Law students waiting out recession unhappy with results

Though the National Association for Law Placement reports that employment for the class of 2009 was 88.3 percent, according to an article on Slate.com, "about a quarter of those jobs were temporary gigs, without the salaries needed by most new lawyers to pay off crushing debts. Another 10 percent were part-time. And thousands of jobs were actually fellowships or grants provided by the new lawyers' law schools." Some law students and recent grads blame the number of new law schools for over-filling the market. And of those who chose law school as a strategy to wait out the recession, some are now arguing that they should get their money back. In fact, one recent grad named his law school in his bankruptcy filing. He asks the school to "[a]dmit that your business knew or should have known that plaintiff would be in no position to repay those loans."

Slate.com explores the issue

TODAY'S OPINIONS
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PRESTIGE LAND COMPANY v. BRIAN MULLINS EXCAVATING CONTRACTORS, INC.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

C. Paul Harrison and Garrett P. Smartwood, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Prestige Land Company.

Richard M. Smith and Craig N. Mangum, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Appellee, Brian Mullins Excavating Contractors, Inc.

Judge: SWINEY

Prestige Land Company ("Developer") owned land upon which it intended to build a commercial shopping center. An estimate to complete the project was obtained. Thereafter, the project was opened up for bidding. Brian Mullins Excavating Contractors, Inc. ("Contractor") bid on the project. Although Contractor's bid was significantly lower than the next lowest bid, it was only 10% lower than the estimated costs of construction. Contractor was unaware that it had made a unilateral mistake in its bid. Contractor was awarded the project. Eventually, Contractor was unable to complete the project because it ran out of money due to its unilateral bidding mistake. Developer sued for breach of contract, and Contractor filed a counterclaim for fraud and other claims. The Trial Court awarded Contractor a judgment for $101,357.05. Finding no clear and convincing evidence of fraud by Developer, we vacate the judgment for Contractor and enter a judgment for Developer in the amount of $128,326.56.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/prestigeland_102910.pdf


SNPCO, INC. d/b/a SALVAGE UNLIMITED v. CITY OF JEFFERSON CITY, ET AL.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Carl R. Ogle, Jr., Jefferson City, Tennessee, for the appellant, SNPCO, Inc.

John T. Batson, Jr., Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellees, City of Jefferson City, Mayor Darrell Helton, Vice Mayor Karen Smith, Councilwoman Ann Cole, Councilman Ray Cain, and Councilman Mark Potts.

Judge: FARMER

The question before this Court is whether the grandfather clause of Tennessee Code Annotated section 13-7-208(b)(1) protects the owner of newly annexed city property from the enforcement of a citywide ordinance prohibiting the sale and storage of fireworks. Interpreting section 13-7-208(b)(1) strictly against the landowner, we hold that the grandfather clause does not apply because the ordinance is not a 'zoning' restriction or regulation, i.e., the ordinance does not regulate the use of property within distinct districts or zones pursuant to a comprehensive zoning plan. Accepting the facts alleged in the landowner's amended complaint as true, the landowner is not entitled to an injunction prohibiting enforcement of the ordinance against its preexisting fireworks business. We accordingly affirm the dismissal of the landowner's amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2010/snpco_102910.pdf


JOHN ANTHONY BAILEY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jerry M. Mosier, Jackson, Tennessee, for the appellant, John Anthony Bailey.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; James G. Woodall, District Attorney General; and Alfred Lynn Earls, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee.

Judge: OGLE

Petitioner John Anthony Bailey filed the present petition for post-conviction relief in 2009 seeking relief from convictions entered in 1995 and 1996. Petitioner acknowledged that his petition was not filed within the one year statute of limitations; however, he asserted that due process required tolling of the statute of limitations. The post-conviction court denied relief. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/baileyj_102910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JACKIE L. DOZIER

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

G. Frank Lannom and Melanie Bean, Lebanon, Tennessee (at trial); and James O. Martin, III, Nashville, Tennessee, and Comer Donnell, Lebanon, Tennessee (on appeal); for the Appellant, Jackie L. Dozier.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Rachel E. Willis, Senior Counsel; Tom P. Thompson, District Attorney General; Tom Swink and Linda Walls, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Macon County jury convicted the Defendant, Jackie L. Dozier, of three counts of sexual battery, three counts of incest, and one count of attempted sexual battery. The trial court imposed a total effective sentence of nine years, ordering the Defendant to serve two years of his sentence in jail and the rest on probation. In this appeal, the Defendant contends the trial court erred when it: (1) denied his Motion for Judgment of Acquittal; (2) imposed consecutive sentencing; and (3) imposed a period of confinement in excess of one year as part of a sentence of split onfinement. After a thorough review of the record and relevant authorities, we conclude the evidence supports the defendant's convictions, but the trial court erred when it sentenced the Defendant. As such, we affirm the defendant's convictions, but we reverse the trial court's imposition of consecutive sentencing and order the Defendant's sentences to be served concurrently.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/dozierj_102910.pdf


JAMES HALL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

James Hall, Only, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Clarence E. Lutz, Assistant Attorney General.

