Proposal: Cut Judicial Performance Program Committee

The Tennessee Supreme Court today published for public comment a proposal that would dissolve its Judicial Performance Program Committee (JPPC) and leave the task of evaluating appellate judges to the statutorily created Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC). The JPPC was established before the JPEC, which operates as part of the merit selection, evaluation and retention election process for appellate judges. Since the JPPC in recent years has not operated independently of the JPEC process in evaluating appellate judges for "replace" or "retain" retention elections, the court is proposing that the commission fully take over operations. The standards for evaluation -- integrity, knowledge and understanding of the law, ability to communicate, preparation and attentiveness, service to the profession and the public, and effectiveness in working with other judges and court personnel -- remain unchanged.

Unscramble the alphabet soup and view a copy of the proposal here

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JOEL RICHARD SCHMEIDERER
CORRECTION on page 2, in the third line of the second paragraph under the heading "FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY," the word "count" has been substituted for the word "court"


Court: TSC

Attorneys:

Claudia S. Jack, District Public Defender; Shipp Weems and Michelle VanDeRee, Assistant Public Defenders, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joel Richard Schmeiderer.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; James E. Gaylord, Assistant Attorney General; Joel Douglas Dicus and Patrick Butler, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: HOLDER

In this capital case, the defendant, Joel Richard Schmeiderer, was convicted of first degree premeditated murder in connection with the strangling death of a fellow inmate. The jury imposed a sentence of death for the murder based on two aggravating circumstances. The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed. On automatic appeal pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(a)(1), we designated the following issues for oral argument: 1) whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying the defendant's motion for a second continuance; 2) whether this denial of a continuance violated the defendant's constitutional right to present mitigation evidence during the sentencing phase; 3) whether the trial court erred by allowing the State to introduce into evidence and argue a non-statutory aggravating circumstance during the sentencing phase; 4) whether the prosecutor's closing argument during the sentencing phase constituted plain error mandating reversal; and 5) whether the sentence of death is disproportionate or invalid under the mandatory review of Tennessee Code Annotated section 39-13-206(c)(1). Having carefully reviewed the record and relevant legal authority, we conclude that none of the errors alleged by the defendant warrant relief. With respect to issues not herein specifically addressed, we affirm the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Relevant portions of that opinion are published hereafter as an appendix. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2010/schmeiderer_CORR_091510.pdf


DAVID MATHEWS, ET AL. v. THE CITY OF CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

John C. Cavett, Jr., Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellants, David Mathews and Tommy Baker.

Kathryn G. Smith, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, EPB Telecom.

Frederick L. Hitchcock and Thomas C. Greenholtz, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, Electric Power Board of Chattanooga.

Judge: SWINEY

David Mathews and Tommy Baker ("Plaintiffs") sued the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga, and EPB Telecom ("Defendants") for inverse condemnation. Defendants filed motions for summary judgment. After a hearing, the Trial Court granted Defendants summary judgment finding and holding, inter alia, that there were no genuine issues of material fact and that the claim for inverse condemnation was barred by the statute of limitations contained in Tenn. Code Ann. section 29-16-124. Plaintiffs appeal to this Court. We hold that the claim for inverse condemnation fails because no taking occurred, and summary judgment was properly granted to Defendants. The judgment is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/mathewsd_091510.pdf


CECILIA OWENSBY, ET AL. v. STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

P. Richard Talley, Dandridge, Tennessee, for the Appellants, Cecilia and Charles Owensby.

Dallas T. Reynolds, III, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellees, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and Darius H. Miller.

Judge: SWINEY

Cecilia and Charles Owensby had a homeowners insurance policy issued by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm"). After their house burned down, the Owensbys filed a claim pursuant to the policy. State Farm eventually denied the claim, asserting that Cecilia Owensby had made four material misrepresentations when applying for the insurance and that each of these misrepresentations increased State Farm's risk of loss. The plaintiffs asserted that any inaccurate information contained on the application was the fault of the insurance agent who filled out the application on Cecilia Owensby's behalf. The plaintiffs sued both State Farm and Darius Miller ("Miller"), the insurance agent. State Farm and Miller filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Trial Court granted. The plaintiffs appeal the grant of summary judgment. We modify the judgment of the Trial Court and, as modified, affirm the grant of summary judgment to the defendants.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/owensbyc_091510.pdf


JOSEPH EDWARD RICH, M.D. v. TENNESSEE BOARD OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Jeffrey B. Levens, Chicago, Illinois, and James C. Bradshaw III, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joseph Edward Rich, M.D.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Sara E. Sedgwick, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners.

