Calvin Bryant—a beloved college student and high school football star whose sentence garnered national attention for its purposeless cruelty after he received a 17-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense—was released from prison on October 31, 2018. Mr. Bryant’s release was made possible after his attorney, Daniel Horwitz, brokered a deal with Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk that enabled him to be released seven years early.
Due to the severity of Tennessee’s Drug Free School Zone Act—an intensely punitive sentencing enhancement that has nothing to do with protecting children, places drug offenses on par with the most severe, violent crimes, and can be applied to virtually every drug transaction that occurs within a Tennessee city—Mr. Bryant received a prison sentence for a low-level drug transaction that was longer than he would have received if he had committed Rape or Second Degree murder. His case attracted widespread calls for reform after it exposed prosecutors’ arbitrary use of the enhancement and its racially disparate application.
“This would not have been possible without a DA sticking his neck out to right this wrong, and without a legion of supporters,” Horwitz told The Tennessean. “This is—and I’m not exaggerating— the most unfair sentence I have ever seen. There is simply no circumstance in which it makes sense to punish a first-time, nonviolent drug offender more harshly than a rapist or a murderer.”
After his release, Bryant immediately re-enrolled at Tennessee State University to finish his degree and established a non-profit organization aimed at curbing youth violence and steering kids away from gangs and drugs. Selected media coverage of Mr. Bryant’s case appears below.
Selected Media Coverage:
–Nashville Scene: Council Members Petition Judge Over Drug-Free School Zone Case
–Families Against Mandatory Minimums: Calvin Bryant: 17 Years for a First Offense
In a landmark victory against a decades-old Tennessee election statute, Horwitz client Tennesseans for Sensible Election Laws—a non-partisan PAC that aims to “protect all Tennesseans’ rights to participate in the political process without unreasonable interference from the state government”—has secured an injunction prohibiting the State of Tennessee from favoring partisan speakers. The effect of the Court’s ruling is that non-partisan PACs are now able to make direct campaign contributions during the most critical period before an election—something that partisan PACs have been able to do for decades. The Tennessean has more: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/09/27/nashville-judge-rules-against-tennessee-lawsuit-over-blackout-period-pacs/1437231002/
Daniel Horwitz is a campaign finance and election lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below. If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:
Selected Case Documents:
Selected Media Coverage:
-Nashville Post: Court strikes down ‘blackout period’ campaign finance provision
In another resounding win, celebrated Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn has again beaten back a multi-million dollar defamation and false light lawsuit filed against him by Thomas Nathan Loftis, Sr., the former director of Nashville State’s culinary program. In a unanimous ruling, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed the outright dismissal of Mr. Loftis’s claims on the basis that Loftis had advanced a “far-fetched and not a reasonable interpretation” of the statements that he had sued over, and that “the statements in the newspaper article are not defamatory as a matter of law.” The Court of Appeals also ordered Mr. Loftis to pay for the costs of the lawsuit, and it further ordered the Trial Court to determine whether Loftis must pay Mr. Rayburn’s legal fees.
Given the serious threat that the case posed to the viability of newsgathering in Tennessee, the lawsuit attracted national attention from First Amendment organizations like The First Amendment Center’s Newseum Institute and TechDirt. The Court of Appeals’ decision constitutes a total victory and complete vindication for Mr. Rayburn, who has maintained that the lawsuit was frivolous from the beginning. “We’re thrilled about this resounding win, which fully vindicates Mr. Rayburn and the First Amendment yet again,” said Daniel Horwitz, Mr. Rayburn’s attorney. “Filing a lawsuit this frivolous was a very poor decision, and unfortunately for Mr. Loftis, it is about to become an expensive one as well.”
Daniel Horwitz is a First Amendment and speech defense lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below. If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:
Selected Case Documents:
Selected Media Coverage:
-Nashville Business Journal: Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn faces $1.5 million lawsuit
-Nashville Business Journal: Judge dismisses $1.5M suit against well-known restaurateur
-First Amendment Center’s Newseum Institute: Unusual Defamation Suit Targets Source of Story
In a landmark ruling, the Tennessee Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the special election to fill the vacancy in the Nashville Mayor’s office must be held in May. The ruling comes on the heels of Tennessee’s high court opting to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction and review the case on an expedited basis.
“We are grateful that the Tennessee Supreme Court has issued a powerful, persuasive, and unanimous opinion vindicating Mr. Wallace’s claim that the Charter is clear and that Metro Government cannot unilaterally nullify a referendum supported by 83% of voters,” said Daniel Horwitz, Wallace’s attorney. “Hopefully, the next time around, Metro Legal will respect the will of the citizens that they are supposed to represent.”
If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:
Selected Case Documents
Selected Media Coverage
-The Nashville Scene: Supreme Court: Mayoral Election Must Be Held in May
-The Nashville Post: Supreme Court moves mayoral election to May
-The Nashville Business Journal: Supreme Court strikes down August mayoral election date
-Nashville Business Journal: Tennessee Supreme Court to decide fate of Nashville mayoral election
-Nashville Post: Supreme Court will decide mayoral election date
-Nashville Scene: Metro Legal Could Cost the City Money for Another Election
Represented by attorney Daniel Horwitz, Tennessee bar applicant Maximiliano Gluzman—the “obviously very, very qualified” Vanderbilt Law School graduate who was denied the opportunity even to take the Tennessee Bar Exam—has officially won his case before the Tennessee Supreme Court. Based on the Court’s order approving his petition, Mr. Gluzman will be able to take the upcoming bar exam scheduled for February 2018.
