Tennessee Supreme Court supports indigent defense changes. Part 2

Two months ago, I wrote about the Tennessee Indigent Representation Task Force’s 204-page report that recommended changes to indigent defense in Tennessee.  This month, the Tennessee Supreme Court backed some of the recommendations in the report.  Specifically, the Court is supporting legislative changes that would raise the hourly compensation rate of appointed attorneys from $40/hr out of court and $50/hr in court to $65/hr.  The Court is also asking to raise the caps on felonies by $500 and juvenile matters by $250.

Further, the Court seeks to offset some of the additional costs by creating an appellate division of the public defenders’ offices and a conflicts division to handle cases that the public defenders conflict out of.  A proposed statewide commission would oversee these divisions and indigent representation in general.  Another way the Court seeks to offset the cost is through the modification of indigency forms.  These modifications would require judges to explain and certify the existence of a conflict before appointing private counsel.

Finally, the Court will implement periodic billing to address the problem of waiting long periods of time (sometimes years) to bill out a case.

My take on these proposed changes:

$65/hr is more than fair.  Honestly, $40/hr is fine.  The biggest issue at the moment is the case caps are not “calibrated” correctly for the number of hours a case takes.  For example, a misdemeanor general sessions case has a cap of $1,000.  Rarely, will anyone ever need to even come close to the cap.  On the other hand, a termination of parental rights is $1,000, even though this all but guarantees a full blown trial.  In my opinion, an attorney should go over the cap in most termination of parental rights cases.

My other issue with these changes is that they encourage attorneys to work fewer hours.  For example, a $1,500 felony at $40/hr takes 37.5 hours to cap out.  After these proposed changes, a $2,000 felony at $65/hr would only take 30.7 hours to cap out.  This just provides stronger incentive for attorneys to plea cases out.

Best Tennessee Legal Blogs

Here are the best legal blogs in Tennessee:

Raybin Tennessee Supreme Court Hot List

Raybin Tennessee Supreme Court Hot List is my favorite legal blog.  David Raybin, author of the three-volume Tennessee Criminal Practice and Procedure treatise, and Ben Raybin, former clerk for two U.S. Court of Appeals judges, edit this blog.  Not only do they keep me updated on Tennessee Supreme Court cases, but they also predict how the Court is going to decide.  These predictions are often accurate and sometimes useful in advising clients.

Herston on Tennessee Family Law

This blog is invaluable if you practice family law in Tennessee.  It is regularly updated and covers everything from our higher courts to lessons learned during divorce.  The author, K.O. Herston, graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he was on the editorial board of the law review, and has been practicing law in Knoxville for over 20 years.

Scotblog by Daniel A. Horwitz

More opinionated than the above blogs, Scotblog nonetheless provides valuable insight from a brilliant legal mind.  His scholarship has been published in numerous journals, including the Harvard Latino Law Review, the University of Memphis Law Review, the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy, the SMU Science and Technology Law Review, the Tennesse Bar Journal, and the Nashville Bar Journal.  Notable for those of us in the Upper Cumberland, Horwitz has filed a lawsuit against the Honorable Sam Benningfield and Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, for the sterilization program that was in the news.

Other Valuable Blogs

Tennessee Defense Litigation by Jason Lee

Faughnan on Ethics by Brian Faughnan

Sentencing Law and Policy by Douglas Berman

Day on Torts by John Day

And last, but certainly not least, Scotusblog

What are some good blogs that I’m missing?


Bar Results Are Out!

The Tennessee Board of Law Examiners just posted the July 2017 Bar Exam Success List.  Congratulations to all who passed and keep your head up to those who didn’t pass.  Here’s to hoping that Belmont College of Law continues to post high bar passage rates.  For those of you too impatient to click this link, here is the list.