Judge: CLEMENT

This is an administrative appeal arising from the suspension of a doctor's medical license by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners. The appellant's medical license was suspended by the Board following its finding that he violated four provisions of the Tennessee Medical Practice Act, three state regulations, and one provision of the United States Code. The violations related to his use of chelation therapy and intravenous hydrogen peroxide therapy, and his use of methadone to treat patients. Following the Board's decision, the appellant filed a petition for judicial review before the chancery court. The chancery court affirmed the decision of the Board. The appellant raises numerous issues on appeal, inter alia, that the Board's decision was arbitrary and capricious and that the Board's decision was not supported by substantial and material evidence. We reverse the finding that Dr. Rich was in violation of subsections (1), (4) and (12) of Tenn. Code Ann. section 63-6-214(b) because the Board did not articulate the applicable standard of care, as required by Tenn. Code Ann. section 63-6-214(g), to demonstrate his violations of that standard. We affirm the chancery court on all other issues including the findings that Dr. Rich violated of subsection (14) of Tenn. Code Ann. section 63-6-214(b), Tenn. Comp. R. and Regs. 0880-2-.14(6)(c), Tenn. Comp. R. and Regs. section 0880-2-.14(6)(e)(3)(ii) and 21 U.S.C.A section 823(g)(1). Due to our reversal of the Board's finding on three of the seven charges against Dr. Rich, we remand this action for the reconsideration of the sanctions against him.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/richj_091510.pdf


MYRNA WHEELOCK, ET AL. v. JESSE THOMAS DOERS, M.D., ET AL.
CORRECTION on pages 1 and 8


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Terry G. Vann, Lenoir City, Tennessee, for the appellants, Myrna Wheelock, Lester Wheelock, and Cortney L. Caldell.

F. Michael Fitzpatrick and Rachel P. Hurt, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Parkwest Medical Center.

Debra A. Thompson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, Jesse Thomas Doers, MD; StatCare Pulmonary Consultants, and StatCare Hospitalist Group.

Judge: MCCLARTY

In this appeal, the plaintiffs contend that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/wheelockm_CORR_091510.pdf


BOBBY REED ALDRIDGE v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

M. Wallace Coleman, Jr., Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Bobby Reed Aldridge.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Clark B. Thornton, Assistant Attorney General; Michael Bottoms, District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Petitioner, Bobby Reed Aldridge, pled guilty to one count of attempted second degree murder and one count of theft over $1000, and the trial court sentenced him to fourteen years in the Department of Correction, to be served consecutively to a three-year sentence the Defendant received in a collateral proceeding for violating his probation. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. The post-conviction court denied relief after a hearing, and the Petitioner now appeals. After a thorough review of the record and applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/aldridgeb_091510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. AULTON CODY BARNES

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert T. Carter, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellant, Aulton Cody Barnes.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brian Clay Johnson, Assistant Attorney General; Dale Potter, District Attorney General, and Lisa Zavogiannis, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

On March 6, 2009, the Warren County Grand Jury indicted Appellant, Aulton Cody Barnes, for indecent exposure. On May 28, 2009, Petitioner entered an open plea to the charge. On September 22, 2009, the trial court entered a judgment sentencing Petitioner to six months with thirty days to be served in incarceration and the remainder to be served on probation. Appellant appeals his sentence arguing that the trial court erred in failing to grant him full probation or, in the alternative, grant him judicial diversion. We have reviewed the record presented on appeal and conclude that the trial court did not err. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/barnesa_091510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BRANDY LEA BIRDWELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Paul J. Walwyn, Madison, Tennessee, for the appellant, Brandy Lea Birdwell.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lindsy Paduch Stempel, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General, and Bret Gunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Brandy Lea Birdwell, was indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury in January of 2008 for first degree felony murder and especially aggravated robbery for her involvement in a shooting at a liquor store. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of the charges. She was sentenced to life in prison for the first degree murder conviction and twenty years for the especially aggravated robbery conviction. The trial court ordered the sentences to run concurrently. Appellant filed an untimely motion for new trial which was denied by the trial court after a hearing. Subsequently, Appellant filed an untimely notice of appeal. This Court waived the timely filing of the notice of appeal. On appeal, Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for both convictions. After a thorough review of the record, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions. Accordingly, the judgments of the trial court are affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/birdwellb_091510.pdf


