courts

Retired TN Supreme Court Justice Frank Drowota dies, age 79

Frank F. Drowota III, who served 25 years on the Tennessee Supreme Court before retiring in 2006, has died at age 79.

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Supreme Court declares Nashville mayor’s election to be held in May, not August

Press release from Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn.  The Tennessee Supreme Court held today that Metro Nashville must hold a special election to fill the Office of Mayor. The decision reversed a ruling of the Davidson County Chancery Court that upheld the action of the Davidson County Election Commission (“Commission”) in setting the election to coincide with the August 2, 2018 election. Under state law, the Commission now must set a special election to be held between May 21 and May 25, 2018.

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Appeals court rejects legislators’ intervention in lesbian couple’s child custody dispute

The state Court of Appeals has rejected an attempt by 52 state representatives and 19 state senators to intervene in a divorce dispute over child custody between Sabrina Witt and Erica Witt, two Knoxville women who were married in Washington, D.C., reports the News Sentinel.

The opinion, written by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Michael Swiney also declares that the legislators should pay costs involved in appealing the trial court’s decision dismissing their motion to intervene.

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AG says proposed anti-discrimination rule for lawyers is unconstitutional

State Attorney General Herbert Slatery is formally opposing a proposed change to professional conduct rules for lawyers that he contends would violate the constitutional free speech rights of Tennessee attorneys, reports the Nashville Post.

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Supremes will decide date for Nashville mayor election

The Tennessee Supreme Court decided today to resolve a dispute over when Nashville’s election of a new mayor should take place. The Metropolitan Nashville City Council has set the vote for Aug. 2, but a lawsuit contends the vote on a full-time successor to Megan Barry, who resigned in a sex scandal, should be in May.

A lower court judge decided the August date should stand, but that was appealed with a request that the Supreme Court take up the matter promptly. In an order issued today, the Supreme Court agreed to do so and set a hearing for April 9.

The court order is HERE. Previous post HERE.

State approves $1 million in reparations for man imprisoned 31 years

Lawrence McKinney, cleared of a rape conviction after spending more than three decades in prison, has become the first person in the state to receive $1 million in reparations from the state, the maximum allowed under Tennessee law, reports WTVF.

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Two TBI agents indicted on charges stemming from alleged illegal search

Two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents have been indicted by a Lake County grand jury on assault and kidnapping charges stemming from an allegedly illegal search of a Ridgely residence in 2015, according to the Dyersburg State Gazette.

The homeowners, Fred Austin Wortman Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, have also filed civil lawsuits over the search by TBI agents Mark Reynolds and Jeff Jackson.

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Judge dismisses legislature-mandated lawsuit over refugees

U.S. District Court Judge S. Thomas Anders on Monday dismissed the state of Tennessee’s lawsuit against the federal government over the refugee resettlement program  — mandated by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature after the state attorney general refused to file it, reports the Associated Press.

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TN Supreme Court rejects AG request for eight early executions; schedules two for later this year

The Tennessee Supreme Court has denied the state attorney general’s request to move up eight execution dates before June 1, reports the Associated Press. Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed the requests Feb. 5 and cited “ongoing difficulty” getting lethal injection drugs.

The court on Thursday did set execution dates for two of the inmates, Oct. 11 for Edmund Zagorski, who was convicted of two murders, and Dec. 6 for David Earl Miller, who was convicted of murdering a mentally disabled woman.

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Judge rules special Nashville mayor election should be held Aug. 2

A judge Wednesday dismissed two lawsuits that sought to force an expedited special election for mayor in May, instead sticking with Aug. 2 as the date for choosing a successor to Megan Barry, who resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to a felony.

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