First Name Middle Name Last Name Suffix
Abigail Kathrine Abide
Jared Ryan Adams
Alicia Rita Adlerz
Benjamin Charles Allen
Meaghan Ann Allen
Garron Paul Amos
Julia Anna Angeloff
Petar Angelov Angelov
Loyd Garrett Anglin
Flynne Marie Bailey
Lisa Kay Bailey
Jessica Elizabeth Baker
Jessica Lea Ramey Lewis Baker
Rachael Ann Bakowicz
Bradley Taylor Bald
Erica Joy Balkum
Christine Alayna Ball-Blakely
Clinton Michael Barker
Zachary Lewis Barker
George Neil Barnes II
Neil Barnes
Clifton Wade Barnett
Laura Ellen Bassett
Ashley Nicole Batts
Lindsay Elaine Baumgardner
Melissa Joy Baxter
Sasha Danielle Beatty
Kaitlin Danielle Beck
Aubrey Field Beckham
Andrew DeWitt Beeler
Stephanie Greer Berish
Jonathon Lindbergh Berry
Nathaniel Andrew Bishop
Shelby Ross Black
William Joseph Blackford
Meghan Lenore Blackwell
Erika Jane Blalock-Houser
Sarah Elizabeth Blessing
Samuel Calvin Blink
Melezio Antoni Borrelli
Sarah Falkson Bothma
Michael Calton Bowen
Erin Kathleen Bradley
Nate Kevin Bradley
William Evan Brewster
Katherine Croft Brock
Jacob Webster Brown
Tyler Christopher Brown
William Donald Buckley III
Adam Scott Buddenbohn
Meredith Shea Bundren
Benjamin Patrick Burdett
Zachary Joseph Burkhalter
Caroline Marie Burriss
Amber D Busby
Kayleigh Elizabeth Butterfield
Garrett Patrick Buttrey
Amanda Ellen Callihan
Lucas Jacob Cameron-Vaughn
Jeffrey Wayne Campbell
Jesse James Campbell
Tali Giles Canterbury
Jerry Caleb Cassell
Tyler Mark Caviness
Stefanie Riane Chamberlain
John Grayson Chambers
Ryan Bradford Chambers
Thomas Franklin Christian III
Ashley Leanne Claiborne
Alexander Wesley Clark
William Henry Clower
Devon Paige Cobb
Lora Yvonne Cobble
Ronald Lacey Coleman
Audrey Danielle Collins
Tyler Burke Combs
Jordan Caralisa Connell
Clarissa Juliane Conniff
Elizabeth Chelsea Connor
Johnny Ray Cook
Tara Jessica Cowan
Tonya Renee Craft
Kelsey Marie Craig
John D Cressman
William Brian Crews
Stephen Childers Crofford Jr.
Mary Lauren Davis
Pablo Julian Davis
Camille Nicole DeBona
Hilary Claire Dennen
Christina Marie Denton
Nicholas Albert Deuschle
James David DiMarco
Brittany Leigh Dinaso
John Farrell Dobard
Kyle Matthew Doiron
Laura Elizabeth Dolbow
Kristen Joy Downey
Katharine Anne Driver
Taylor MIchael Durrett
Vera Dygert
Matthew Silas Eddy
William Mason Edmonds
Emma Boyd Elliott
Casey Wayne Elrod
Olga Emelianova
Jordan Michael Emily
Jacob Daniel Ens
Christian Oliver Esquivel
Kelly Blair Etchells
Crystal Marie Etue
Austin Christopher Evans
Ethan Lewis Evans
Gregory Joseph Everett
Suzanne Christine Ezzat
Ashley Lorraine Angello Farmer
William Todd Farmer
Andrew Christian Graham Carmichael Fels
Andrew DeWyet Ferguson
Kayla G Ferguson
Kaitlyn May Filzer
Katharine Beatrice Fischman
Zach Flati
Candace Caroline Fox
Cody Franklin Fox
Matthew Robert Freda
Mark Alan French Barrett
Paisley Paige Fultz
Gillian Grace Furqueron
Erica Rechelle Gaines
Scott Davis Gallisdorfer
Olivia Suzanne Garber
Meredith Anne Gardial
Allison Joy Garnett
David Christopher Garrett Jr
Laura Charlotte Gates
Sarah B Gerlecz
Meredith Mann Gibson
Sydney Brooke Gilbert
Shayna Ann Giles
Lindsey Jernegan Gill
Andrew Joseph Gille
Jessica Leigh Gillentine
Dylan James Gillespie
Matthew Raymond Ginther
Samuel James Girwarnauth
Nicholas Julian Goldin
Megan Judith Gottschall
Alysse Nicole Gregory
Taylor Christopher Grills
Danica Renee Grosko
Lyle Weatherly Gruby
Christina Ashie Guidry