GARY C. BULLINGTON v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James B. Hawkins, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gary C. Bullington.

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

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Gary C. Bullington, was convicted of driving under the influence ("DUI"), felony evading arrest, driving on a revoked license, and two counts of vehicular assault. State v. Bullington, No. M2005-02227-CCA-R3-CD, 2006 WL 1816325, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, June 27, 2006), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Oct. 30, 2006). Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The post-conviction court initially determined that the petition was not time-barred because Petitioner did not receive notice of the denial of permission to appeal. After a hearing, the post-conviction court determined that counsel was ineffective in two areas but denied post-conviction relief on the basis that Petitioner did not suffer prejudice as a result of the deficiency. Petitioner now appeals the denial of post- conviction relief. After a review of the record, we determine Petitioner has failed to show that he was prejudiced by counsel's actions. Accordingly, the judgment of the post- conviction court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/bullingtong_091510.pdf


TONY E. CANNON, JR. v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

S. Craig Moore, Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Tony E. Cannon, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Charles F. Crawford, Jr., District Attorney General, Ann L. Filer, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Lincoln County jury convicted the Petitioner, Tony E.Cannon, Jr., of attempted second degree murder, aggravated assault, and felony reckless endangerment, and the trial court imposed an effective sentence of twelve years. On direct appeal, this Court affirmed the Petitioner's convictions and sentence. State v. Tony E. Cannon, Jr., No. M2007-00557-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 2448341, at *1 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Nashville, June 18, 2008), no Tenn. R. App. P. 11 application filed. The Petitioner then filed a petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court dismissed the petition. On appeal, the Petitioner contends the post-conviction court erred when it dismissed his petition. After a thorough review of the record and applicable authorities, we affirm the judgment of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/cannont_091510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. HAVIN HAMEED

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. Tennent, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Havin Hameed.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy E. Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Brian K. Holmgren, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCMULLEN

Defendant-Appellant, Havin Hameed, was indicted in the Davidson County Criminal Court for two counts of aggravated child abuse and two counts of aggravated child neglect, Class A felonies, that were associated with leg and wrist fractures sustained by Hameed's ten-month-old daughter from September 1, 2004, to October 1, 2004. Prior to Hameed's indictment, the Davidson County Juvenile Court made a factual finding in a dependent and neglect hearing that there was no clear and convincing evidence that Hameed perpetrated the aforementioned injuries against her daughter. Hameed filed a motion to dismiss the indictment in criminal court, which was denied. The criminal court granted permission for an interlocutory appeal and this court subsequently granted Hameed's application to appeal under Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. On appeal, Hameed argues that the criminal court erred in failing to dismiss her indictment based on the doctrines of collateral estoppel, res judicata, and double jeopardy after identical allegations between the same parties were dismissed following a trial in juvenile court. Upon review, we affirm the judgment of the Davidson County Criminal Court denying Hameed's motion to dismiss her indictment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/hameedh_091510.pdf


JOSHUA JACOBS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Joshua Jacobs, Pro Se, Whiteville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; and Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

