Ethics Commission considers rules, ethics opinions

In what observers considered a surprising turn of events, the Tennessee Ethics Commission today retreated from its practice of permitting public comment and discussion at its meeting, moving forward on several fronts with public comment only after all decisions had been reached.

The commission had under consideration draft rules on public records, an advisory ethics opinion and principles of ethical conduct. Despite specific public records requests for advance drafts of the documents, they were not distributed until the meeting had begun. The public records rules permit the staff broad discretion in asserting a wide variety of exceptions for denying access to papers in the hands of the commission. They also permit charges for staff time to watch someone look at records, and allow staff and supply charges over and above a 25 cents per page for copies. The advisory ethics opinion clarifies that members of associations are not themselves covered by the lobbying law just because the association itself employs a lobbyist. The draft guiding principles of ethical conduct were significantly revised by the commission, specifically stripping out a provision that would have suggested that it was unethical for lawmakers to represent clients when the state was involved.
TODAY'S OPINIONS
Click on the category of your choice to view summaries of today’s opinions from that court, or other body. A link at the end of each case summary will let you download the full opinion in PDF format. To search all opinions in the TBALink database, go to our OpinionSearch page. If you have forgotten your password or need to obtain a password, you can look it up on TBALink at http://www.tba.org/getpassword.mgi.

00 - TN Supreme Court
00 - TN Worker's Comp Appeals
00 - TN Supreme Court - Rules
00 - TN Court of Appeals
02 - TN Court of Criminal Appeals
00 - TN Attorney General Opinions
00 - Judicial Ethics Opinions
00 - Formal Ethics Opinions - BPR

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Here's how you can obtain full-text version. We recommend you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. Click the URL at end of each Opinion paragraph below. This should give you the option to download the original document. If not, you may need to right-click on the URL to get the option to save the file to your computer. Do a key word search in the Search Link area of TBALink. This option will allow you to view and save a plain-text version of the opinion. Browse the Opinion List area of TBALink. This option will allow you to download the original version of the opinion.

Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

STATE OF TENNESSEE v. BOBBY J. RUSSELL

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

J. Thomas Marshall, Jr., Clinton, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bobby J. Russell.

Michael E. Moore, Acting Attorney General and Reporter; Rachel E. Willis, Assistant Attorney General; James N. Ramsey, District Attorney General; and Jan Hicks, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

The appellant, Bobby J. Russell, pled guilty in the Anderson County Criminal Court to aggravated assault and agreed to a six-year sentence with the manner of service to be determined by the trial court. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered that he serve his sentence in confinement. On appeal, the appellant claims that the trial court erred by denying his request for alternative sentencing. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/russellb_021507.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. DOUGLAS SIMS

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Wayne R. Stambaugh, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Douglas Sims.

Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Assistant Attorney General; C. Berkley Bell, District Attorney General; and Victor Vaughn, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: OGLE

A Hamblen County Criminal Court jury convicted the appellant, Douglas Sims, of aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to sixteen years in confinement. The victim did not testify at trial. On appeal, the appellant claims that the trial court's allowing the State to introduce a transcript of the victim's preliminary hearing testimony into evidence violated his constitutional right to confrontation. Upon review of the record and the parties' briefs, we conclude that the appellant is not entitled to relief and affirm the judgment of the trial court.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2007/simsd_021507.pdf


TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
Legislative News
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Brooks' trip to D.C. draws criticism
Shelby County Commissioner Henri Brooks' trip to Washington D.C. to demand federal action on the County's Juvenile Court System is drawing criticism from some of her fellow commissioners and the Commercial Appeal.
Read the editorial
Critics decry delays in He case
The almost seven years that it took to resolve who should have custody of Anna Mae He, has drawn critics from across the country. "It should go to trial in six months and have a decision 30 days afterward," said Christina Zawisza, a law instructor with the University of Memphis Child Advocacy Clinic. "It's unusual for a case to blow up this dramatically."
Read more in the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal
Maury County gets estimates for new justice center
A new criminal justice center would cost Maury County $13 million to $18 million to build, the county's architect told commissioners Tuesday, giving them a rough estimate on what it would cost to build a 60,000-70,000 square-foot criminal justice center. The county's current courthouse would be converted into office space for the county if the criminal justice center were built.
Read more in the Columbia Daily Herald
Law schools, firms working for diversity in profession
Law schools and law firms are working to bring more diversity to the profession. A Memphis Daily News story looks at efforts by the University of Memphis' Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law and Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz.
Read more
Legislator seeks pardon for death row inmate
State Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory, has taken the rare step of asking Gov. Bredesen to pardon a death row inmate. He tells the City Paper that he is lobbying other legislators to do the same.
Read more in the Nashville City Paper
Open meetings bill must address constitution
The Jackson Sun praises the intent of Murfreesboro legislator Bill Ketron, who has introduced a bill that would lift the legislature's exemption from the Tennessee Sunshine Law. But the paper editorializes that to create actual change, Keaton needs to push for an amendment to the state's constitution, which now allows lawmakers to meet in private.
Read the editorial
Legislative News
AG asks for computer upgrade
Attorney General Bob Cooper is asking for about $1.5 million in technology upgrades for his office, telling the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that his attorneys' computers are woefully out of date.
Read more in the Knoxville News Sentinel
Stay current on legislation with TBA updates
Legislators already have filed a number of bills of interest to Tennessee attorneys. The TBA Watch and Action lists will keep you up to date on what has been filed.
Check out TBA legislative updates
TBA Member Services
Free online legal research is newest TBA benefit
Online legal research is now available free to all Tennessee Bar Association members through an agreement with Fastcase, a leading online legal research firm. The new TBA member benefit is national in scope and offers TBA members unlimited usage, unlimited customer service and unlimited printing -- all at no cost.
Log in now to try it out

 
 
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