Memphis Bar launches public education campaign

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) this week launched a major public educational campaign on the importance of the rule of law and an independent judiciary. MBA President and Apperson Crump lawyer Gary Smith -- along with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz lawyer Tommy Parker and Burch, Porter & Johnson lawyer Porter Field -- have developed a program called "Law Rules: The Importance of the American Legal System." Over the coming months, MBA members will receive training and be sent out to speak to schools, churches, business groups, political organizations and civic entities. The program's creators say the MBA's goal is to complete 200 speaking engagements this year. To learn more about the program or to get involved contact MBA Executive Director Anne Fritz at or (901) 527-3573, or visit the program's website.

The Memphis Daily News also provides an overview

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Court: TCA


Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Joseph F. Whalen, Associate Solicitor General and Warren A. Jasper, Senior Counsel, for the appellant, State of Tennessee.

Donald N. Capparella and Amy J. Farrar, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert Sadler Bailey.


This appeal arises from an action for criminal contempt. The trial court granted Defendant's motion upon determining Defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated. The State appeals. We affirm.


Court: TCCA


J. Liddell Kirk, Knoxville, Tennessee for the appellant, Charles Edward Graham.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; and Randell E. Nichols, District Attorney General, and TaKisha M. Fitzgerald, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

A Knox County jury convicted Petitioner, Charles Edward Graham, of reckless aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, possession of marijuana, and failure to provide proof of financial responsibility, and the trial court sentenced him to an effective sentence of twenty-seven years. State v. Charles Edward Graham, No. E2005-02937-CCA-R3-CD, 2008 WL 199851, at *1, *4 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Knoxville, Jan. 24, 2008), perm. app. denied, (Tenn. Sep. 15, 2008). Petitioner was unsuccessful on appeal to this Court. Id. at *1. Petitioner subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief arguing that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance of counsel. After a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the petition. Petitioner now appeals this denial. We determine that the post-conviction court's denial was proper because trial counsel did not coerce or unduly influence Petitioner with regard to his decision not to testify at trial; trial counsel was employing a reasonable trial tactic by not requesting jury instructions on any lesser included offenses; and trial counsel was not deficient with regard to attempting to obtain a plea bargain. Therefore, we affirm the denial of the petition.


Court: TCCA


Mike Settle, Pro Se, Wartburg, Tennessee.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; John H. Bledsoe, Senior Counsel; and Russell Johnson, District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: SMITH

Petitioner, Mike Settle, appeals the habeas corpus court's dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus relief in which he claimed that he was entitled to habeas corpus relief because his plea agreement and sentences for crimes committed in 1999 in Madison County are void because his sentence for escape was ordered to be served concurrently to a federal sentence in violation of Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(c)(3). Petitioner failed to follow the mandatory procedural requirements for the valid filing of a petition for the writ of habeas corpus. Therefore, we affirm the judgment dismissing the habeas petition.


