Feature Story

Oral Argument

Where the Wheels Can Fall Off an Appeal

“There is no place to hide when one stands at the lectern before the judges; it truly is a lonely spot.”[1]

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The Cumulative Error Doctrine

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to a fair trial, including fundamentally fair procedures. That is the essence of due process protected by both the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions. A key element of this protection is something known as the cumulative error doctrine. The idea behind the cumulative error doctrine is that errors in isolation may not be impactful, but that multiple errors together or cumulatively may require a finding that the defendant’s trial does not comport with the due-process ideal of fundamental fairness.

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It's Not Lying if You Call it Fiction*

The Tennessee Bar Journal’s First Fiction Contest Draws Creative Stories, Tall Tales

Since we had never done this before and we didn’t want to mess it up, for the Tennessee Bar Journal’s first fiction contest we spent some time pondering, researching, pondering some more. That didn’t seem like enough so we consulted with other bar associations that have serious, long-term creative writing contests. We would not want to begin such an undertaking without the expertise of our friends at the State Bar of Arizona, the State Bar of Texas, and the State Bar of Georgia.

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Spousal Annuities

An Old and New Planning Option

Annuities are one of the oldest and most widely used tools for retirement, long-term care, and Medicaid planning Annuities can be thought of as reverse life insurance policies. Where life insurance protects against the risk of death, traditionally annuities were designed to protect against the risk of outliving an individual’s funds.

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Calculating Economic Losses from Wrongful Incarceration

The number incarcerated in U.S. federal or state prisons remained at or below about 200,000 during the 20th century until the mid-1970s, when incarcerations began dramatically increasing.[1] Shown in Figure 1, by 2008, more than 1.6 million were incarcerated,[2] which is a 700 pecent increase since 1975.[3] After 2009, this number has decreased somewhat,[4] but the United States still has more people in prison than any other country in the world. About 25 percent of the world’s prison population is in the U.S.[5]

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Where There’s Smoke, There’s … Smoking

Are Condominium Smoking Restrictions Legal?

Tennesseans and most Americans have long lived by the old sayings “a man’s home is his castle” and “I can do whatever I want in my home.” Unfortunately, there’s the way it ought to be, and there’s the way that it is. Whether you live in a single-family home, townhome, condominium or apartment, numerous activities are no longer permitted at home. You cannot house multiple families in one home because of single-family occupancy restrictions. You cannot make exterior architectural improvements or changes without prior written approval.

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Judicial Finality and Legal Malpractice

For Whom Montgomery Bell Tolls … Not for Tennessee Lawyers

Montgomery Bell was an antebellum Tennessee industrialist who began his remarkable career at the age of 16 as a tanner’s apprentice and then a hatter. He soon broadened his activities from selling to manufacturing hats at his factory at Lexington, Kentucky, where he employed 20 workers. By 1802 he had relocated to Tennessee and purchased James Robertson’s interest in Cumberland Iron Works 20 miles south of Clarksville.

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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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Eight Do’s and Don’ts in the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims

Below, in no particular order, are a few key pointers for counsel and self-represented parties, after approximately eighteen months’ experience in the new Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims.

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Significant Appeals Board Opinions: 2014-2015

Virtually every opinion bears some new nugget of law, and therefore practitioners should read and familiarize themselves with all of them. Looking back, however, these are some of the weightiest and most frequently cited.

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