Circuit Court 16th Judicial Dist Division 3


505 Rutherford County Judicial Building
20 Public Square North
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Phone: (615) 898-8074
Fax: (615) 898-8013



Legal News

Rutherford County to Launch Mental Health Court by 2017:

The County hopes that the Mental Health Court will reduce the amount of people returning to a life of crime and abusing drugs and alcohol.  General Sessions Judge Barry Tidwell will preside over the new Court.  For more information, please see the Administrative Office of the Courts' website.

New Policy Regarding Fax-Filing in Cannon County Circuit & Chancery Courts:

Effective July 1, 2016, the Clerks of the Cannon County Circuit and Chancery Courts will begin assessing the fee authorized by T.R.C.P. 5A.04 relating to the fax filing of documents in civil cases.  There will be an initial fee of $5.00 for receiving the fax and an additional fee of $1.00 per page (including the cover sheet).  According to T.R.C.P. 5A.02, documents in excess of ten (10) pages (cover sheet included) may not be submitted by fax and will not be filed by the Clerk.  All faxes must be accompanied by the uniform fax cover sheet provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts, and the cover sheet must be filled out completely.  The Clerks will not accept pleadings which require the payment of Court costs before they are filed, summonses, wills/codicils, or notices of appeal by fax.  You are not required to mail the original document to the Court and the Clerks request that you not do so.  You should retain the original filing in your records so the Court may review it upon request.  Once your document is received, the Clerks will send a verification sheet and cost bill.  If the Clerks are not able to file your document because it does not conform with the Rule, you will receive notification of that fact as well.  As required by the Rule, the fax filing fee must be paid within ten (10) days of the fax being received and is not taxed as court costs at the end of the case.  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact either Clerk.

Local Chancellor, Clerk & Master Instrumental in New E-Filing Legislation:

Sixteenth Judicial District Chancellor Howard Wilson and Rutherford County Clerk & Master John A.W. Bratcher were on hand in Nashville when Governor Bill Haslam signed into law Public Chapter No. 970, which makes electronic filing in Tennessee's civil Trial Courts more feasible.  Chancellor Wilson and Clerk & Master Bratcher were instrumental in advancing the legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Representative Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro).  For more information, please see the Administrative Office of the Courts' press release.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam (seated) signs Public Chapter No. 970 into law.

Chancellor Howard Wilson is second from right, and Clerk & Master John A.W. Bratcher is at far right.

Portrait of Retired Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III to be Unveiled at Ceremony:

Retired Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III, will have his judicial portrait unveiled at a ceremony hosted by the Rutherford/Cannon County Bar Asociation on August 1, 2016 at 3:00 PM, Room 306, Rutherford County Judicial Building.  Following his retirement from the bench in 2014, Corlew was elected as President of Lions Club International, and has been traveling the world to advance the Lions Club's mission of empowering volunteers to serve their communities, meeting humanitarian needs, encouraging peace, and promoting international understanding.

Honorable Robert E. Corlew, III

Condolences to the Family of David Kious:

We were saddened to learn of the passing of attorney David Kious, a member of the Rutherford/Cannon County Bar Association who practiced law in Murfreesboro for many years.  Mr. Kious was a fine man and excellent attorney, and will be dearly missed.

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Rules Service Dog Can be Used to Comfort Witness:

The ruling, in the case of State v. Reyes, is the first Tennessee Court decision regarding the use of dogs in the courtroom.  For more details, please see the Administrative Office of the Courts' website.

Chief Justice Sharon Lee Describes State of Tennessee Judiciary as "Great":

The Chief Justice delivered her speech regarding the state of the Tennessee Judiciary at Nashville's Rotary Club on May 2, 2016.  She addressed numerous topics, including the use of innovative new technology in the Court system, juvenile justice issues, and indigent defense.  For more details, please see the Administrative Office of the Courts' website.

Condolences to the Family of Kent Coleman:

We were saddened to learn of the passing of attorney Kent Coleman, a member of the Rutherford/Cannon County Bar Association who practiced law for many years and served as a State Representative in the Tennessee General Assembly.  Mr. Coleman was a fine man and excellent attorney, and will be dearly missed.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Breaks Ten-Year Silence During Oral Arguments:

On February 29, 2016, United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stunned attorneys, reporters, and others in attendance when he asked questions during oral arguments for the first time since February 22, 2006.  Read more here

Judge Roger Page Confirmed to Tennessee Supreme Court:

On February 22, 2016, the 109th Tennessee General Assembly unanimously confirmed Governor Bill Haslam's appointment of Judge Roger Page to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Read more here.  