Election 2012
Legal News
Disciplinary Actions
TBA Member Services

Election 2012
Sen. Haynes to retire
State Sen. Joe Haynes, D-Nashville, has decided to retire rather than seek re-election this fall, ending a 28-year Senate run. Haynes, 75, said the newly redrawn district by Republicans wasn't necessarily a factor in his decision. In a two-page statement, he said his "family, a huge stack of unread books and a little-used fishing boat demand my attention now."
The News Sentinel has more
Mayfield to join race for 3rd Congressional District
Scottie Mayfield, the president of the dairy company that bears his name, said he'll challenge U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in the 3rd Congressional District GOP primary. Mayfield, 61, joins a crowded Republican field looking to unseat Fleischmann. The other GOP challengers are businessman Ron Bhalla, political science professor Jean Howard-Hill and businessman Weston Wamp, the 24-year-old son of former congressman Zach Wamp.
The Times Free Press reports
Legal News
ABA considers new judicial campaign contribution rules
A public hearing was held today at the American Bar Association's (ABA) Midyear Meeting in New Orleans to discuss proposed amendments to the ABA's Model Code of Judicial Conduct. Questions raised included whether law firms have to report judicial campaign contributions by their lawyers and staffers; if information about non-financial support, such as endorsements, should be reported; and whether judges should use that information to decide whether to recuse themselves. Paula Frederick, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Professional Discipline, said the proposals are "very much a working draft" and revisions will be discussed in the coming months.
The ABA Journal has more
Baumgartner retrial must have special prosecutor
Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz today said she had no choice but to call in special prosecutors to handle the case of a convicted rapist whose first trial was presided over by former judge Richard Baumgartner. Leibowitz said District Attorney General Randy Nichols could not prosecute the case because he and several of his staff members were witnesses in the probe that led to Baumgartner's downfall. The decision could have far-reaching consequences, particularly if the state continues to refuse to stipulate the contents of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation file on Baumgartner as evidence. It would mean that special prosecutors would be needed to handle any defendant's challenge of his or her conviction or sentence based on Baumgartner's misdeeds.
The News Sentinel reports
Rep. John Lewis celebrates Dr. King legacy in Nashville
To honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis spoke to more than 300 people Jan. 13, including original members of the Freedom Riders and participants from the Nashville sit-in movement, as well as attorneys, public officials and community leaders. Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis sponsored the event where the firm's Diversity Endowed Scholarship chair John C. Tishler awarded its scholarship to Meesha Kaw. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student at the University of Tennessee College of Law whose life has been guided by the examples of Dr. King. In his speech, Lewis recalled his years in Nashville, attending Fisk University and being trained in non-violence. Through the sit-ins, he said "this city transformed a nation." See pictures and listen to the speech. Before the lunch, Rep. Lewis met with middle school students who were selected based on essays they submitted after studying the Civil Rights Movement.
The Tennessean has more
Haslam urges mandatory jail for domestic violence
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is calling for mandatory jail time for people convicted of repeated domestic violence crimes. "You're talking about $8.7 to $9 million dollars extra money, and the overcrowding situation," says Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal. "it's going to be very difficult for us to handle it." But Lynn Armstrong sees those victims daily and she believes that in the long run, mandatory jail time will save the state money.
Drug court adds programs for addicted mothers
The Shelby County Drug Court is expanding to begin treating drug-addicted mothers and offering them a chance to become drug free and possibly reunited with their drug-addicted newborns. Called "Born Addicted," the pilot program will suspend criminal prosecution of the women's drug charges while they participate in an 18-month treatment program involving substance-abuse counseling, monitoring and education.
The Commercial Appeal reports
Clark speaks to Greene County Drug Court graduates
Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark was the keynote speaker at the Greene County Drug Court Graduation ceremony in January. Clark, General Sessions Judge Kenneth Bailey and others were there to celebrate the accomplishments of the drug court graduates.
Watch a video of Chief Justice Clark's remarks
Napier Looby to hold annual banquet Feb. 16
The Napier Looby Bar Foundation will hold its 8th Annual Banquet and Awards program on Feb. 16 at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Nashville. The event will feature a keynote address by former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Dennis Archer and a special presentation by the Tennessee State University Forensics Team.
Get details and buy tickets
Disciplinary Actions
Memphis lawyer disbarred a second time
On Jan. 31, King Bethel Harris III of Memphis was disbarred by the Tennessee Supreme Court. He was previously disbarred on Jan. 19 in relation to another disciplinary matter. A hearing panel determined that Harris was involved with a business known as GreenCredit Law Center, which was engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in California. His actions violate the following Rules of Professional Conduct: 1.15(a) and (c), Safekeeping Property; 5.5, Unauthorized Practice of Law; 5.7, Responsibilities Regarding Law Related Services; and 8.1, Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters.
Download the BPR's release
Knoxville lawyer suspended
On Jan. 30, the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Knoxville lawyer Kymberly Lynn Anne Haas for one year. A hearing panel found she represented a client in General Sessions Court and signed and made bond for the client in violation of a state statue prohibiting an attorney from such conduct. Her actions violated Rules of Professional Conduct 8.1 (Disciplinary Matters) and 8.4 (Misconduct).
Download the BPR release
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