News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Three judges, one magistrate and 21 attorneys have applied to fill anticipated 2014 vacancies on the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals.
The openings are the result of announcements by Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Joseph Tipton that they will not seek re-election in August 2014, creating vacancies effective Sept. 1, 2014. Because statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission expire June 30, 2013, the commission will meet this month to select a slate of candidates for Gov. Bill Haslam to choose from.
…The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Thursday, June 27 in Chattanooga to interview and hear public comments regarding the 15 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Friday, June 28 in Nashville to interview and hear public comments regarding the 10 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals Middle Division.
(The panel is still accepting applications for a third 2014 vacancy — the seat now held by West Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Alan Highers.) Note: List of the applicants is below.
News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Court of Appeals Judge Alan E. Highers has notified Gov. Bill Haslam that he will not seek re-election when his term expires August 31, 2014.
The decision creates a vacancy in Western Section of the Court of Appeal as of September 1, 2014. Due to the June 30, 2013 expiration of the statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission, the commission will meet June 29, 2013 to select nominees for Judge Highers’ anticipated vacancy.
Judge Highers is the presiding judge of the Western Section of the Court of Appeals and is the senior appellate judge in the state. He has been a member of the Court of Appeals since 1982, when he was appointed by Gov. Lamar Alexander.
A past president and executive committee member of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, Judge Highers is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University , Lipscomb University and the University of Memphis School of Law.
“I look forward to fulfilling the remainder of my term in the service of our state,” said Judge Highers in his letter to Gov. Haslam.
Any qualified applicant interested in the seat on the Court of Appeals must be a licensed attorney who is at least 30 years of age, a resident of the state for five years, and a resident of their circuit or district for one year and must reside in the Western Grand Division.
Applicants must complete the designated application, which is available at www.tncourts.gov, and submit it to the Administrative Office of the Courts by Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at noon CDT.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will interview all qualified applicants for the Court of Appeals opening Saturday, June 29 in Jackson. This follows meetings June 27 and June 28 in the Eastern and Middle divisions for anticipated 2014 openings on appellate courts in each of those sections.
The meeting will include a public hearing in which members of the public may express their opinions about the applicants. The interview, public hearing and deliberation process will be open to the public.
For more information, visit http://www.tncourts.gov/administration/judicial-resources.
For the second time, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is asking a Nashville judge to seal court records that would reveal his campaign’s inner workings, according to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. The Ooltewah Republican’s goal is to prevent political opponents from seeing or distributing 1,800 pages of polling research, internal emails and strategy memos. Someone suing Fleischmann requested the documents as part of the civil discovery process.
In a filing, Fleischmann’s attorney said the congressman would supply the papers as long as they’re hidden from public view.
“The Court should order that any of these documents filed with the Court should be placed under seal, only to be opened in accordance with a subsequent court order,” the motion for a protective order states.
Fleischmann, an attorney, is joined in the motion by his co-defendant, Chip Saltsman, the congressman’s longtime political adviser and onetime Washington-based chief of staff.
Both men are fighting a defamation lawsuit stemming from claims in a three-year-old Fleischmann TV ad. Documents filed in Davidson County Circuit Court this week show the case is set for trial Feb. 24.
Political operative Mark Winslow filed the lawsuit. During the 2010 Republican primary, he worked for Fleischmann’s toughest opponent, former Tennessee GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith.
In an interview Friday, Winslow attorney Gary Blackburn said Fleischmann’s polling data motivated Saltsman to create “negative ads” that twisted the truth and ruined Winslow’s professional reputation.
“If a congressman’s tracking the success of lies,” Blackburn said, “shouldn’t the public be allowed to know that?”
Through a spokesman, Fleischmann declined to comment. He has described the lawsuit as “frivolous” and politically motivated. Saltsman, a well-known Republican strategist who managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, did not respond to a request for comment.
A unanimous ruling by the state Court of Appeals has provided a serious setback to efforts to remove three Powell-Clinch Utility commissioners from office, reports the News Sentinel. Judges opined that the commissioners can’t be removed from office for allegedly running a loose fiscal ship before a state law was amended in 2009 making that an ouster offense. That amendment made failure to fulfill fiduciary duties — even without “knowing or willful conduct” — a valid reason to toss commissioners out of office.
The Court of Appeals called the effort to oust on the basis of that amendment “an impermissible retrospective application of law.” The case was sent back to a Davidson County chancellor for further proceedings.
The ouster effort by the state’s Utility Management Review Board began two years ago and was sparked by a state comptroller’s investigative audit.