Rebecca Marie Guidry
Zachary Louis Gureasko
Michael Lee Haas Jr.
Christopher Robert Hanewald
Kevin Lee Hargis
Tamra Nicole Harris
Chelsea Lee Harrison
Laura M Hart
Garrett Daniel Haynes
Jeremy Wayne Haynes
Thomas Luther Hays II
Gabrielle Stiff Heim
Andrew Thomas Helton
Tim Owen Henshaw
Ricardo Alejandro Hernandez
Rebecca Elizabeth Hernandez Pastrana
Isham Cason Hewgley IV
Justin Randall Hickerson
Dorothy Williams Hildabrand
Neil Andrew Hillis
Ross Barton Hogancamp
Austin William Holland
Ragan Elizabeth Holloway
Dylan Michael Holzemer
Jacob Alexander Horn-Malcolm
Sarah Elizabeth Houck
Jordan Brian Houser
Bobby Gene Huddleston Jr.
Alex Harlan Huffstutter
Christopher Jay Hughston II
Hannah Kay Hunt
Tyler Douglas Huseman
Raven Icaza
NyKedra Demi Jackson
Morgan Aaron Jasko
Sanjeev K Jayaraman
Marshall Andreas Jensen II
Aaron Maxwell Jett
Kierstin Jodway
Danielle Nicole Johns
Crystal Michelle Johnson
Kevin Andrew Johnson
Kyle Daniel Johnson
Ross Michael Johnson
Tabitha Sue Johnson
William McCaw Johnson
Zachary Byron Johnson
Korey Jones
Miranda H Jones
Hamilton Green Jordan
Kathryn Rachel Murphree Joy
Hannah Mary Joyner
Ashleigh Dawn Karnell
Shane Roseborough Kaster
Kaitlin Faith Kazmier
Jeffrey Grant Kehler
Margaret Anne Kelley
Elizabeth Rivers Kenwright
Stanton Fuller Kidd
Jane Ellen Kidwell
Mark Andrew Kilgore
Daeyoung Kim
Soojin Kim
Benjamin Gregory King
Ericka Shawn King
Esperanza Annabell King
Danielle Marie Knight
Hunter Christian Knight
Sonnye Alexandra Knight
Chelsea Kiss Knox
Kathryn Susanne Kozma
Gabriel Joseph Krimm
Dale Scott Krout
Jeffrey Nelson Kuykendall
Joseph Lee Lackey III
Sarah Suzanne Lamb
Charlotte Elizabeth Lamirand
Jeffrey Joseph Pidgeon Land
Amelia Claire Lant
Zachary Carter Lawson
William Alexander Lee
Robert M Leedham
Elizabeth Thomas Leiserson
Mark William Lenihan
Paul Ernst Lenski III
Derek Robert Lenzen
William Hamner Leslie
Manuel Feld Levitt
Christopher Michael Lewis
Rongxuan Li
Jessica Cunningham Lim
Marcus Allen Lipham
William McGee Lipsey
Casey Samuel Little
Anne Louise Long
Jerry Eldon Long Jr.
Nancy Christina Long
Rebecca Ruth Loveday
Regina Lee Lucreziano
Eric Chase Lyons
Kendra Ann Lyons
Jaxon Kyle MacGeorge
Brittany Shanielle Macon
Matthew Thomas Magill
Lee Andrew Mangum
Christina Louise Manna
Chelsea Irene Markham Lyle
Demi Raquel Marks
Tessa Virginia Marsh
Katelyn Evaline Marshall
Steven Michael Marshall
David William Marshburn
Daniel Matthias Martin
Jonathon David Mason
Shelby Lynn Mathews
Matthew Brandon Mauldin
Keith Alan Maune
Dominique Karol Mayfield
Hannah Elizabeth McCann
Mark Steven McDaniel Jr
Ashley Brooke McGee
Robert Ryan McLeod
Christopher Thomas McNeill
Gabrielle Christine Mees
Bailey Amanda Michener
Chancey Randall Miller
Charlotte Summers Miller
Grace Ann Miller
Mitchell Ray Miller
Sheila Younglove Miner
Larry Wayne Mitchell Jr
Jacob Grigor Moore
Michael Henry Moore
Jessica Lynn Morgan
Stephanie Morris
Emily Leary Morrison
Stephanie Elizabeth Kanani Morrison
Derek Wayne Mullins
Deborah Kay Mumford
Caleb Nathanael Mundy
Erika Regan Murphy
Mary Alice Murphy
Devon Chase Muse
James Richard Myers
Brittany Elizabeth Neal
Ronald Douglas Neeley
Jentri Ann Nelson
Daniel Nesheiwat
Robert Thomas Noland
Ryan Patrick Noormohamed
Matthew Thomas Nordtvedt
Andrew Leland Nutt
Sara E Ohlman
Tyler Ray Orvick
Taylor Rae Oyaas
Carter Jennings Pack
Jason Charles Palmer
