Tyree B. Harris, IV v. Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee

Tyree B. Harris, IV v. Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee
M2020-01113-SC-R3-BP

In this appeal from attorney disciplinary proceedings, the hearing panel found that the attorney’s testimony about his income in a juvenile court proceeding to reduce his child support obligation violated Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 8, RPC 8.4(c).  The hearing panel said that the attorney’s answers were carefully crafted to give the appearance of literal truth but were in fact dishonest in that they intentionally omitted relevant information fairly called for in the questions.  The hearing panel found that the presumptive sanction was disbarment, but it reduced the sanction to a one-year suspension in light of the attorney’s prior unblemished forty-year legal career.  The attorney appealed the hearing panel’s decision to the circuit court, which affirmed.  The attorney now appeals to this Court.  He maintains that, in context, his answers were truthful and responsive to the specific questions asked, and that there was no violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  He also contends that the sanction imposed by the hearing panel is overly harsh and an abuse of discretion.  We affirm the trial court’s judgment upholding the hearing panel’s decision.

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Holly Kirby
Originating Judge: 
Senior Judge William B. Acree
Date Filed: 
Friday, April 29, 2022