The state Court of Appeals has ruled that Rutherford County provided proper public notice before approving mosque construction plans in 2010, reports the Daily News Journal. The appeals court reversed local Chancellor Robert Corlew III’s decision a year ago that the county failed to provide adequate public notice before the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission approved construction plans for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro mosque on Veals Road off Bradyville Pike.
Corlew had ruled that the county’s May 2, 2010, public notice in The Murfreesboro Post about the meeting time, date and location without an agenda, didn’t reach enough people before planning commissioners approved the mosque plans May 24, 2010.
The planning commissioners in June 2012 voted to appeal Corlew’s decision. The matter might not end with the appeals court, though. The Tennessee Supreme Court will be asked to reverse the ruling, plaintiffs’ Murfreesboro attorney Joe Brandon said Thursday.
News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled (Friday) that Knoxville attorney Herbert S. Moncier must pay the costs incurred prosecuting the disciplinary proceeding that resulted in his one-year suspension from the practice of law in Tennessee.
On June 1, 2011, the Supreme Court assessed costs totaling $22,038.32 against Mr. Moncier. Afterward, Mr. Moncier petitioned for relief from costs, arguing that the disciplinary proceedings resulting in his suspension were unfair and unconstitutional.
A three-member panel of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) refused to grant him relief from costs. Mr. Moncier appealed to the Supreme Court, again arguing that he should not be required to pay costs because the disciplinary proceedings that resulted in his suspension were unfair and unconstitutional. Mr. Moncier also argued that the members of the BPR panel assigned to hear his petition for relief from costs were biased against him.
The Supreme Court addressed and rejected Mr. Moncier’s arguments and affirmed the BPR panel’s decision denying him relief from costs. Among other things, the Court concluded that Tennessee’s attorney-disciplinary procedure is consistent with the due process requirements of the Tennessee and United States constitutions and that disqualification standards applicable to judges do not apply to members of the Board of Professional Responsibility.
To read Herbert S. Moncier v. Board of Professional Responsibility Opinion, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit TNCourts.gov.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two Tennessee appellate court judges have notified Gov. Bill Haslam that they will not run for another term on the bench in the August 2014 retention election.
Patricia J. Cottrell, a judge on the Court of Appeals, and Joseph M. Tipton, who sits on the Court of Criminal Appeals bench, will both leave after September of next year.
The announcements come after the state legislature left Tennessee without a way to replace judges who step down or die when a commission expires at the end of next month.
Members of the soon-to-be-defunct Judicial Nominating Commission will make recommendations for replacements to give to Haslam before the panel expires. Haslam will appoint the replacements from those recommendations. Note: News release below
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled against a Brentwood man who claimed state law regulating the carrying of firearms was unconstitutional.
Leonard Embody filed a lawsuit in 2010 after state officials took away his carry permit, finding a “material likelihood of risk of harm to the public.”
The revocation came after Embody was detained by Belle Meade police in 2010 while walking with a .44-caliber black powder revolver in his hand. He was detained in 2009 while walking in Radnor Lake State Park with an AK-47-style pistol. He also has been stopped in at least three similar incidents, although he was never charged with a crime.
Embody, who represented himself, claimed in court that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives him a right to carry firearms.
According to the court, “The crux of Embody’s argument is that, as a law-abiding citizen, the legislature may not constitutionally bar him from carrying loaded firearms in public.”
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A longtime Knoxville lawyer and the first female president of the Tennessee Bar Association has been nominated by President Barack Obama to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
The White House announced Thursday that Obama had nominated Pamela L. Reeves for the post. The Knoxville News Sentinel said if confirmed by the Senate, Reeves would replace U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Phillips, who retires this summer.
Reeves graduated from the University of Tennessee’s George C. Taylor College of Law in 1979 and received her bachelor’s with highest honors from UT in 1976.
She has been with the law firm of Reeves, Herbert & Anderson in Knoxville since 2002.
Reeves was bar association president from 1998 to 1999.
By Travis Lollar, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge overseeing changes at the state Department of Children’s Services expressed cautious optimism Monday that the agency’s new leadership can resolve some of its problems.
The tone of the hearing marked a decided change from a January hearing where U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell expressed frustration that the agency seemed to be moving backward and concern for the safety of the children in its care.
That hearing took place during a public outcry over the agency’s inability to say how many of the children it had tried to help had died or nearly died over the past two years.
DCS Commissioner Kate O’Day resigned a few days later and was replaced by Interim Commissioner Jim Henry, who was in the courtroom Monday.
Campbell said that Henry “seems to have developed a new tone at the agency, and that’s a good step.”
The agency was in federal court to report on its progress toward meeting the goals of a 2001 settlement with the child advocacy group Children’s Rights.