Larry Dean Wilks Member Services Center to be dedicated

The Tennessee Legal Community Foundation will dedicate the Larry Dean Wilks Member Services Center a week from Friday at the Tennessee Bar Center during the TBA's Annual Leadership Conference. Following the untimely death of the former president of the TBA, colleagues who served with Wilks gave more than $10,000 to refurbish, enhance and dedicate the space. Wilks' theme when he was president was "Serving Every Lawyer, Every Day." The dedication will take place at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, on the second floor of the Tennessee Bar Center. All are welcome.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
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01 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
03 - TN Court of Appeals
03 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR
00 - TN Supreme Court - Disciplinary Orders

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SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2012/certlist010312.pdf


IN RE BILLY D. H.

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Kevin D. Poore, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jerus H. N.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Michelle N. Safer, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: DINKINS

Mother's parental rights to her son were terminated on grounds that she was mentally incompetent to provide for the child and that the conditions which led to the child's removal from Mother's custody persisted. She appeals, contending that the grounds are not supported by the evidence and that termination of her rights was not in the best interest of the child. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2012/billydh_010312.pdf


IN RE: CONSERVATORSHIP OF JOHN DANIEL TATE

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Michael G. Hoskins, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, John D. Tate.

Paul T. Housch, for the appellee, David E. Tate.

Judge: CLEMENT

This is the second appeal arising from a disputed "temporary" conservatorship. Three issues are presented: whether the evidence clearly and convincingly established that the respondent was a disabled person in need of the protection and supervision of the court; which party is responsible for the costs of the proceedings under Tennessee Code Annotated section 34-1-114(a); and which party is responsible for discretionary costs under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.04(2). The petitioner was appointed "Temporary Conservator" and served in this fiduciary capacity for thirty-one months until June of 2010, at which time the trial court terminated the conservatorship upon the finding that the respondent was no longer a "disabled person" as that term is defined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 34-1-101(7). Over the objection of the ward, the trial court assessed the costs of the conservatorship against the respondent pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 34-1-114(a) because a "fiduciary" was appointed, and discretionary costs pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.04(2) upon the finding that the petitioner was the "prevailing party." The respondent contends this was error because the conservator was merely appointed the "temporary conservator" and the petition to create the conservatorship was ultimately dismissed. We find the evidence presented to the trial court on November 14, 2007, clearly and convincingly established that the respondent was a disabled person in need of a conservator of his person and property; we find no error with the trial court's conclusion that the petitioner was entitled to recover the costs of the proceedings pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 34-1-114(a) because a conservator was appointed; and we find the trial court did not abuse its discretion in assessing discretionary costs against the respondent under Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 54.04(2). Thus, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2012/tatej_010312.pdf


JAMES WATRY v. ALLSTATE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION
CORRECTIONS on page one (1) of opinion, within the case style, spelling of "CASUALTY" has been corrected; the first name of counsel for appellee has been corrected to "Alan" Sowell.


Court: TCA

Attorneys:

Robert L. Whitaker, Brentwood, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Watry.

Alan Sowell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Allstate Property and Casualty Company, an Illinois Corporation.

Judge: COTTRELL

Insured was injured by an automobile driven by an uninsured motorist. Insured filed a claim with Insurer seeking uninsured motorist coverage benefits and settled for an amount that was less than his actual damages. Insured then sued Insurer seeking damages for fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and violation of the Tennessee Consumer Act. Insurer filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings which the trial court granted. We affirm the trial court's judgment because Insured failed to allege sufficient facts to support any of his causes of action.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2012/watryk_COR_010312.pdf


TOM PERRY BELL v. STATE OF TENNESSEE

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Tom Perry Bell, Whiteville, Tennessee, Pro Se.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Lacy Wilber, Assistant Attorney General; and William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: TIPTON

The Petitioner, Tom Perry Bell, appeals the Hamilton County Criminal Court's summary dismissal of his petition for post-conviction relief from his 1979 convictions for two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct and petition for post-conviction relief from his 1984 conviction for attempt to commit a felony. The trial court summarily dismissed both petitions as untimely. The Petitioner contends that the trial court erred by dismissing his petitions without an evidentiary hearing and the appointment of counsel. The Petitioner also contends that the original trial court erred by failing to advise him of his constitutional right against self-incrimination. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2012/bellt_010312.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. SHERRI A. ELLIOTT

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee (on appeal); and Mack Garner, District Public Defender (at hearing), for the appellant, Sherri A. Elliott.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Assistant Attorney General; Michael L. Flynn, District Attorney General; and Matthew Dunn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: GLENN

The defendant, Sherri A. Elliott, appeals the trial court's revocation of her probation. On appeal, she argues that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering her to serve eight months of split confinement. After review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2012/elliots_010312.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. JEREME DANNUEL LITTLE
With Dissenting Opinion


Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeffery S. Schaarschmidt, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Appellant, Jereme Dannuel Little.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Renee W. Turner, Assistant Attorney General; William H. Cox, III, District Attorney General; and Boyd M. Patterson, Jr., Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

