November, 2014

Cover Story

Tennessee’s Statutory Parental Rights or the “Bill of Rights” for parents under Tenn. Code Ann. §36-6-101(a)(3)(A) was amended effective July 1, 2014. It aims to provide certain “non-alienable rights” enforced through the court’s power over contempt.

Cover Story

After practicing family law for two years in New York City, my husband and I relocated to Tennessee, and I found myself facing the imposing task of preparing for the Tennessee bar exam. As I dutifully made my little flashcards and began to review family law, I discovered something puzzling: the factors used by the court to determine the best interests of...

President's Perspective

Thanksgiving is an American tradition dating back to 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than 100 years, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. The first time we celebrated Thanksgiving

Letters of the Law

The statement in your October 2014 article about Alexander Hamilton (“Alexander Hamilton: Pro Bono Lawyer,” by Russell Fowler) that, in his duel with Aaron Burr:
Hamilton ... fired first in the air but ..., Burr responded by taking dead aim shooting [Hamilton] through the liver is, alas, not supported by all authorities. We read in the Wikipedia...

Book Review

By Austin Sarat | Stanford Law Books | $24 | 288 pages | 2014

In 2007 Daryl Holton elected to die in Tennessee’s electric chair rather than be executed by lethal injection for his murder of four children. Mr. Holton asked me to represent him in his final hours.

Book Review

By H. Graham Swafford Jr. | $21.95 | 215 pages | 2014
This book may be ordered from McKendree United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 176, Jasper, TN 37347 or; or at

History's Verdict

The Tennessee Bar Journal welcomes a new column this month. Russell Fowler will look to the past to help inform the practice of today in “History’s Verdict.” His column will appear three times a year.

2015 is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. It is time to pause and ponder its importance and plan how to commemorate this...


The Tennessee Bar Association was recognized in October with three Luminary Awards from the National Association of Bar Executives. The Tennessee Bar Journal earned a Luminary Award for The Law Launch Project, which followed 15 law students through their last year of school.


Chief Justice Lee lays out Goals, Plans


Former Criminal Court Judge and TBA senior counselor FRED A. KELLY died Sept. 27 at the age of 93. Kelly graduated from the University of Tennessee and later served in World War II, earning the rank of captain. He graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1948 and began practicing law in Gallatin. A native of the city, he went...

Licensure & Discipline


The Supreme Court of Tennessee reinstated the law license of Spring Hill lawyer James Michael Marshall on Sept. 4. Marshall had been suspended for 60 days after he entered a conditional guilty plea that he violated the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Crime & Punishment

The doctrine sometimes called “diminished capacity” still seems to be confusing to practitioners and trial judges. I’d like to review the concept and offer some pointers on how defense counsel can develop relevant and admissible expert testimony regarding the mental state of the accused and how prosecutors can challenge such evidence.

But Seriously, Folks

On Thursday, Nov. 27, I will be attending a family law section meeting of the Tennessee Bar Association, in Jasper, Tennessee.

Actually, it will not be an official TBA meeting nor will it be sponsored by the TBA Family Law Section. It will be Thanksgiving dinner. But attending the dinner will be more lawyers than you can shake a turkey leg at. The...