On January 17, 2007, Petitioner, Joshua Jacobs, pled guilty in the Warren County Circuit Court to one count of first degree murder, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated rape. On October 7, 2009, the post-conviction court received and filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief for Petitioner. The post-conviction court summarily dismissed the petition as time-barred. On appeal to this Court, Petitioner argues that the post-conviction court erred because applying the statute of limitations to his case is a denial of due process. We have reviewed the record on appeal and find that there is no violation of Petitioner's due process rights in the dismissal of his time-barred petition. Therefore, we affirm the decision of the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/jacobsj_091510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JAMES PARIS JOHNSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Martha J. Yoakum, District Public Defender, and Charles Albert Herman, Senior Assistant Public Defender (at trial), and Kathy Parrott, Jacksboro, Tennessee (on appeal), for the appellant, James Paris Johnson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel West Harmon, Assistant Attorney General; William Paul Phillips, District Attorney General; Michael Olin Ripley, Senior Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Defendant, James Paris Johnson, appeals his convictions by a jury in the Campbell County Criminal Court for aggravated assault, a Class C felony, and public intoxication, a Class C misdemeanor. The Defendant was sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender to twelve years in prison for the aggravated assault and to thirty days' incarceration for the public intoxication, to be served concurrently. The Defendant contends that (1) the evidence is insufficient to sustain his conviction for aggravated assault, (2) the trial court erred by sentencing him as a Range III, persistent offender; and (3) he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. We hold that the trial court erred by sentencing the Defendant as a Range III, persistent offender. We affirm the Defendant's convictions, but we remand the case for resentencing for the aggravated assault conviction.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/johnsonj_091510.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. ROBERT CHARLES TAYLOR

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Kevin R. Askren, Assistant Public Defender, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellant, Robert Charles Taylor.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Mickey Layne, District Attorney General, and Jason Ponder, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Appellant, Robert C. Taylor, was indicted by the Coffee County Grand Jury for aggravated sexual battery. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted as charged and sentenced to twelve years in incarceration. After the denial of a motion for new trial, Appellant sought an appeal. On appeal, the following issues are presented for our review: (1) whether the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction; (2) whether the Appellant was denied the right to a speedy trial; (3) whether Appellant's due process rights were violated by the State's six-year delay in producing laboratory results and loss of evidence. After a review of the record, we determine that Appellant was not denied a speedy trial and that Appellant's due process rights were not violated where there was no prejudice to Appellant. Further, we determine that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/taylorr_091510.pdf


JASON LEE WHITE a/k/a/ JASON BROADNAX v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jason White, Pro Se, Whiteville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; John Carney, District Attorney General, and Steven Garrett, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Jason Lee White, appeals the post-conviction court's dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner pled guilty in September of 1996 to two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of attempted aggravated robbery. As a result, he was sentenced to an effective sentence of twenty-three and one-half years. On May 19, 2008, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief. Petitioner filed a supplemental petition for post-conviction relief on September 8, 2008. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition on September 24, 2008, holding that "Blakely violations do not apply retroactively to cases on collateral appeal." Petitioner then filed a "Motion/petition to Vacate Final Order and Judgment" on April 20, 2009, and a notice of appeal on May 11, 2009. We determine that the petition for post-conviction relief was properly dismissed because it was time-barred and Petitioner failed to show that the statute of limitations should be tolled. Accordingly, the judgment of the post-conviction court is affirmed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/whitej_091510.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Upcoming
Passages
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Legal aid shortfall highlighted
An article in today's Chattanooga Times Free Press explores the legal aid shortfall in the state and the growth in clients who now qualify for free services as part of the "new poor." As the economic crisis lingers, legal aid offices increasingly are seeing clients who once prospered, and are scrambling to find funds and resources to serve as many as possible. The article includes insights from Legal Aid of East Tennessee lawyers Dave Yoder, Russell Fowler and Emily Ahlquist as well as Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder.
Read it here
Federal judges agree to study cameras in court
The nation's federal judges yesterday agreed to a pilot project that could televise some civil trials with the stipulation that cameras would not record the faces of witnesses and jurors, and that either side in a trial could request cameras be removed. A previous pilot project in the early 1990s received generally good reviews, but in 1994, the conference restored its ban on televised proceedings. In 1996, the appeals courts were allowed to decide for themselves whether to allow cameras during oral arguments, but only two have.
Tri-Cities.com has this AP story
Court rejects AG's plan for Fisk collection
Ruling that the plan proposed by the state attorney general does not adequately address Fisk University's long-term needs, Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle rejected the idea that the school's Stieglitz Collection be transferred to the Tennessee Arts Commission. Lyle instead proposed a modified deal that would allow an Arkansas museum to display the collection six months out of the year. Learn more in the Tennessean
Read a more detailed account in the Nashville Post
Law school transparency project gets slow start
The Law School Transparency project's push to collect better data about how well law graduates are doing in the job market has gotten off to a slow start. Despite a Sept. 10 deadline for schools to report more detailed information than previously requested, only 11 have responded -- and several of those declined to provide information citing privacy concerns. The Tennessee-based project, launched in July, was designed to bring more transparency to the career prospects and earning potential of the 199 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association.
Read more on Law.com
In related news, Northwestern University Law School declined to provide detailed salary and job information to the project, saying Forbes magazine may be a better organization to handle the job. While the school said it agreed with the general mission of the project, it suggested that such sensitive information is better collected by a well-established organization.
The ABA Journal reported that development
Firm's task force reviewing financial reform bill
A Miller & Martin PLLC task force charged with reviewing the new financial reform law and evaluating its impact on business clients has shifted its focus from analyzing the law to monitoring proposed regulations that will guide implementation of the new rules. In poring over the law, the group has come to the conclusion that any publicly traded company is going to be impacted by the law. But it could take up to two years for all the regulations to be finalized. The 18-lawyer task force is led by Wayne Hood, who practices in the firm's Nashville office.
Download the story from the Atlanta Business Chronicle
TACDL names new officers
The Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has elected officers for the 2010-2011 year. They are: President Laura C. Dykes with the Davidson County Public Defenders Office in Nashville; President-elect Stephen R. Johnson with Ritchie Dillard & Davies in Knoxville; Secretary Mike Whalen, a solo practioner in Knoxville; Treasurer J. Robin McKinney Jr. with Jackson, Kweller, McKinney, Warden & Hayes in Nashville; and Past President Jerry P. Black with the University of Tennessee Law Clinic in Knoxville.