“We conclude that the requirements of section 7.01 should not be applied to preclude Mr. Gluzman from taking the Tennessee bar examination,” the Court held in a per curiam order. “As a result, the BLE may not hereafter rely upon section 7.01 of Rule 7 as a basis to deny Mr. Gluzman permission to take the Tennessee bar examination.” The Court’s order is available here.
“We are ecstatic that the Tennessee Supreme Court has vindicated Mr. Gluzman’s claim that he was wrongfully denied the opportunity to take the Tennessee Bar Exam,” said Daniel Horwitz, Mr. Gluzman’s attorney. “Mr. Gluzman is as qualified to practice law as any attorney in Tennessee, and he will be a tremendous asset to the legal profession. Justice was served today.”
The briefing in Gluzman v. BLE featured the participation of three leading national conservative groups, which argued that the Board’s crippling regulations violated Mr. Gluzman’s fundamental right to earn a living free from irrational government overreach. Tennessee’s two flagship law schools—Vanderbilt Law School and the University of Tennessee College of Law—also filed petitions in the case after seeing students disenroll from their law programs once the Board began implementing its protectionist regulations.
Daniel Horwitz is a constitutional lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below. If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:
Selected news coverage about the ruling is available at the following links:
-Nashville Post: Supreme Court rules Argentine can take Tennessee Bar
-Nashville Post: Argentine lawyer challenging Tennessee Board of Law Examiners
-Nashville Post: National conservative groups join local bar fight
-The Tennessean: How Tennessee discriminated against a talented Vanderbilt law grad
-Cato At Liberty Blog: Even Lawyers Have the Right to Earn an Honest Living
-Beacon Center Blog: Banned From the Bar Exam
Daniel A. Horwitz is a constitutional lawyer practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the recipient of the 2018 Harris Gilbert Award from the Tennessee Bar Association and a nationally renowned impact litigator. Horwitz has also been recognized by the American Bar Association as one of the top 40 young lawyers in the United States. His selected case history is available here.
Horwitz is a graduate of Cornell University and Vanderbilt Law School. He is admitted to practice law in every court in Tennessee as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits. A former judicial law clerk for the Tennessee Supreme Court, Horwitz’s award-winning legal scholarship has appeared in numerous law journals including the Harvard Latino Law Review, the University of Memphis Law Review, the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy, the SMU Science and Technology Law Review, the Tennessee Bar Journal, and the Nashville Bar Journal. His work has also been cited in several other legal and popular publications including the Washington Post, NPR, the Associated Press, the American Bar Association Journal, Forbes, the Nashville Business Journal, The Tennessean, the Nashville Post, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, The Nashville Scene, Slate, and in multiple pleadings filed before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Horwitz’s law practice consists primarily of speech defense, criminal and civil appeals, constitutional litigation, amicus curiae representation, criminal record expungement, and representing victims of crime. He is also a sitting member of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and an active member of numerous community organizations in Nashville including the Amicus Curiae Committee of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL), which regularly handles appeals before the Tennessee Supreme Court on behalf of TACDL’s membership.
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In a blistering segment aired by WSMV-Channel 4 on July 28, 2017, attorney Daniel Horwitz spoke out against a Judge in White County, Tennessee, who is using jail time as leverage to coerce defendants into getting sterilized.
“This program is outrageous,” Horwitz said in the segment. “It is morally indefensible, and it’s illegal. Coerced consent is not the same thing as consent, and using jail time as a means of getting someone to submit to sterilization is not acceptable in any regard.”
“I think it is unconscionable that anyone would tolerate a judge or a criminal justice system that coerces people into relinquishing their reproductive rights in order to gain their freedom,” Horwitz added. “I want this entire order rescinded in its entirety, and I want this judge, Judge Benningfield, to seriously consider whether he needs to be on the bench any longer.”
In response to a lawsuit filed on March 3, 2017 by attorney Daniel Horwitz on behalf of Plaintiff Dustin Owens—who was issued a citation in early February for displaying what a Metro Nashville Police Officer claimed was “an obscene bumper sticker”—lawyers for the city of Nashville have conceded that “Mr. Owens is correct that the bumper sticker at issue does not fit the criteria of ‘obscene and patently offensive’ as those terms are defined in Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-187 and under relevant First Amendment jurisprudence.” As a result, Metro has agreed to dismiss Mr. Owens’ citation and accept a declaratory judgment that the bumper sticker at issue “is protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.” Under the parties’ settlement agreement, Metro will also pay for the costs of Mr. Owens’ lawsuit.
Said Horwitz, Mr. Owens’ counsel: “The statute under which Mr. Owens was cited is facially unconstitutional. Hard-core censorship of this nature also has no place in a free society. We’re ecstatic about this victory, and we appreciate Metro’s prompt concession that the position taken by Mr. Owens’ arresting officer was nakedly meritless.”
Daniel Horwitz is a First Amendment lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below. If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form: