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shutterstock_1134923861-1-300x200“Can my social security check be garnished for child support” is a question some parents may find themselves wondering. The answer to that questions depends on the type of social security benefit the parent receives. Two main types of benefits are Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


The Tennessee Supreme Court in Tennessee Dept. of Human Servs. ex rel. Young v. Young, 802 S.W.2d 594 (Tenn. 1990) provides a detailed explanation of the comparison of SSI benefits to SSDI benefits.


THE GOLDEN TICKETgolden-ticket-v2-263x300

We all make mistakes and one mistake should not define a person. If this is the first time you’ve been charged with a crime or crimes, understandably you are worried. If you have gone a step further and researched the maximum punishments that accompany the crime(s) you are charged with, you are keeping yourself up at night worrying. Any criminal conviction on one’s record can have significant consequences on their ability to obtain jobs, housing, or loans. REST ASSURED. Fortunately, Tennessee has a program for one-time offenders called Judicial Diversion, although it could be more accurately described as Tennessee’s “Golden Ticket.”


Parents who have adopted a child in a foreign county may be surprised to find out they need to take additional steps once returning to the U.S. with their child. After working with foreign adoption agencies and foreign judicial systems for lengthy periods of time the process is not complete once you are home with your child. Citizenship and Birth Certificates are essential items in the adoption process, unfortunately neither of these are guaranteed to be automatically granted based on the foreign adoption alone. The good news is that these issues can be acquired much easier than the initial adoption process. T.C.A. §36-1-106 provides guidance on what steps to take in Tennessee to formalize the adoption of your child from another country.




On March 2nd and 3rd of 2020, a series of large tornadoes touched down in Middle Tennessee, resulting in widespread damage, injuries, and fatalities. Lives were lost, electric lines were toppled, and countless homes were damaged or destroyed.

In the weeks that followed the tornadoes, a new emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, has been forced to the forefront of everyone’s minds. As a result of “Stay at Home” orders all across the state and country, many people’s job security, and their ability to pay rent, is at risk.

In a recent Tennessee Court of Appeals decision, Luker v. Luker, M2018-00138-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App.2018), the Court addressed whether a respondent in an Order of Protection case had a right to conduct discovery in order to prepare for the hearing.  The typical Order of Protection case is set for a hearing within fifteen (15) days of the respondent being served.  Once served, typically an ex parte order of protection is issued, which many believed was intended to protect the petitioner from harm.

In Luker, the Court of Appeals stated, much differently, that the requirement of a hearing within 15 days was intended to protect the respondent from frivolous ex parte orders of protection and not intended for the protection of the petitioner.  The Court also stated that it saw no barrier to a respondent requesting that the hearing be put for a definite period of time in order to request reasonable discovery as long as the ex parte order remained in place.  The catch in the Court’s opinion is that discovery would be granted at the trial court’s discretion, meaning that the ability to conduct discovery in an order of protection case would be decided on a case-by-case and court-by-court basis.

This opinion is extremely important because of the nature of order of protection cases.  Respondent’s get served with an order and have a court date set in a matter of days.  The petitions for an order of protection are also notoriously vague and tend not to provide dates of incidents or name potential witnesses.  Discovery in such cases allows a respondent to request more detailed information in the allegations so that they may properly develop a defense to each specific claim.

Nashville is experiencing a significant increase in tourism. As reported by the Tennessean on January 25, 2018, “the Nashville area set another record for annual visitors in 2017, bringing in 14.5 million people and reaching a new high mark for hotel rooms sold.” While traditional hotel stays have been the staple of tourism for Nashville and most US cities, short-term rental services like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO have increased in popularity as a means of vacationing in a comfortable and private environment. Short-term rentals have become the desired method of traveling for a large portion of the population and it is only growing. Short-term rentals also provide a way for Nashville residents to gain income from their properties located near popular attractions. However, Nashville and other local governments have enacted zoning regulations that limit the potential gain of residents in renting short-term.

Freeman & Fuson has spent the last decade practicing in the area of land use and zoning.

While owning a short-term rental can be very profitable, the following is what you need to know before you use your property as a short-term rental unit:

Pt. 1: What is an Equal Pay Claim and How to Prove It?

