April 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 4

Ask the TBA Membership Maven

Dear Maven,

What’s going on at TBA? You seem to be running around and out of breath a lot lately. Are you training for a marathon? Is there something I should know about?


Dear Mr. C.,

I am a little frantic this time of year!

Spring is in the air and April is the month for renewal, rebirth and rejuvenation. There are blooms and buds all over the place.

There’s also pollen in the air. And, tax day. Ugh! But, let’s focus on the positives.

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Presidential Debates, Then and Now

The first televised presidential debate occurred in 1960, as Vice President Richard Nixon took on Senator John F. Kennedy. Kennedy won the debate by a whisker. Literally, Nixon’s. Nixon forgot to shave before the debate and appeared before millions of voters with a heavy five o’clock shadow. He bore an unfortunate resemblance to Yasser Arafat.

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Tennessee’s only full-time ABFDE-certified full-time document examiner. Formerly with U.S. Postal Inspection Service Crime Laboratory. Certified by American Board of Forensic Document Examiners. American Society of Questioned Document Examiners. Substantial civil, criminal and trial experience. Thomas Vastrick, 6025 Stage Road, Suite 42-182, Memphis, TN 38134; (901) 383-9282.

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We’re All Going to Die (and Other Happy Thoughts of an Estate Planner Turning 50)

First you forget names; then you forget faces; then you forget to zip up your fly; and then you forget to unzip your fly.

— Attributed to Branch Rickey

Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.

— Ecclesiastes 7:2

No one here gets out alive.

— The Doors

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Reverse Mortgages: Paying the Piper

Among the late Senator Fred Thompson’s acting roles was spokesperson for the efficacy of a financial product called a “reverse mortgage.”

A reverse mortgage or a home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) is a home loan for homeowners 62 or older that requires no monthly mortgage payments and permits the homeowner to convert her equity in the home into cash.

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Who Asks the Questions Around Here?

Why It’s Important That Defense Counsel, Rather Than the Trial Court, Question a Defendant During a 'Momon' Hearing

For the past 16 years, a hearing to question a criminal defendant regarding his or her decision not to testify at trial has become a common feature of criminal trials in Tennessee. This procedure was adopted by our supreme court in Momon v. State.[1] In Momon, the Tennessee Supreme Court established “a prophylactic procedure designed to ensure that a defendant’s waiver of the fundamental right to testify is voluntary, knowing and intelligent.”[2] The case arose because Mr.

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When the Defendant Is a Victim

New Court Offers Hope to Victims of Sex Trafficking

She wants help.
    She’s a heroin addict.
        She’s motivated.
            She’s expecting a grandbaby.

These phrases are tossed around a Nashville judicial library as a carefully crafted group decides if a woman picked up for prostitution is eligible for the innovative program instead of going to prison.

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Competition Can Be Beneficial, But Also Corrosive

Bar associations have long noticed that lawyers, more than members of many other professions, are disposed to depression, substance abuse, and similar problems. Local and state bars have worked to establish groups for lawyers-helping-lawyers and lawyers’ assistance programs. The TBA has promoted “better next year” as a way of motivating

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Letters of the Law

The Start of a ‘Long Overdue Conversation About Justice’

Thanks to President Bill Harbison for his February President’s Page about the lynching of Ed Johnson and the contempt trial of Sheriff Shipp (“Contempt Case Helped Develop Due Process Concept”). I share President Harbison’s belief that “...

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