Judge: THOMAS

The Petitioner, James Hall, appeals as of right from the Davidson County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his sentence for his conviction of possession with intent to distribute 0.5 grams of a schedule II controlled substance. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the habeas corpus court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/hallj_102910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. RUSSELL LENOX HAMBLIN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Dumaka Shabazz (on appeal) and Lee Sprouse (at trial), Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Russell Lenox Hamblin.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. (Torry) Johnson, III, District Attorney General; and Pamela Sue Anderson, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee

Judge: WILLIAMS

The defendant, Russell Lenox Hamblin, was convicted of three counts of aggravated robbery and sentenced to ten years for each of the first two convictions and to twelve years for the third conviction. All the sentences were ordered to run consecutively, for a total effective sentence of thirty-two years. On appeal, he argues that: the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions; the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the sale and purchase of automobiles; the trial court abused its discretion in allowing his credibility to be impeached; and he was improperly sentenced. After careful review, we affirm the judgments from the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/hamblinr_102910.pdf


TIMOTHY NEAL JAMES v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

M. Allen Ehmling, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Timothy Neal James.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; L. Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; Sallie Wade Brown, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

Pursuant to a plea agreement, the Petitioner, Timothy Neal James, pled guilty to two counts of rape of a child and one count of incest, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of twenty-five years in the Tennessee Department of Correction. The Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief, which the post-conviction court denied after a hearing. On appeal, the Petitioner contends that he received the ineffective assistance of counsel and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered. 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/jamest_102910.pdf


STEVEN RAY KENNEDY v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Steven Ray Kennedy, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; William L. Gibbons, District Attorney General; and Rachel Newton, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The pro se petitioner, Steven Ray Kennedy, appeals the post-conviction court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief. He argues that the court should have given him fifteen days to file an amended petition that conformed to the statutory requirements or appointed counsel to assist in presenting his claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and unknowing and involuntary guilty plea. After review, we affirm the summary dismissal of the petition by the post-conviction court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/kennedys_102910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JASON E. MCLEAN

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Bruce E. Poston, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jason E. McLean.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Leslie E. Price, Assistant Attorney General; Randall E. Nichols, District Attorney General; and William Crabtree and TaKisha Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

Appellant, Jason E. McLean, was charged with first degree murder after he shot and killed eighteen-year-old Sean Powell. At trial, the jury found Appellant not guilty of first degree murder but guilty of reckless homicide, a lesser-included offense. The trial court denied Appellant's request for judicial diversion and sentenced him to the four-year maximum sentence. It then suspended all but ninety days and ordered Appellant to serve eleven years and two-hundred and seventy-five days on probation. On appeal, Appellant contends the trial court erred in: (1) denying judicial diversion; (2) sentencing Appellant to the maximum sentence in the applicable range; and (3) ordering a lengthy probationary period. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/mcleanj_102910.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. CLAUDE DAVID MERRITT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Claude David Merritt.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; Charles Crawford, District Attorney General; and Michael D. Randles, Assistant District Attorney, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WELLES

The Defendant, Claude David Merritt, entered an "open" guilty plea to one count of aggravated vehicular homicide, a Class A felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. section 39-13-218(d). The trial court sentenced him as a Range II, multiple offender to forty years in the Department of Correction. In this appeal, the Defendant asserts that his sentence is excessive. After a review of the record, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/merrittc_102910.pdf


TRAVIS R. MORRIS v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Robert S. Peters, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellant, Travis R. Morris.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Matthew Bryant Haskell, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and James Pope, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Travis R. Morris, appeals the Rhea County Circuit Court's denial of post-conviction relief from his conviction for sexual exploitation of a minor, a Class B felony, for which he received a ten-year sentence to be served as fifteen years of probation as a Range I offender. See T.C.A. section 39-17-1003 (2006). The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred in failing to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law, that he did not receive the effective assistance of counsel in connection with his guilty plea, and that his guilty plea was not knowingly and voluntarily entered because he was mentally impaired by the effects of a prescription drug. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/morrist_102910.pdf


YOUNG BOK SONG v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Young Bok Song, Pro se, Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michael E. Moore, Solicitor General; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson, III, District Attorney General; Rachel Sobrero, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WEDEMEYER

A Davidson County jury convicted the Petitioner, Young Bok Song, of seven counts of rape of a child and four counts of aggravated sexual battery, and the trial court sentenced him to serve sixty-five years at 100%. The Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of error coram nobis, which the trial court dismissed. On appeal, the Petitioner raises a number of issues related to the trial court's determination that he was not entitled to relief based upon newly discovered evidence. After a thorough review of the record and the applicable authorities, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2010/songy_102910.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Celebrate Pro Bono
Court of the Judiciary
Disciplinary Actions
Career Opportunities
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Sumner County lawyers remembered; Neal visitation today, service Saturday
In a guest column today, Nashville lawyer Charles Bone remembers two lawyers with Sumner County roots -- Jim Neal and Bill Willis. He writes, "I was blessed by their willingness to befriend and mentor me as a person, and I know I am only one of many lawyers today who will always remember [them] as heroes of our profession and our community."