Upcoming
Equal Justice University coming in September
For attorneys interested in to access to justice issues, the upcoming Equal Justice University (EJU) promises outstanding educational opportunities, substantive law task force meetings, a skills track for newer attorneys, and networking events for all attendees. Sponsored jointly by the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, the EJU will be held Sept. 27-29 at Paris Landing State Park. The annual event was formerly known as the Equal Justice Conference, but it has been renamed to reflect its broader impact for legal aid professionals, pro bono attorneys and community advocates across Tennessee. Other sponsors include BlueCross Blueshield of Tennessee Community Trust and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.
Register for the program or learn more now
Passages
Former DA dead at age 72
Wayne Emmons, former district attorney general for Dyer and Lake counties, died Sept. 10 from complications with pneumonia. He was 72. Emmons earned his law degree from Memphis State University and practiced law for many years in Memphis. While serving as DA from 1978 to 1980, he made a name for himself as the lead prosecutor in the murder of Reelfoot Lake guide Paul Strader. His opponent in the case -- current Lake/Dyer District Attorney General Phil Bivens -- praised Emmons as a lawyer and southern gentleman. In 1997, Emmons also made the news, playing a topless club owner in the John Grisham-inspired movie "The Rainmaker." A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sept. 25 at Memorial Park in Memphis.
The Lake County Banner has more
Disciplinary Actions
Nashville lawyer suspended
On Sept. 3, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Nashville lawyer Reginald Lamont Horton after he pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of cocaine and marijuana, as well as attempted theft of property of over $1,000. The court directed the Board of Professional Responsibility to institute a formal proceeding to determine the extent of final discipline. Horton already was on temporary suspension since April 17, 2009, for offering to provide legal services in exchange for stolen property.
Download the BPR notice
Wilson County lawyer placed on disability
The law license of Wilson County lawyer Wilbert Allen Barrett was transferred to disability inactive status on Sept. 8.
Read more from the BPR
Brentwood lawyer reinstated
Brentwood lawyer W. Ray Culp III was reinstated to the practice of law on Sept. 14 after complying with requirements for continuing legal education. He had been suspended since Sept. 21, 2007.

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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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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