Tag Archives: attorney nashville

Cell phones require a search warrant

These days, we live on our cell phones.  All our calls are there.  Who we talk to, text with, facetime, email and or game with are all right there in one iphone brokenconvenient spot.  Our cell phones offer an in depth snapshot (snapchat?) of our daily real and virtual lives.  Any damage or malfunction to our precious device automatically sends us rushing to the Apple store or madly googling how to correct the issue.  We protect our phones with special and costly cases and add super secret squirrel access codes to keep our data safe.  And in 2014, the Supreme Court also added another layer of protection by prohibiting warrantless searches of your password-protected cell phone.

A few years ago,  a young man was wrongfully detained/arrested and held overnight.  While he and a friend were being arrested, officers took each young man’s iPhone, along with keys and anything else they had in their pockets.  During his interrogation, he was repeatedly asked for his iPhone access code.  He repeatedly refused.  His friend, though, provided the access code to his iPhone.

Both young men were released the next morning.  However, their iPhones were missing from the inventory of what they had on their person when they were arrested.  After several minutes of “You didn’t have a phone when you were arrested”, an unusual sound filled the room – the friend’s custom-made ring tone – coming from his iPhone.  Officers followed the sound to a desk drawer in the back of the room and discovered both iPhones.  The friend received his ringing phone back,  the other was shattered, destroyed.

Officers denied damaging the phone, but when confronted with both civil rights and due process violations, the police department replaced the phone and the arrest record disappeared for both young men.

When asked why he didn’t give the officers the access code, the young man said he didn’t think they had any business looking at his private phone.  A few years later, the Supreme Court agreed with him stating the police must obtain a warrant before searching a cell phone seized during an arrest.  See link for relevant cases and links to the opinions.

Again, while we protect our phones with fancy cases and access codes to keep our data safe, the United States Supreme Court also offers additional level of protection no amount of Apple Care can provide, freedom from warrantless searches!

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Filed under Litigation

Collecting the Erin Andrews Judgment.

Erin Andrews got her judgment.  Now what? Often, getting the judgment is just the first step. Collecting the judgment is the real work. The below link is a great article to give you a quick overview of the collection issues represented in Ms. Andrew’s case.

A judgment has a 10-year life span in Tennessee and can be renewed indefinitely.  And that is good news because this could take a while.  There is still the possibility of appeal to reduce the judgment.  Even so, if the judgment stands and is recorded, Ms. Andrews has at least 40 more years (four judgment renewals) before the Judgment debtor Defendant  property could revert to Vanderbilt. If the judgment is kept alive, and something tells me it will be, it will be an encumbrance on the land until it is paid.  Ms. Andrews could be in for a long wait.  Perhaps her Attorneys who will finally get to deliver the big check to her may or may not yet be in elementary school.

Then again, as the author points out, this hotel is in a prime location.  With the speed of construction/renewal/growth/redevelopment Nashville enjoys, there could be a fairly quick turnover and a speedy payment….. with perhaps twenty new townhomes squeezed into the footprint the hotel currently occupies or maybe a new commercial tower to rival the batman building downtown.  Either way, Nashville’s growth could increase both its own and Ms. Andrew’s economy.

Erin Andrews Judgment May Not be Easy to Collect Against Hotel Defendants

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Filed under Litigation

What To Wear To Court (not Pajamas)

If you are reading this, you likely have a court date on the horizon and aren’t sure how things work – including what to wear. It is good you are already getting ready for your court date and working on being prepared.

Different courts have different rules, but across the board, it is important to dress appropriately and in a way that indicates your respect for the court.  If you are not attired properly, the bailiff (the court officer) could ask you to leave the courtroom until you have corrected your clothing issue. For example, in most courts, you are not allowed to wear hats, halter tops, midriff shirts, untucked shirts, low hanging pants or other attire that shows too much skin or just is too casual for the courtroom.

pajamasA Clerk of Court in Pennsylvania recently had signs posted in the court room indicating that pajamas are not appropriate court attire.  Really!  Pajamas!  You would think that would be obvious “what not to wear” but clearly, in that courtroom, it had happened one too many times.

So, what do you wear? You don’t have to wear a suit, but being tidy and presentable is always a good idea. Men can safely dress in slacks and a button down shirt. Ladies can wear the same or a skirt (make sure it is knee length or just above – no mini-skirts, please).

Again, the overall tone is to show the court respect both by your actions and your attire.  Just keep the pajamas at home and you should be fine.

T. Leigh Hearn-Rushton

See the no-pajama article by clicking here.

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Filed under Court, Family Law, Litigation, Service of Process

Dear Facebook. I want a divorce!

You may have started your relationship online but can you end it that way too? Yes, in New York, a woman served her soon-to-be former spouse with divorce papers via facebook.

facbook messages images

Here in Tennessee, one is typically “served” in person, through their attorney, or by leaving service of process with a person of suitable age and discretion who lives with the Defendant. Note that service of process procedures can and do differ by state. After all, one needs a head’s up if your spouse is divorcing you or you have some other pending legal action against you.

But what if you can’t find you former flame or even where they live? See the article below for a woman who found herself in this position for a number of years. The only thing she did know was that her husband regularly checked facebook.

Last year, a New York court allowed her to achieve service of process for a divorce by sending the documents via facebook. The social networking site even documents if the message was read and at what time. Imagine opening your facebook private messages to find you are being sued for divorce. It is taking “You got Served!” to a whole other (electronic) level.

Is service of process for a lawsuit by facebook the coming norm?

Unlikely. Service, even through a process server, is to ensure one has personal notice of a pending legal action. The key words here are “personal” and “notice”. Our system is designed to ensure you have adequate and proper notice of the legal action so that you can prepare a defense and/or otherwise address the issue at hand.

Again, in most cases and states, while this type of service won’t be accepted anytime soon, it is a little something for you to think about the next time you check your fb inbox….

See Washington Post Article here.

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Filed under Civil Procedure, Family Law, Service of Process