recount considered
State Sen. Douglas Henry appears to have prevailed over challenger Jeff Yarbro in the District 21 Democratic primary after the Davidson County Election Commission retallied Thursday's votes. Henry started today with a two-vote lead and two provisional ballots outstanding. Yarbro received both provisional votes, but only after a recalculation of votes that had been counted by hand last week put Henry ahead by 13 votes, election officials said this morning. Yarbro said in a statement that "before certifying this election, voters should know with certainty there were no irregularities in the voting or counting process," and that "a recount appears to be in order." Kathryn Sasser, who is providing legal counsel for Yarbro, said it's too premature to know whether the Yarbro campaign plans to ask for a recount, but called the sudden change in voting numbers "concerning." The initial count on Election night showed Yarbro with an 18-point advantage, according to the The City Paper. Henry's campaign finance chairman Bob Thomas said "We would not be opposed to a recount."
The Tennessean has the story
Anderson Juvenile Court race still undecided
The Anderson County race for Juvenile Court judge remains tied after two provisional ballots were rejected Saturday. Interim Juvenile Court Judge Brandon Fisher, a Democrat, and Republican Zach Farrar each received 6,442 votes. The commission voted on Saturday to recount all absentee ballots this week. If the recount results in a second tie, by state law the decision will rest in the hands of the Anderson County Commission. reports
Election 'review' called for by Shelby Co. Commission
The Shelby County Election Commission has asked for an "independent agency to review the Aug. 5 election" in light of problems that led to some voters being turned away and others casting provisional ballots. The commission said the problem occurred because a database of early voters for the May primaries was incorrectly loaded into Electronic Polling Books, rather than the database of early voters from the Aug. 5 election. Therefore, some voters were told the computers showed that they had already voted.
Get the details from the Commercial Appeal
Memphis attorney Charles Crump dies, service Thursday
Memphis attorney Charles Metcalf Crump of Apperson Crump PLC died Sunday at the age of 96. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1937 and was a member of the Tennessee General Assembly from 1939 to 1943. A memorial service will be held at Church of the Holy Communion, 4645 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, at 11 a.m. on Thursday, with a reception immediately following. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Church of the Holy Communion, Rhodes College or a charity of choice.
Read more about Mr. Crump from the firm
Legal News
Syverud named trustee for BP fund distribution
BP PLC today named former Vanderbilt Law School Dean Kent Syverud as one of two lawyers to serve as trustees of the planned $20 billion fund for oil spill victims. Syverud served as dean at Vanderbilt from 1997 to 2005. He is now dean of Washington University Law School in St. Louis. The other trustee is John Martin Jr., who served as a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 1990 to 2003.
The Blog of Legal Times reports
TBA YLD recognized for public and member services
The Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division was awarded the American Bar Association YLD's top awards for a public service project and member publication on Saturday in San Francisco. YLD President Tasha Blakney was in town for the ABA YLD's Annual Meeting and accepted the awards. In the public service category, the YLD was recognized for its efforts recruiting volunteer lawyers, providing training and organizing the delivery of legal services after flooding devastated Middle and West Tennessee in May. In the publication category, the YLD's quarterly newsletter, the Tennessee Young Lawyer, was recognized as the best bar publication among the group.
See a photo of Blakney accepting the award on
Supreme Court Report
Kagan sworn in as Supreme Court associate justice
Elena Kagan was sworn in as a U.S. Supreme Court justice Saturday by Chief Justice John Roberts. Watch the video on C-SPAN. Afterward, Kagan said she would uphold the rule of law, pledging to "work my hardest and try my best to fulfill these commitments and serve this country I love as well as I am able." She will join two other female justices in the court, and is the fourth woman ever to be appointed. Even though the court is in recess, Kagan has plenty of work to do. According to one story, "She'll be hiring law clerks and secretaries, setting up her chambers, wading into thousands of incoming petitions and handling emergency matters -- which may soon include an appeal of a stay in the California same-sex marriage case."
The ABA Journal connects you to stories from the National Law Journal, The Blog of Legal Times and The New York Times.
Court make-up changes, but outcomes likely to stay same
In an interview with The Associated Press in her Supreme Court office, Justice Ginsburg reflected on the the fact that there are three women now on the court. "We are one-third of this court," she said. No longer a momentous event, the appointment of a woman to the high court has become, Ginsburg said, "expectable." But having three women on the court may not change the outcome of any cases. The justices, after all, regularly divide 5-4 along ideological lines in high-profile cases. "Having this seat occupied by a woman does not in and of itself change the way this justice votes," said Vanderbilt University law professor Tracey George.
News Channel 9 carried this AP story
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What you need to know about bail bonds
Do you need to know more about bail bonds and the factors a court must consider in lowering a bail bond? To learn this and review a new DUI bail bond law that will take effect Jan. 1, 2011, join Nashville attorney Rob McKinney for a CLE webcast tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon Central time.
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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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