Judiciary Mourns Passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on Saturday, February 13, 2016, at the age of 79.  Justice Scalia was the longest-serving Justice on the Court, having been appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.  Chief Justice John Roberts released the following statement: "I am saddened to report that our colleague Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away.  He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues.  His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served."

New Local Rules for Bondsmen in 16th Judicial District Adopted:

As of November 18, 2015, new Local Rules for Bondsmen have been adopted.  These rules apply in all of the Courts of the 16th Judicial District.

Cannon County Clerk & Master Nathan Nichols Announces New Office Hours :

Beginning on November 2, 2015, the Cannon County Clerk & Master's office will be open for business as follows:*

     MONDAY, TUESDAY, THURSDAY, & FRIDAY: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
     WEDNESDAY:  8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


*Hours may vary occasionally based on staffing considerations; however, we will not open later than 8:00 a.m. or close earlier than 4:00 p.m. (Wednesdays 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.).

Supreme Court Ruling Modifies Summary Judgment Standard in Tennessee:

The Tennessee Supreme Court has returned to a summary judgment standard consistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in an Opinion released on October 26, 2015 in Rye, et al. v. Women's Care Center of Memphis, MPLLC, et al., a Memphis health care liability case. The most recent case that governed summary judgment practice in Tennessee was Hannan v. Alltel Publishing Co., issued in 2008. Over the years, the Hannan decision has been widely criticized and the Court noted that it “has functioned in practice to frustrate the purposes for which summary judgment was intended.”  In its ruling, the Court overruled Hannan and returned to a summary judgment standard consistent with cases that have interpreted Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The Court acknowledged that the “standard articulated in Hannan was unworkable and inconsistent with the history and text of Tennessee Rule 56.” Recently-retired Justice Gary Wade wrote an Opinion dissenting in part, in which he expressed his concern that the Court's decision effectively side-stepped the issue of whether the Tennessee General Assembly violated the Separation of Powers doctrine by enacting a statute (TCA Sec. 20-16-101) in 2011 which purported to overrule Hannan.

Condolences to the Family of John Price:

We were saddened to learn of the passing of attorney John Price, a good person who practiced for many years in the public and private sector of the Rutherford-Cannon County Bar.  Combining his time as an Assistant District Attorney with his time in private practice, one would be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded and experienced attorney.  Mr. Price will be missed.

Condolences to the Family of Joe Brandon:

We were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of attorney Joe M. Brandon, Jr., a fine lawyer and a good man.  On a professional level, his experience and wisdom will be missed by the Rutherford-Cannon County Bar Association.  We here in Division III of the Circuit Court will miss seeing him in our Court, as he always brightened our day with his presence.

Chief Justice Sharon Lee Speaks to Local Groups in Murfreesboro:

On October 20, 2015, Tennessee Chief Justice Sharon Lee spoke at an event jointly sponsored by the Murfreesboro Downtown Barristers' Lions Club and the League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro.  The Chief Justice spoke on the topic of politics and the judiciary, expressing her view that politics has no place in the courtroom, because Judges do not make policy; rather, the Courts must follow the Constitution.  Additionally, the Chief Justice lamented the low voter turnout in America, noting that the recent Mayoral elections in Memphis and Nashville brought out less than 30% of vegistered voters.

Tennessee Supreme Court Rules that Void Judgments May be Enforced in Exceptional Circumstances:

In Turner v. Turner, an Opinion released on October 21, 2015, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that a party may not always be entitled to relief from a void judgment.  Specifically, the Court held that relief from a void judgment should be denied if the following exceptional circumstances exist: “(1) [t]he party seeking relief, after having had actual notice of the judgment, manifested an intention to treat the judgment as valid; and (2) [g]ranting the relief would impair another person’s substantial interest of reliance on the judgment.”

