'GAVELS' will educate, demystify legal system

Tennessee judges and attorneys have partnered to create a new program for educating students, community groups and business organizations about the legal system. The Tennessee Judicial Conference (TJC) and Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) developed the GAVELS program, which stands for Gaining Access to Valuable Education about the Legal System, to fill the growing knowledge gap about the legal system and the important role it plays in our government.

"We hope this program helps demystify the court system and shed some light on the important role the judiciary plays in our democratic society," Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth said. Hollingsworth chairs the TJC's public confidence in the courts committee. GAVELS pairs lawyers and judges to make presentations in their communities in order to improve the public's understanding of our legal system and better equip citizens to be active participants in our democratic society. A list of available judges and attorneys and the topics they are willing to speak about are available online at www.tncourts.gov and www.tba.org. Schools, civic organizations and business groups are welcome to request a speaker by contacting a judge or attorney listed on either website.

Learn more about GAVELS

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 or to obtain a text version of each opinion, 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 the TBA's Membership Central.

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

You can obtain full-text versions of the opinions two ways. We recommend that you download the Opinions to your computer and then open them from there. 1) 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. 2) 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.

SUPREME COURT DISCRETIONARY APPEALS Grants & Denials List

Court: TSC

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2011/certlist_100311.pdf


MARSHA BORDES v. JULIAN BORDES

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

J. Todd Faulkner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Julian Bordes.

Angela R. Hoover, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Marsha Bordes.

Judge: DINKINS

Husband filed a petition to modify the amount of alimony in futuro set in the divorce decree, asserting that health problems and a decrease in his income arising after the divorce constituted a substantial and material change in circumstances that warranted a reduction in the amount of alimony. Husband appeals the denial of the petition and award of attorney fees to Wife. Finding that Husband was entitled to modification and that the award of attorney fees was inappropriate, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and modify the award of alimony.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2011/bordesm_100311.pdf


BOB KEITH WATSON v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY

Court: TCA

Attorneys:

William Kennerly Burger, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for Petitioner/Appellant Bob Keith Watson

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, Joseph F. Whalen, Associate Solicitor General and Benjamin A. Whitehouse, Assistant Attorney General, for Respondent/Appellee Tennessee Department of Safety

Judge: KIRBY

This is appeal involves the forfeiture of personal property seized in connection with a criminal investigation. The petitioner's home was searched pursuant to a search warrant executed on his home. Items of his personal property were seized by authorities, and later forfeited and sold. The petitioner property owner filed this lawsuit, arguing that administrative protocols regarding forfeiture proceedings were not followed and contesting the forfeiture of his personal property. The administrative law judge held that the forfeiture and sale were valid, and the property owner appealed to the trial court. The trial court affirmed. The property owner now appeals to this Court. We affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCA/2011/watsonb_100311.pdf


IN RE GARY'S BONDING COMPANY

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

H. Graham Swafford, Jr., Jasper, Tennessee, for the appellant, Gary's Bonding Company.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Nicholas W. Spangler, Assistant Attorney General; James Michael Taylor, District Attorney General; and David Owen McGovern, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: THOMAS

A final forfeiture was entered against the Appellant, Gary's Bonding Company, in the Marion County Circuit Court ordering the complete forfeiture of the bail bond in the case of criminal defendant Judson Layne. On appeal, the Appellant contends that the trial court erred in ordering a final forfeiture and in denying its petition for exoneration. Because the notice of appeal was not timely filed in this matter, we are without jurisdiction to determine whether the trial court erred. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2011/garysbonding_100311.pdf


STATE OF TENNESSEE v. KEITH LONELL RICHARDSON

Court: TCCA

Attorneys:

Jeffrey A. Devasher, Assistant District Public Defender (on appeal); and Latasha Thomas and Katie Weiss, Assistant District Public Defenders (at trial), for the appellant, Keith Lonell Richardson.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Brent C. Cherry, Assistant Attorney General; Victor S. Johnson III, District Attorney General; and Roger D. Moore, Assistant District Attorney General, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge: WITT

Dissatisfied with his conviction of aggravated assault, the defendant, Keith Lonell Richardson, appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing that he should have been permitted to withdraw his plea to correct a manifest injustice. Discerning no error, we affirm.

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TCCA/2011/richardsonk_100311.pdf


IN RE: JENNIFER MEEHAN, BPR 022932

Court: TSC-Disciplinary_Order

Judge: KOCH

Censure

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2011/meehanj_100311.pdf

IN RE: HOWARD ROBERT ORFIELD, BPR 010567

Court: TSC-Disciplinary_Order

Judge: KOCH

Censure

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2011/orfieldh_100311.pdf

IN RE: DARREN J. SCOGGINS, BPR 018881

Court: TSC-Disciplinary_Order

Judge: KOCH

Suspension

http://www.tba2.org/tba_files/TSC/2011/scogginsd_100311.pdf

TODAY'S NEWS

Legal News
U.S. Supreme Court
Celebrate Pro Bono
TBA Member Services

Legal News
Alberto Gonzales new professor at Belmont Law
Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales will begin teaching at Belmont University School of Law in January 2012, the school announced today. Gonzales, who will be the only former U.S. Attorney General teaching full time in legal education, will be in the newly endowed position of the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law.
Leran more from Belmont
Judicial recusal now on the table
Tennessee legislators, in addition to considering a revamp of the Court of the Judiciary, may look at setting tougher rules governing when judges accused of a conflict of interest must step aside from hearing a case. Also under discussion, a Knoxville News Sentinel article said, are stricter recusal rules imposed by the legislature and repealing a law that permits reprimands of judges to be kept secret. Judges say the latter proposal would make bad policy. Judicial recusal rules currently are set by the state Supreme Court. For the legislature to change them could violate the Tennessee constitution, said Chris Craft, presiding judge of the Court of the Judiciary.
Gavel to Gavel has more
Civil Justice Act effective today
The Tennessee Civil Justice Act of 2011 takes effect today. Legal actions for injuries, deaths and other losses that occur from today forward are subject to big changes in personal-injury and consumer-protection laws, including new caps on damage awards.
The Commercial Appeal has the story
The unsettled question: How to pick judges?
Gov. Bill Haslam knows he doesn't want Tennessee Supreme Court and appeals court judges to be selected by voters, he tells the Tennessee Report. But he's unwilling to say if he believes an unbiased reading of the Tennessee Constitution backs him up on that. Others have been willing to state their position. Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said he believes the constitutional question needs to be addressed. "If we're going to have a constitution we need to live by it, and if there are some faults in it, we need to change it -- and I think this is one of those cases." For his part, Tennessee Bar Association Executive Director Allan Ramsaur told the Tennessee Report that he thinks changes to the constitution are "unnecessary," although he added that the TBA would nonetheless likely back that effort, if that's the direction the legislature chooses to go.
Read the Tennessee Report
Human Rights Commission reports on its work
The Tennessee Human Rights Commission's legal division reviewed more than 600 cases, 450 investigative plans, 36 reconsiderations and found reasonable cause in six cases, according to its newly released annual report. Also, the report says the commission received and answered 10,893 calls from the public that resulted in a total of 1,056 inquiries. "Our goal is and will continue to be eliminating unlawful discrimination," chair Patricia Pierce writes in the report.
The annual report is available here
UT-K lags behind in pay for professors, especially law
University of Tennessee College of Law Dean Doug Blaze acknowledges that it's been hard to keep some professors from being hired away because of relatively low salaries. In a university that lags behind the national marketplace for faculty salaries, professors in the law school are furthest behind their peers. There, faculty earn 72 percent of the median for similar jobs at comparable schools, according to a report compiled by a private consulting firm.
TimesNews.net carried this AP story
Nashville lawyer's murder still unsolved after 27 years
Six cold cases have been solved in Nashville this year, but not the 1984 murder of Nashville lawyer Sam Schlanger. Detective Sergeant Pat Postiglione believes Schlanger, a graduate of Nashville School of Law and former public defender, was killed by an angry client.
The Tennessean looks into it
Former D.A. turns self in after police chase
Former First Judicial District Attorney Joe Crumley is out on bond after turning himself in to Washington County Detention Center. He is charged with reckless driving, evading arrest, reckless endangerment and failure to yield. Crumley reportedly led officers on a chase through Jonesborough before hitting a police cruiser.
Tricities.com has the story
U.S. Supreme Court
High court back on bench with hot-button issues
The U.S. Supreme Court is back in session today, and lined up for its consideration is the fight over President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation. The Justice Department on Sept. 28 asked the high court to decide the constitutionality of the law on a timeline that is likely to end with a decision next June -- right in the middle of the presidential campaign. The court will have a few other issues on its schedule, too, of course, including GPS surveillance and the 4th Amendment, the "F-bomb" on broadcast television, affirmative action and immigration enforcement. The court will not consider the case of a retired University of Tennessee professor convicted of violating federal arms control law, or the appeal of an Ohio judge wanting to display a poster of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.
Learn more from Law.com
Opinion: Let cameras roll in Supreme Court
An opinion piece by Kenneth Starr outlines the benefits of increased access and transparency that allowing cameras in the U.S.Supreme Court proceedings would have.
Read it in The New York Times
Celebrate Pro Bono
Advance directive outreach in Jackson Tuesday
West Tennessee Legal Services will host an advance directives outreach at Jackson Oaks Senior Living Community at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 4. Contact Kathryn Tucker at 731-423-0616.
See a full schedule of Celebrate Pro Bono Month events
CLE, wills program Tuesday
Legal Aid of East Tennessee will host a free CLE in exchange for pro bono and a seniors education and outreach program on Oct. 4. The CLE will be at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel at 1 p.m. The education program, "Simple Wills and Healthcare Powers of Attorney," will be at the Sequatchie County Center & Fair Building in Dunlap from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information on either event, contact Charlie McDaniel at 423-756-4013 or at cmcdaniel@laet.org

Legal advice clinic set in Franklin
The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, the Williamson County Bar Association, the Nashville Pro Bono Program and Community Health Systemes will host a legal advice clinic at the Franklin Public Library on Oct. 4. Clients must arrive by 5 p.m. Contact Lucinda Smith at 615-780-7127.

TBA Member Services
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Now you can ship your FedEx packages directly from the Microsoft Office Outlook application -- and save money doing it. It's a fast and convenient way to easily access some of the most popular features on fedex.com using Microsoft technology. That's why you should Think FedEx First.
Take advantage of your member discounts on select FedEx shipping services and FedEx OfficeSM business services

 
 
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About this publication: Today's News is a compilation of digests of news reports of interest to Tennessee lawyers compiled by TBA staff, links to digested press releases, and occasional stories about the TBA and other activities written by the TBA staff or members. Statements or opinions herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Tennessee Bar Association, its officers, board or staff.

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