April 2016 - Vol. 52, No. 4

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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Pro Bono Event Pushes Fundraising Past Half Million Mark

Tennessee lawyers helped raise more than $45,000 to help legal aid programs in the state at the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala March 5 in Nashville. Now in its 10th year, the event has raised more than half a million dollars to support pro bono efforts that engage in-house and corporate counsel.

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C. Scott Johnson of Fleissner, Davis and Johnson sent this photo in to thank his fellow lawyers in the Chattanooga Bar Association and its “outstanding executive director Lynda Minks Hood,” for their support following a recent lengthy hospital stay. “During this time, my always busy Chattanooga Bar comrades went above and beyond to support, encourage and uplift. This seemingly simple gesture meant more than words can express. The Chattanooga Bar members certainly changed this misty-eyed counselor’s outlook during troubling times.

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Retired Shelby County JUDGE ANN PUGH, one of the area’s first female judges, died Feb 23. She was 70. An Arkansas native, Pugh was a teacher before attending law school. After serving on the City Court, Pugh served four terms on the General Sessions Criminal Court bench. She also led a specialized court handling domestic violence cases. Pugh retired in 2010 after 32 years.

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Fair Labor Lawyer

The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin

By Marlene Trestman | Louisiana State University Press Southern Biography Series | $39.95 | 208 pages | 2016

Bessie Margolin may not be a household name, but, it turns out, we live with her legacy every day in our everyday doings. For more than five decades, between the 1930s and the 1970s, her consummate lawyering shaped much of labor policy and labor law as we know it today and modeled the way to success for women attorneys.

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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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