Tennessee Supreme Court Vacates Circuit Court's Ruling Finding Statutory Caps on Damages to be Unconstitutional:

In Clark, et al. v. Cain, et al., an Opinion released on October 16, 2015, the Tennessee Supreme Court has vacated a ruling by the Circuit Court for Hamilton County that found a State law putting a cap on certain personal injury damages was unconstitutional.  In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court held that the Circuit Court's decision regarding the constitutionality of the damages cap was premature, and remanded the case to the Circuit Court for the trial to be concluded, to see whether the jury decides to award damages to the Plaintiffs in excess of the statutory cap.

New Rule Allows Waiver of Court Hearing in Most Irreconcilable Differences Divorces with Children in Rutherford County:

The Trial Judges of the Sixteenth Judicial District have issued an Administrative Order allowing parties to obtain Irreconcilable Differences divorces in most cases involving minor children via Affidavit instead of personally appearing before the Court.  For additional information, please contact the Rutherford County Divorce Coordinator, Judy Reed, at (615) 848-5133.

Justice Gary R. Wade Announces Retirement from Tennessee Supreme Court :

Justice Gary R. Wade has announced that he plans to retire from the Tennessee Supreme Court in September.  Justice Wade has served on the State's High Court since 2006, and has been a member of the Tennessee Judiciary for the last 28 years.  For more information, please visit the Administrative Office of the Courts website.    

Justice Gary R. Wade


Clerk & Master of Cannon County Launches Official Facebook Page:

Nathan Nichols, Clerk & Master of the Cannon County Chancery Court, has launched a new Facebook page, in order to provide the citizens of Cannon County with improved access to the services offered by his office.


Clerk & Master Nathan Nichols

Chief Justice Lee Stresses Importance of Gender Equality in Legal Profession:

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee has challenged the legal profession to set the standard for all professions and make gender equality a top priority. Chief Justice Lee’s remarks were made on May 12, 2015, at the East Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women (ETLAW) annual Supreme Court luncheon. Attended by the Supreme Court justices; local trial, appellate, and magistrate judges; local attorneys; law professors; and students, the event is an annual opportunity for members of the bench and bar to get to know both the Supreme Court justices and ETLAW.  In her speech, Chief Justice Lee cited statistics from the July 2014 American Bar Association publication, A Current Glance at Women in the Law. She noted that although women make up 47% of law students and 45% of private practice associates, only 17% of equity partners are women. Most concerning, she said, is that female attorneys make only 79% of what their male counterparts pull in. There is even an 11% pay gap between female and male equity partners in the nation’s 200 largest firms.  For more information about the Chief Justice's remarks, visit the Administrative Office of the Courts website.

New Case Assignments in Rutherford County:

Beginning October 7, 2014, Circuit Court, Division IV (Judge Royce Taylor) will hear criminal cases, and Circuit Court, Division III (Judge Keith Siskin) will hear civil cases.  The other three Trial Judges will continue to hear cases as previously assigned: Circuit Court, Division I (Judge Mark Rogers) will hear civil cases; Circuit Court, Division II (Judge David Bragg) will hear criminal cases; and Chancellor Howard Wilson will hear civil cases.  Orders of Protection will continue to be heard by all of the Trial Judges.

Judge Siskin elected Presiding Judge of 16th Judicial District:

Beginning September 1, 2014, Judge Keith Siskin will assume the role of Presiding Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial District.  Pursuant to T.C.A. Sec. 16-2-509, the Trial Judges of each Judicial District elect one member of the Judiciary to serve as Presiding Judge each year.  The Presiding Judge is responsible for assigning cases to the other Judges in the District, and for taking any actions necessary to correct any condition adversely affecting the administration of justice in the District.  The Sixteenth Judicial District includes Rutherford and Cannon Counties.

Judge Siskin sworn in for upcoming term:

On August 19, 2014, Judge Siskin took the oath of office for his upcoming term on the Circuit Court, which begins on September 1, 2014.  The oath was administered at the Cannon County Courthouse by Senior Judge Don Ash.

Pictured, from left to right, are Circuit Judges Keith Siskin, David Bragg, and Royce Taylor, and Senior Judge Don Ash.

Justice Sharon Lee elected Chief Justice of Tennesse Supreme Court:

Beginning September 1, 2014, Justice Sharon Lee will assume the role of Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.  Justice Lee won a retention election for an eight-year term on the Court in the August 7, 2014 statewide election.