What is an Equal Pay Claim?

 An equal pay claim is a lawsuit that alleges that an employer is paying a woman less than men in the workplace for comparable work. For women in Tennessee, two laws provide a right to sue an employer who violates this idea of equal pay.

BONNAROO 2018: 9 Common Criminal Charges at Bonnaroo

With Bonnaroo 2018 in Manchester, Coffee County, Tennessee, just around the corner, it is important to keep in mind the heavy law enforcement presence that will be at the event and on the surrounding highways and interstate.

The following are the top eight crimes commonly charged at Bonnaroo:

There has been a nationwide boom in the popularity of marijuana concentrates or extracts in the past several years. Whether it is the ease of use, perceived health benefits, or increased potency, marijuana concentrates have increased their foothold in the marijuana market. Often times these marijuana concentrates are consumed in electric pens that look and smell similar to the devices used to consume tobacco oils and waxes. This has caused problems for law enforcement in the states where marijuana and marijuana concentrates remain illegal due to how discreetly these products can be carried and consumed. This also makes these products the top choice for people attending the Bonnaroo Music Festival.

Marijuana Concentrates

Marijuana concentrates and extracts go by a variety of names such as oil, wax, live resin, honey oil, shatter, press, or dabs. Regardless of the difference in the product of nomenclature, marijuana concentrates include any product produced by the extraction of THC from marijuana. Concentrates remain categorized under T.C.A. 39-17-415 – Schedule VI – under the general category Marijuana or Tetrahyrdocannibanols (THC). Based on my experience, if a citizen possesses a very small amount of marijuana concentrates or a pen with marijuana oil or wax they are usually charged under T.C.A 39-17-418 – Simple Possession/Casual Exchange – Class A Misdemeanor, and face up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, with a maximum fine of $2,500.00.

In a recent case in Nashville, Leroy Myers was charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly shot a gun in the direction of a Metro Codes employee visiting his home. Following a bench trial, the trial court found Leroy Myers not guilty of the charged offense, aggravated assault, but guilty of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon. The trial court ruled that based on defense counsel’s argument and submissions to the court that the defendant effectively amended the indictment to include reckless endangerment. On appeal, Myers asserted that reckless endangerment is not a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault under the facts of the case and that there was not an implicit amendment to the indictment to include reckless endangerment.  The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. State v. Myers, No. M2015–01855–CCA–R3–CD, 2016 WL 6560014 (Tenn. Crim. App. November 4, 2016).

A defendant cannot legally be convicted of an offense which is not charged in the indictment or which is not a lesser offense embraced in the indictment. State v. Cleveland, 959 S.W.2d 548, 552 (Tenn. 1997). The State, the defendant, and the trial court agreed that reckless endangerment was not a lesser included offense of intentional or knowing aggravated assault. However, when a defendant actively, yet erroneously, seeks an instruction on a lesser-included offense, the defendant effectively consents to an amendment of the indictment. State v. Greg Patterson, No. W2011–02101–CCA–R3–CD, 2012 WL 206287, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App., at Jackson, Dec. 11, 2012)

In this case, defense counsel through his comments, submissions of case law, and argument to the court raised the issue of whether the defendant’s actions could be a lesser included offense like reckless endangerment. When the court stated it would take the matter under advisement to consider lesser included offenses like reckless endangerment, defense counsel made no objection. In furtherance of defense counsel’s argument and for the court’s consideration of lesser-included offenses, defense counsel submitted two cases for the court to consider. Both of these were reckless endangerment cases. State v. Payne, 7 S.W.3d 25 (Tenn. 1999); State v. Shaw, W2010–00201–CCA–R3–CD (Tenn. Ct. Crim. App. June 1, 2011). Based upon those facts, the trial court found an effective amendment to the indictment because the defendant actively sought to place it before the court on the uncharged offense, reckless endangerment. The trial court stated and the appellate court reiterated that the defendant cannot complain about convictions for an offense which, without his own counsel’s intervention, would not have been considered by the Court. In addition, the appellate record was incomplete and the appellate court presumed the trial court’s findings were correct.

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