A Hamilton County grand jury charged the defendant, Jereme Dannuel Little, in case number 253372, with two counts of aggravated robbery, see T.C.A. section 39-13-402 (2006), and, in case number 253374, with one count of especially aggravated kidnapping, see id. section 39-13-305. At the close of proof at trial, the trial court granted the defendant's motion for judgments of acquittal on the two aggravated robbery counts. The jury, however, convicted the defendant of especially aggravated kidnapping, and the trial court imposed a sentence of 18 years' incarceration in the Tennessee Department of Correction. On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court erred by (1) failing to inform the jury regarding the judgments of acquittal of the aggravated robberies; (2) failing to instruct the jury regarding corroboration of accomplice testimony; (3) instructing the jury regarding criminal responsibility for the conduct of another; (4) prohibiting counsel from "putting into evidence or mentioning" during closing argument that the defendant had been acquitted of the two counts of aggravated robbery; and (5) allowing the district attorney to argue at closing that the defendant had committed the aggravated robbery offenses, as relevant to motive for the especially aggravated kidnapping charge. Additionally, the defendant contends that the cumulative effect of the trial court's errors denied him a fair trial. Discerning no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2012/littlej_010312.pdf

MCMULLEN dissenting
http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2012/littlej_DIS_010312.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Congressional News
General Assembly News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
ABA files response to law school suit
The American Bar Association today responded to a complaint filed by Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law, saying the school was not in "substantial compliance" with all of the its Standards for Approval of Law Schools. The Knoxville school had filed suit in federal court against the ABA after the ABA denied the school accreditation.
Read more from the ABA
Editorial: LMU suit against ABA is 'right on!'
In an editorial, the News Sentinel commends Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law for suing the American Bar Association. The paper calls the move "gutsy," in fact. LMU has gone to federal court to accuse the ABA of antitrust violations because the organization refused to accredit the university's new law school.
Read the editorial
Editorial: Petitions don't influence court decisions
An editorial in the Mountain Press reminds readers that a petition, even if it's signed by more than 16,000 people, is not the way to change a judge's decision to retry those convicted in the 2007 rape, kidnapping, carjacking and killing of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. "Our court system cannot operate the way it is supposed to if people think that overwhelming public opinion and sentiment can sway the legal system. If the public can influence judges by letters, petitions and emails to act a certain way, then we can just hold elections to decide who's innocent and guilty," the paper writes. If the appeals court says Judge Blackwood is right, the paper suggests readers "direct your animus to the man responsible for this legal fiasco," former judge Richard Baumgartner.
Read the editorial
U.S. Attorney's office going after West Tennessee gangs
Edward Stanton, U.S. attorney for West Tennessee, said in an interview that his office is working on forming a federal unit to fight gangs, to go along with an existing task force on organized crime and drug traffickers. The new gang unit will involve law enforcement agencies from the local, state and federal level and should be up and running in 2012, he said.
Read more in the Jackson Sun
Report: Roberts confident of ethics procedures
Chief Justice John Roberts expressed "complete confidence" Saturday in his Supreme Court colleagues to fairly decide whether to remove themselves from hot-button cases such as health care reform -- a timely election-year issue that has created a judicial and political headache for the nine-member court, CNN reports. Roberts made his comments in his annual Year-End Report, issued as part of his role as head of the entire federal judiciary.
The Blog of Legal Times studies it
Voter ID law is law until determined otherwise
Nashville attorneys are putting together a lawsuit that could challenge Tennessee's new voter identification law unless legislators reconsider when they convene Jan. 10. But the state's top election official, Mark Goins, and the law's main backer in the legislature, state Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville, say they do not expect any changes to the measure. They say they are more worried that the lawsuits will confuse voters about the status of the law. "Just because someone or the Department of Justice is looking at it, that doesn't mean that it's not going to be law in Tennessee," Goins said.
Read more in the Tennessean
Shelby commission misses deadline to redistrict
Shelby County commissioners missed the Dec. 31 deadline to approve a new district map for use in the 2014 elections. Legal action still is possible, and commissioners are likely to continue debating the matter at a committee meeting Wednesday. Commissioners had debated the matter for weeks but were deadlocked at their last meeting Dec. 19.
the Commercial Appeal reports
California chief justice says death penalty not working, too pricey
California's new chief justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, told a reporter that she had come to question the death penalty not because she thought it immoral for the state to take a life, and not even because she thought it might be administered to those who were in truth not guilty, but because it's too expensive and ineffective. "I don't think it is working," the Republican appointee said.
The Daily News Journal has this column
Congressional News
Fincher's first year
"Sometimes it's easy to get bogged down and lose sight of what's important," Congressman Stephen Fincher says of his service in Washington. In this article, he reflects on his first year on the job.
NW Tennessee Today has it
General Assembly News
'Turf battles' sure bet for lawmakers, courts
Across the country, 2011 saw more efforts to remove judges than any other year in recent history, according to Bill Raftery of the National Center for State Courts. In all but two instances, impeachment was sought because lawmakers didn't like judges' decisions, according to Raftery. And the animosity doesn't stop there. In Tennessee, legislators passed two bills that told judges to ignore state Supreme Court rulings. "There is a concern that this legislature is ignoring the constitutional limits on its powers," says Nashville attorney Mark Chalos. But Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah and a sponsor of both bills, said there's nothing wrong with overruling the Tennessee Supreme Court "if the judicial branch does something that is contrary to the will of the people."
The Tennessean has the story
Take a look at upcoming legislative session
State lawmakers return to Nashville in the new year for what The City Paper says is shaping up to be a "play-it-safe session."
Read the story
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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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