Justice Sharon Lee

United States Supreme Court upholds validity of traffic stop based on anonymous tip in 911 call:

Navarette v. California

Filed April 22, 2014

Special Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Appellate Judge Election Process:

Hooker, et al. v. Haslam, et al.

Filed March 17, 2014

United States Supreme Court rules that police can lawfully search a residence without a warrant based on one occupant's consent, even when the other occupant objects to the search prior to being removed from the premises by the police.

Fernandez v. California

February 25, 2014

Tennessee Supreme Court reinstates DUI charges against man who passed field sobriety tests.

State v. Bell

February 20, 2014

Tennessee Court of Appeals refers attorney to Board of Professional Responsibility for "improper statements made in the attorney’s appellate brief about the trial judge."

Green v. Champs-Elysees

February 18, 2014

Tennessee Supreme Court reverses burglary conviction because defendant entered victim's residence with victim's "effective consent" prior to robbery.

State v. Pope

December 30, 2013

Tennessee Supreme Court rules that case filed by plaintiff against Wal-Mart store for failing to protect plaintiff from an intoxicated customer in the parking lot can proceed.

Cullum v. McCool

December 18, 2013

United States Supreme Court reaffirms authority of State Courts to decide questions of federal constitutional and statutory issues, holding that "there is no intrinsic reason why the fact that a man is a federal judge should make him more competent, or conscientious, or learned...than his neighbor in the state courthouse."

Burt v. Titlow

November 5, 2013

Chancellor not seeking re-election:

Robert E. Corlew, III, the longest-serving member of the Sixteenth Judicial District trial court bench, has announced that he is retiring at the end of his present term.  Chancellor Corlew gave Judge Siskin his start in Rutherford County, hiring him as law clerk in 1997.

Tennessee Supreme Court upholds state's Voter ID Act:

City of Memphis, et al. v. Hargett, et al.

October 17, 2013

Governor Haslam establishes Commission for judicial appointments:

Executive Order No. 34

October 16, 2013

Judge Siskin Attends Judicial Academy, September 30, 2013

Tennessee Supreme Court sends murder case back to Davidson County trial court due to juror's facebook messages to witness during trial:

State v. Smith, September 10, 2013

Tennessee Supreme Court places grandparents on equal footing with parents in proceedings to modify exisiting visitation Orders:

Lovelace v. Copley, September 6, 2013  

Tennessee Supreme Court rules post-conviction relief not available in contempt cases:

Baker v. State, September 6, 2013

United States Supreme Court holds that a suspect’s failure to answer police questions can be used against him at trial in some circumstances.
Salinas v. Texas, June 17, 2013

United States Supreme Court expands circumstances under which federal courts can review state court proceedings involving ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
Trevino v. Thaler, May 28, 2013


Andrew T. Lee v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed October 3, 2014

Brisbon v. State

Order Dismissing Post-Conviction Relief Petition

Filed June 5, 2014

Alexander v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed May 7, 2014

Constantino-Gonzalez v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed April 30, 2014

State v. George Mikita

Corrected Sentencing Order and Findings of Fact

Filed March 24, 2014

State v. Marcus Robey

Sentencing Order and Findings of Fact

Filed March 19, 2014

Gary Wayne Bush v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed March 18, 2014

Candance Carol Bush v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed March 18, 2014

Tamir Clark v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed March 5, 2014

State v. Mark Tracy Looney

Sentencing Order and Findings of Fact

Filed March 4, 2014

Jimmy Heard v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed November 12, 2013

Derrick Campbell v. State

Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief

Filed October 8, 2013

State v. Nicholas Phillips

Sentencing Order and Findings of Fact

Filed September 24, 2013

Randy Ray McFarlin v. State
Order Denying Post-Conviction Relief
Filed July 23, 2013

State v. Roy Smith
Sentencing Order and Findings of Fact
Filed July 10, 2013

State v. Zachary Hendrixson
Memorandum and Restitution Order
Filed June 21, 2013

State v. Darrius Cane
Sentencing Order and Findings of Fact
Filed April 1, 2013

State v. Jose Cruz Cortez
Order Denying Motion to Suppress
Filed December 13, 2012