Articles Posted in Tennessee Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the chancery court reversing the decision of a hearing panel denying Attorney’s petition to be reinstated to the practice of law in Tennessee following his disbarment and ordering Attorney reinstated, holding that the chancery court misapplied the applicable standard of review. In 2007, Attorney pleaded guilty to federal charges of receipt and possession of images depicting child pornography. In 2008, Attorney consented to his disbarment. In 2014, after he was discharged from prison and while on probation, Attorney petitioned to be reinstated to the practice of law. The Board of Professional Responsibility opposed the petition. The Supreme Court held that substantial and material proof supported the panel’s conclusion that Attorney had failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence his moral qualifications for reinstatement, and that the chancery court impermissibly reweighed the evidence in the record before it. View "Smith v. Board of Professional Responsibility" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court accepted this appeal to determined whether a lawyer's potential violation of the ethical rule governing communications with a person represented by another lawyer constitutes criminal contempt pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. 29-9-102(1),(2). The trial court in this case convicted the attorney of criminal contempt. The attorney appealed, arguing that the evidence did not support the "misbehavior" element of criminal contempt pursuant to section 29-9-102(1). The court of criminal appeals found the evidence sufficient and upheld the conviction. The Supreme Court reversed the court of criminal appeals and vacated the attorney's conviction, holding that although a lawyer's violation of an ethical rule may in some circumstances amount to criminal contempt, the attorney's potential violation of the ethical rule governing communications with a person represented by another lawyer did not constitute criminal contempt pursuant to section 29-9-102(1),(2) because the evidence of "willful misbehavior" was insufficient to support his conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. View "State v. Beeler" on Justia Law