New resources to learn about changes to ethics rules

If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming changes to the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct, visit the Ethics page on the Tennessee Bar Association's web site. There you will find complete copies of the newly amended rules, the orders adopting and amending the rules for the Tennessee Supreme Court, and redlined versions of the revisions, comparing them to the prior Tennessee rules and to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. In addition, watch for the November edition of the Tennessee Bar Journal -- coming out next week -- with an article on the amendments from ethics expert and Memphis attorney Lucian Pera. Also coming is a statewide series of six CLE programs from Memphis attorney Brian Faughnan, who chaired the TBA Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee that worked to develop the new amendments.

Learn more about the newly amended ethics rules

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.

01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
01 - TN Court of Appeals
05 - 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: TSC


Court: TCA


Amanda K. Strange, Memphis, Tennessee for the Plaintiff/Appellant, Stephen Ball.

Darryl D. Gresham and Harry W. Lebair IV, Memphis, Tennessee, for the Defendant/Appellee, Theodore Shockley.

Judge: KIRBY

This is an appeal from the denial of a Rule 60.02 motion. The plaintiff sued the defendant for injuries arising out of a car accident. Several months later, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The motion was not opposed, and was granted. The plaintiff later retained new counsel and filed a motion for relief pursuant to Rule 60.02 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. The trial court denied the plaintiff's motion for relief, commenting that even if the order were set aside, it would nevertheless grant the motion. The plaintiff now appeals. We affirm, finding no abuse of discretion by the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Angela J. Hopson, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ricky Awatt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Cameron L. Hyder, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred Lynn Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

A jury convicted the petitioner, Ricky Awatt, of first degree premeditated murder. The trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On direct appeal, this court upheld the conviction. The Tennessee Supreme Court subsequently denied a discretionary appeal. The petitioner now appeals the judgment of the Madison County Circuit Court dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief. Specifically, the petitioner argues that, although the statute of limitations for post-conviction relief has passed, the statute of limitations should be tolled, allowing him to proceed with his petition. After review, we affirm the judgment denying post-conviction relief.


Court: TCCA


Clifford K. McGown, Jr. (on appeal), Waverly, Tennessee; George Morton Googe (on appeal), District Public Defender; Kandi Collins (on appeal and at trial) and Susan D. Kornes (at trial), Assistant Public Defenders, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anthony Bernard Farr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Jody S. Pickens, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: MCLIN

The defendant, Anthony Bernard Farr, stands convicted of (1) possession with intent to sell .5 grams or more of cocaine, a Class B felony; (2) resisting a stop and frisk, a Class B misdemeanor; and (3) criminal impersonation, a Class B misdemeanor. The trial court sentenced the defendant as a Range II, multiple offender to a total effective sentence of eighteen years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction for possession with intent to sell cocaine and that his sentence was excessive. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.


Court: TCCA


Tommy F. Poe, Tiptonville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; and Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel,for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Tommy F. Poe, appeals the Lake County Circuit Court's summary dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the sentences he negotiated in exchange for his guilty pleas to aggravated kidnapping are illegal because they were ordered to be served at 35% release eligibility instead of the 100% required by law. Following our review, we affirm the habeas court's dismissal of the petition.


Court: TCCA


Louis T. Robinson, Whiteville, 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: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Louis T. Robinson, appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the court erred by summarily dismissing the petition without appointing counsel or issuing any findings of fact. Following our review, we affirm the habeas court's summary dismissal of the petition.


Court: TCCA


June Ganguli and Ruchee J. Patel, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Steven D. Skinner.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Deshea Dulany Faughn, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and David Zak, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.


The petitioner, Steven D. Skinner, appeals the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.On appeal, he argues that counsel's representation was ineffective because counsel failed to investigate and prepare for his case. After careful review, we affirm the judgment from the post-conviction court.