Aaron Elliott Pannell
Devin Freeman Park
Brandon Robert Parrish
Melissa Ann Parsons
Clayton Read Pasley
Madison Claire Patey
Patricia Marie Patino
Shelby Marie Patrick
Taylor Dale Payne
Maygan Raeann Peaks
Emily Elizabeth Persinger
Michael James Petherick
Emily Grace Pfeiffer
Katherine Rose Pfost
Stanley Chadwick Phillips
William Carruthers Podesta
William Leslie Pomeroy
William Weston Pomy
Joshua Elias Porte
Katherine Mayo Portner
Spenser Flinn Powell
Zachary Thomas Powers
Ryan Wesley Pratt
Chelsea Lauren Rainey
Ross Richard Ramsdale
Christopher Rutledge Ramsey
Tara Inez Ray
Elise Kay Reecer
Megan McKenzie Reed
Brittany Ann Reeder
Kara Salpeter Reese
Mozianio Samuel Reliford III
Michael S Rexroat
Tyler Dean Ricker
Richard Louis Rieck
Hoai Rhodes Robinette
Ashley K Robinson
Gale Bright Robinson Jr
Lindsey Allison Rodgers
William Reed Rogers IV
Joseph Vincent Ronderos Jr
Kristen Elizabeth Rose
Aaron Kiefer Rothbaum
Marisa Lee Rouse
Grant LeMaster Ruhl
Oscar Ruiz
Susanna Mae Rychlak
Lauren Wash Safley
Ryan Gilbert Saharovich
John Thomas Salmon
Emily Sultana Salomon
Danielle Marie Salton
Ashley Elizabeth Sample
Tyler Scott Sanders
William Bonner Sanders Jr.
Mallory Kathryn Schiller
Jessica Lynn Schmiege
Jessica Lynn Schultz
Zachary Tyler Scott-Templeton
Caitlin Morris Seale
Andrew Edward Self
Andres Sena
Ashley Nicole Senti
Amber Leiann Seymour
Ryan Patrick Shanahan
James Grant Sharp
Ellen Kathleen Sharpe
Melody Farah Shekari
Amelia Leigh Shen
Remington Alexander Shepard
James Alben Shockley
Molly Anne Simbeck
Peter Erik Simon
Dana Ashley Sisk
William James Sivyer Jr
Christopher Lyell Sloan
Andrea Lynn Smith
Christy Ann Smith
Elliott Gabriel Smith
Summers Ashton Smith
John True Smithee Jr.
James Thomas Snodgrass
Alexa Marie Spata
Caroline Dare Spore
Phoebe Corinne Sprague
Holly Jean Stanford
Katherine Carlin Stauffer
Joseph Zachary Stephens
Sunny Nichole Stevens
Gilbert Gordon Stock Jr
John Clayton Stubblefield
James Thomas Sullivan
Philip Gordon Swan II
Kayla Maria Swiney
Chad John Talbot
William Benjamin Tarpley
Stephanie Marie Tasch
Anne Marie Teague
Jonathan Patterson Terrell
Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Melissa Garrison Thomas
Richard Alexander Thomason
Alex Fletcher Thompson
Dillon Patrick Thornbury
Hunter Blair Thrasher
Hunter Curtis Threet
Bradley John Tracy
Callie Minh Tran
Sydney Lauren Trujillo
Evan Jeffrey Tuck
Andrew Bruce Tucker
Chad Anthony Turnbow
Shanell Lanette Tyler
Charles Michael Vance II
Kirkland Thomas Vaughn
Jacob Barry Vega
David Reed Venturella
Sarah Vivet
Quyen Tuong Vo
Erica Danielle Waggoner
Patrick Alan Wagner
Richard Edward Wall
Erin Vivian Wallin
Kimberly Ann Walsh
Garrett Ward
Robert Ethan Ward
Hannah Emily Webber
Matthew Michael Weiner
Alexandra Elizabeth Weiss
Hillary Lynn Weiss
Philip A Wells
Kaitlin Garvin Westbrook
Christian Ardrianna West-Coleman
Kimberly Michelle Wheeler
Benny Gene White
James S White
Callan Bronniman Wilkerson
Hannah Kate Wilkins
Taylor Keith Wilkins
Bevin Anne Orlando Williams
Christopher Michael Williams
Edward Milburn Williams
John Patton Williams
Jeffrey Logan Wilson
JoAnna Raye Wilson
John Christian Wilson
Farol Elaine Wiltermood
Todd Eric Winters
Sarah E Wolfson
Brent Thomas Woolsey
Evan Matthew Wright
Azarius Jordan Yanez
Hunter Yoches
Summer Elizabeth Young
Megan Smith Zarling
Hannah Lee Zeitlin
Elaheh Ziglari

