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Posted by: Journal News on Jun 21, 2008

Journal Issue Date: Jul 2008

Journal Name: July 2008 - Vol. 44, No. 7

Study: Sentencing guidelines ease discrimination: According to a study released in May, state sentencing guidelines virtually erase discrimination in criminal punishments, regardless of how much judges are allowed to deviate from recommended terms. The National Center for State Courts, with funding from the National Institute of Justice, examined three different states with sentencing guidelines, and concluded the guidelines result in consistent sentences not generally influenced by race and economic status. The Associated Press reported on the study.

Download a summary of the report via

D.C. Circuit says paper money discriminates against blind: The U.S. currency system discriminates against vision-impaired individuals because paper bills of different denominations are the same size, shape and color, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled May 20. In a local connection, University of Tennessee law professor Otis Stephens is the named plaintiff and has been one of the major forces behind the lawsuit.

Link to the Washington Post story through

$35,000 courthouse grant: The Tennessee Historical Commission has awarded a $35,000 grant to Rhea County for renovations at the courthouse, best known as the location of the famous 1925 Monkey Scopes Trial. Last year during an inspection, a contractor confirmed the structural integrity of the building. Funds will be used to repaint the exterior and repair the roof, windows and bell tower. The Rhea County Herald-News recounts the history of the courthouse. Link to it at

Court clarifies reinstatement after disability inactive status: The Tennessee Supreme Court entered an order May 22 amending Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 9 on disciplinary enforcement to clarify the procedures governing reinstatement of lawyers whose licenses have been transferred to disability inactive status. The change came as a result of a proposal published by the court in June 2007. The TBA had supported the changes in a comment timely filed with the court. Download the order via

American Bar Foundation launches new Web site: The American Bar Foundation has launched a new Web site designed to provide a gateway to the foundation's scholars, findings and publications. The foundation " an independent, nonprofit research institute " promotes itself as the nation's leading organization dedicated to empirical study of the law. Check it out at

E-filing pilot project cancelled: The state Administrative Office of the Courts says that an e-filing pilot project for which it had asked for bids, will now not go forward. The AOC gave two reasons for the cancellation: the fact that only one proposal was submitted and that "the present budgetary situation for the government of the State of Tennessee ... weighs heavily against going forward with the E-filing Pilot Project at this time."

Ceremonies welcome new Tennessee lawyers: The Tennessee Supreme Court welcomed the latest class of attorneys into the practice of law during admission ceremonies in June at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. The Tennessee Bar Association hosted many of the new attorneys and their families at an Open House luncheon in the Tennessee Bar Center after the swearing in. See photos from the events at

100 most creative moments in American law: Calling on as many legal history teachers as he could, a Valparaiso University law school professor has come up with his list of the "100 Most Creative Moments in American Law." Number one: the U.S. Constitution and the ratification debates. View the full list via