Legal News
Tenn. Supreme Court
Election 2010
Celebrate Pro Bono
Court of the Judiciary
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Services set for Neal
The family of Jim Neal has announced that visitation will take place in the parlor of Westminster Presbyterian Church on Friday, Oct. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held in the Westminster sanctuary on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 11 a.m. The church is located at 3900 West End Ave., Nashville 37205. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Tennessee State Museum Foundation, Jim Neal Memorial Fund, 505 Deadrick Street, Nashville 37243 or Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity.

Mid-century black rape victims deserve apology, paper says
Rape was used as a tool to reinforce the belief in white supremacy and to enforce Jim Crow segregation, a story in the Commercial Appeal says. Many black women were attacked by white men but courts and juries often did not convict, or even try, these cases. There were mid-20th century efforts by civil rights activist Rosa Parks and others to seek justice for these women, but eventually the focus shifted to the larger civil rights issues. An editorial admits a formal government apology wouldn't change things but says it would be a start.
Read the editorial
Wilson is new Shelby judicial commissioner
The Shelby County Commission picked former General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Lee Wilson today among eight candidates to become the county's newest judicial commissioner. Wilson, who lost his judgeship in the August election, won eight votes in the first round of voting, more than the seven required to receive the nomination. Steven D. Townsdin, a hearing officer for the Tennessee Department of Human Services, received three votes. Carlyn L. Addison, an assistant Shelby County public defender, received one vote.
Read more in the Commercial Appeal
Barrett firm splits
The Nashville law firm headed by veteran civil rights advocate George Barrett has divided into two firms. Barrett Johnston LLC and D. Scott Parsley & Associates are the successors to the former Barrett, Johnston & Parsley. Both firms still operate from the same offices at 217 Second Ave., North.
Read the details in
Tenn. Supreme Court
Court grants review in four new cases
The Raybin Perky Tennessee Supreme Court Hot List reviews four new cases in which the court has just granted review. These include supplementing the record on appeal, retaliatory discharge (two cases) and committing kidnapping during a robbery.
Read the Hot List
Election 2010
Shelby election error was 'honest mistake'
An error made by a Shelby County Election Commission official during the August election was an "honest mistake," and one that was earnestly addressed and remedied as quickly as possible once discovered, the Shelby County District Attorney General announced today.
The Commercial Appeal has more
Celebrate Pro Bono
Immigration clinic, volunteer reception set in Memphis
An Immigration Intake Clinic and Volunteers Reception will be held Wednesday, Oct. 27, from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. at the Community Legal Center, 910 Vance Ave, Memphis TN 38126. For more information, contact Alicia Triche at

Court of the Judiciary
Paper observes tardiness during Dumas's probation
Davidson County General Sessions Judge Gloria Dumas was cleared of tardiness charges on Oct. 15 after Retired Metro General Sessions Judge John Brown certified to the Court of the Judiciary that she had convened court in a timely manner during a 90-day probation period. Brown says although he was in the building and interviewed coworkers, he was not in her courtroom. "I wasn't standing there with a stopwatch or anything, but just general observation," he says. In conducting a study of its own, The Tennessean found that during the probationary period, Dumas began court 11 out of 13 times at least one hour late, and "one time more than three hours late."
The Tennessean has this story
'Order of Protection Day' to highlight domestic violence
The Fourth Circuit Court for Knox County will hold Order of Protection Day on Oct. 28 at the UT College of Law. This is the seventh consecutive year the College of Law has hosted Order of Protection Day, an effort to raise awareness about domestic violence. Court will begin with a lecture by Judge Bill Swann
UT's Informant has more information
'Bonfire of the Vanities' judge dies
Burton B. Roberts, the outspoken judge who was the model for the cranky jurist in Tom Wolfe's novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, has died. He was 88. Both the real and the fictional judges were famous for their tempers and rants from the bench. But Roberts was also greatly admired for his compassion, his sense of justice and his legal acumen. "He's one of the great figures in New York," Wolfe has said of Roberts, to whom Bonfire is dedicated. "Probably the greatest single figure I've run into."
NewsChannel9 carried this AP story
A story in Friday's edition incorrectly identified former Shelby County Probate Court Clerk Chris Thomas as an attorney. Thomas is not licensed to practice law in Tennessee.

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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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