Neal died last Friday. Visitation is at Westminster Presbyterian Church today (Oct. 29) from 4 to 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held in the Westminster sanctuary on Saturday at 11 a.m. The church is located at 3900 West End Ave., Nashville 37205.
Read the opinion piece in the Tennessean
Spittin' image: Courthouse features original cuspidor
A dedication ceremony was held for a brass cuspidor -- that's right, a lowly spittoon -- at the Shelby County Courthouse on Thursday. The 100-year-old relic was unveiled and placed on display in a glass case in the renovated building's south hall. Found during a renovation more than 50 years ago and recently returned, it was one of the original items placed in the building. You, too, can see the spotlit spittoon. Free public walking tours of the courthouse will be at noon every third Thursday of the month. Guests will learn about the construction and architecture of the building as well as notable trials that have taken place there.
See it in the Commercial Appeal
Memphis prosecutors recognized for trafficking case
Federal prosecutors Jonathan Skrmetti and Stephen Parker received the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service yesterday for their work breaking up an international child sex-trafficking ring with ties to Memphis. The two were honored for their contributions to Operation Latina Libre, an investigation into the organized smuggling of young girls from Mexico who were forced to work in several brothels in the Memphis area.
Read about the case in the Commercial Appeal
Appeals court rules against felons in voting case
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a Tennessee law blocking felons from voting if they owe child support or restitution does not violate the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions.
Download the 6th Circuit opinion
Celebrate Pro Bono
Saturday Bar in Maryville tomorrow
The Maryville Saturday Bar will be 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 30, at New Hope Blount County Children's Advocacy Center, 212 Cates Street, Maryville 37801. At Saturday Bar, law students meet with real clients and collect intake information, then relay this information and the client's issues to an attorney who will advise the client. The event is sponsored by the University of Tennessee College of Law and Legal Aid of East Tennessee. For more information, contact Jackson Miles Fenner at (865) 300-9936.

2 legal advice clinics set for Saturday in East Tennessee
Legal Advice Clinics will be held on Saturday in Chattanooga and Knoxville. In Chattanooga, the Pro Bono Committee of the Chattanooga Bar Association, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, the Veterans Administration and La Paz de Dios will host a clinic from 8 a.m. until noon at the Brainerd Recreation Center at 1010 North Moore Road. Issues to be addressed are veteran's benefits, wills, debt relief, family law, immigration, bankruptcy and landlord/tenant. Contact Rachel Fisher or Maeghan Jones.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee will also host a clinic at the Knox County Public Defender's Office, 1101 Liberty St., Knoxville 37919, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be staff available to assist Spanish-speaking clients. Contact Terry Woods for more information.
See all the events of Celebrate Pro Bono Month
Firm and attorneys honored for pro bono efforts
Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC was recognized for pro bono efforts at the Legal Aid of East Tennessee (LAET) annual Pro Bono Awards Banquet on Oct. 14. The firm was named the 2010 LAET North Law Firm of the Year for providing the most pro bono hours of any law firm. Baker Donelson attorney Christie M. Hayes was named an Honor Roll Recipient for providing the most pro bono work of any attorney in the LAET North. Matthew Bolton with Herndon, Coleman, Brading and McKee accepted the pro bono honor for the Washington County Bar.
Read more from Baker Donelson
Court of the Judiciary
Senate committee wraps up review of discipline process
Of 344 complaints leveled against Tennessee judges last year, only one resulted in a public reprimand, according to the the Court of the Judiciary's most recent annual report. A Senate committee, which was appointed to study the court, finished its review yesterday. The group wants more of the disciplinary panel's work made public -- and Sen. DeWayne Bunch wants to see the Tennessee Bar Association stripped of its power to appoint three attorneys to the body. Rutherford County Judge Don Ash, presiding Judge of the Court of the Judiciary, said he is open to changes and will be proactive in proposing some of his own. Not providing specifics, Ash said he has asked the Court of the Judiciary's members to convene in the near future to consider changes.
Read more about it in the Tennessean
Disciplinary Actions
Knoxville lawyer reinstated
On Oct. 22, the Supreme Court of Tennessee issued an order reinstating Knoxville lawyer Bruce E. Poston to the practice of law. He was temporarily suspended from the practice of law by Order of the Supreme Court on Sept. 21, for failing to respond to a complaint of misconduct.
Download the BPR release
Madison County lawyer censured
On Oc. 22 Madison County lawyer Elizabeth G. Ford received a public censure from the Board of Professional Responsibility for commingling attorney funds with client funds in violation of RPC 1.15(a).
Download the BPR release
Career Opportunities
Intern needed in Memphis area for TJC
The Tennessee Justice Center is looking for an undergraduate or graduate student to serve as an outreach intern in Memphis. The intern will represent TJC at local health fairs and other outreach events, distribute TJC flyers and materials throughout the Memphis area, and be mentored by a local legal advocate. This position will require a monthly commitment of 16-20 hours per month for the spring 2011 semester. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, November 19
Find out the details from the TJC
TBA Member Services
Follow us!
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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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