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Front Page - Friday, April 29, 2016

Tennessee Court of Appeals implements new process for rotating judges on panels

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has restructured how it assigns cases to panels, providing more rotation of judges on cases from different parts of the state.

All cases before the Court of Appeals are considered by panels of three judges. Under the new approach, cases that are submitted on briefs without oral argument will be assigned to a panel that consists of one judge from each of the three grand divisions – east, middle and west. For oral argument cases, judges will sit at least once a year in all three sections.

The Court of Appeals comprises 12 judges, four from each of the three grand divisions. During the last fiscal year, the Court issued 728 opinions. The new procedure has been in the planning and implementation stage for over a year, and was fully implemented April 1.

Around 25 percent of the court’s cases are assigned on briefs only and the remainder have oral arguments. The new system is expected to ensure that more than 75 percent of the oral argument dockets consist of judges from two or more sections.

“These unification efforts will make the Court of Appeals even more effective for the State of Tennessee and its people,” said Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney. Judge Swiney added that the court considered many factors before implementing the change, including potential additional expense for travel.

Members of the Court of Appeals are: Kenny W. Armstrong, western section; Andy D. Bennett, middle section; Frank G. Clement, Jr., middle section; Richard H. Dinkins, middle section; Thomas R. Frierson, II, eastern section; Brandon O. Gibson, western section; Arnold B. Goldin, western section; W. Neal McBrayer, middle section; John W. McClarty, eastern section; J. Steven Stafford, western section; Charles D. Susano, Jr., eastern section; and D. Michael Swiney, eastern section.

Source: Tennessee Court of Appeals