Will Tennessee increase compensation for indigent representation? Part 1

In April of 2017, the Tennessee Indigent Representation Task Force submitted its 204 page report on improving indigent representation in Tennessee.  The task force was led by former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch and included judges, professors, and prominent attorneys.  Among other things, the group considered whether Tennessee attorneys were being fairly compensated for indigent representation.   Currently, attorneys representing indigent defendants in our state make $40 per hour out-of-court and $50 per hour “in court,” i.e., in front of a judge.  The last time that rate was raised was 1997, when $40 was worth $60.52 in 2017 dollars.

Tennessee’s rate of $40 per hour is lower than other states and the federal rate.  Personally, I think $40 is fair.  $40 per hour is $80,000 per year if someone works 40 hours per week for 50 weeks.  Granted, it’s tough to get that many cases, but I think this shows that the rate is fair.  My problem is not with the rate.  It is with the case caps.  But that is for Part 2.

Indigent Representation Hourly Rates in Other States:

Alabama – $70

Alaska – $50-$60

Arkansas – $50-$90

Colorado – $65-$68

Connecticut – $50-$75

Delaware – $60

Hawaii – $90

Indiana – $70

Iowa – $60-$70

Kansas – $62-$80

Kentucky – $75-$100

Maine – $50

Maryland – $50

Massachusetts – $50-$60

Montana – $60

Nebraska – $50-$75

Nevada – $100

New Hampshire – $60

New Jersey – $50-$60

New York – $60-$75

North Carolina – $55-$70

North Dakota –  $75

Ohio – $50-$60

Oregon – $45

Rhode Island – $50-$90

South Carolina – $40-$60

South Dakota –  $84

Vermont – $50

Washington – $50-$75

West Virginia – $45-$65

Wisconsin – $40

Wyoming – $30-$100

Federal cases pay $129 per hour.

10-year-old girl dies at Fall Creek Falls State Park

This is a parent’s worst nightmare.  A ten-year-old girl recently fell to her death at Fall Creek Falls State Park.  Apparently, she got too close to the edge of a trail overlook, lost her footing, and fell more than 200 feet.  The family of this little girl needs to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Perhaps, this link may be useful to others.  It is the Tennessee Trails Association Hiking Handbook.  For those of us that like to hike at state parks, it is worth looking through, especially if you have children with you.