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.”
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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 a resounding win for First Amendment freedom and a free press, the defamation lawsuit filed against beloved Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn has been dismissed outright by Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Kelvin Jones. The costs of the lawsuit were also assessed against Plaintiff Tom Loftis, the aggrieved former director of The Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts at Nashville State Community College, who had sued Mr. Rayburn for a whopping $1.5 million over a March 2, 2016 Tennessean article that had reported that the program was turning out unqualified students.
The lawsuit, first reported by the Nashville Business Journal, drew national media coverage due in part to its “extraordinarily innocuous subject matter.” According to one media outlet, the lawsuit’s “attempt to fashion a libel lawsuit out of nothing bears far more resemblance to those filed by plaintiffs with fools for lawyers.” The Plaintiff in the case was represented by Nashville attorneys Gary Blackburn and Bryant Kroll.
In his ruling from the bench dismissing the lawsuit against Mr. Rayburn, Judge Jones noted that under Tennessee law, an allegedly defamatory statement must “be read as a person of ordinary intelligence would understand it in light of the surrounding circumstances.” Judge Jones also observed that whether a statement is capable of being understood as defamatory “is a question of law to be determined by the court.” Finding that Mr. Loftis’s Complaint could not satisfy these standards, Judge Jones dismissed Mr. Loftis’s lawsuit with prejudice and assessed him the costs of the litigation.
Said Daniel Horwitz, Mr. Rayburn’s lead counsel: “We are pleased that this baseless lawsuit has come to a quick and much-deserved end. The legal system should not be used to litigate hurt feelings or to deter people from speaking to the media. We are grateful that Judge Jones dismissed this frivolous lawsuit at its first appearance, and we are thrilled that Mr. Rayburn will be able to recommit his full attention to doing what he loves: running wonderful restaurants, serving his community, and feeding delicious food to his grateful patrons.”
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 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:
By TONY GONZALEZ • NOV 14, 2016
More than a decade has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the so-called “sodomy” laws that made it criminal to engage in homosexual sex — and even longer since Tennessee took that step.
Yet traces of those prosecutions linger, with charges logged in court files and subject to background searches. In Nashville, that includes convictions against 41 men from the 1980s and 90s.
Nashville, Tennessee—The Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners has officially withdrawn its threatened enforcement action against on-demand beauty services provider Project Belle (“Belle”), green-lighting the company’s business practices and enabling its continued growth throughout the State of Tennessee. Represented by Nashville attorney Daniel Horwitz, Belle responded to the Board’s formal demand that it pay a fine and cease and desist from operating by invoking Belle’s constitutional rights to conduct business free from protectionist governmental interference. The hard-fought victory is featured in Forbes, The Nashville Business Journal, Reason, The Daily Signal, The Tennessean, and other media outlets.
Based on the complaint of a competitor that Belle was introducing “highly disturbing” competition for customers into the market for beauty services, the Board had claimed that the Tennessee Cosmetology Act of 1986 prohibited Belle from facilitating the purchase of cosmetology services in the privacy of a customer’s home. Accordingly, the Board demanded that Belle pay a civil fine, waive its right to judicial review, and cease and desist from operating. Instead, Belle lawyered up and formally contested the Board’s allegations, causing it to “reconsider” its threatened enforcement action. The Board’s decision to permanently withdraw its demand and close the case soon followed.
Photo Credit: Jessica Steddom
“We are extremely pleased that the Board of Cosmetology has withdrawn its unlawful and overzealous threats against Project Belle, whose only crime has ever been to provide eager customers with convenient, premium quality beauty services at competitive prices in the privacy of their own homes,” said Daniel Horwitz, Belle’s attorney. “No government agency should be in the business of preventing popular, innovative businesses from serving willing customers just to protect entrenched industry competitors from competition. We look forward to working with the General Assembly in the coming months to make clear that the Board lacks the authority to deprive healthy, able-bodied consumers of their right to purchase their desired beauty services whenever and wherever they please.”
“The Board has decided to dismiss its complaint and Belle will continue its operations and growth efforts in Nashville,” said Armand Lauzon, Belle’s founder and CEO. “We are delighted by the Board’s decision. It means that beauty professionals who have built businesses with us can continue their success, and our clients can continue enjoying services that many of them desperately need. It also means that economic growth and innovation can continue expanding in Tennessee. We are proud to have helped pave the way on this important issue.”
Read more about the case below:
Constitutional lawyer Daniel A. Horwitz has been appointed to a four-year term on the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
State Advisory Committee members conduct reviews and produce reports and recommendations concerning state and local civil rights issues, including justice, voting, discrimination, housing, and education. By Congressional mandate, the Commission establishes Advisory Committees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Appointees to State Advisory Committees serve renewable four-year terms.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights matters and issuing a federal civil rights enforcement report. For information about the Commission and its State Advisory Committees, please visit http://www.usccr.gov.
The Commission appointed:
Harvard Law School has published Daniel Horwitz’s article: Actually, Padilla Does Apply to Undocumented Defendants, 19 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 1 (2016), in the Spring 2016 edition of the Harvard Latino Law Review. The article, accessible here, argues that the right to the effective assistance of counsel outlined in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), applies to undocumented defendants. Its abstract is as follows:
In Padilla v. Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court held that non-citizen defendants who plead guilty as a consequence of having received incompetent immigration advice are entitled to withdraw their pleas if they can “convince the court that a decision to reject the plea bargain would have been rational under the circumstances.” To date, however, a nearly unanimous line of authority that includes two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, seven U.S. District Courts, trial and appellate courts in four states, and at least one academic scholar has concluded in some form or fashion that “Padilla applies only to those who were present in the country lawfully at the time of the plea.” Specifically, these authorities have reasoned that because “a guilty plea does not increase the risk of deportation” for undocumented defendants, “in a situation where a defendant seeks to withdraw a plea based on Padilla, and alleges lack of knowledge of the risk of deportation, prejudice cannot be established[.]” In other words, these authorities conclude, regardless of either the breadth or the magnitude of their counsel’s incompetent immigration advice, undocumented defendants are never entitled to relief under Padilla because they are categorically incapable of satisfying Padilla’s “prejudice” prong.
These contrary authorities notwithstanding, however, this Article argues that Padilla does apply to undocumented defendants. Four reasons are offered to support this view. First, the contrary conclusion neglects the legal and practical reality that a guilty plea frequently does increase the risk of deportation for undocumented defendants. Second, regardless of the fact that there are myriad situations in which a guilty plea can cause an undocumented defendant to be deported who otherwise would not have been, the test for prejudice under Padilla is not whether a non-citizen defendant would have been deported anyway; instead, the applicable test is whether “a decision to reject the plea bargain would have been rational under the circumstances.” Third, the contention that Padilla does not protect undocumented defendants undermines the underlying purpose of the right to effective assistance of counsel itself: to prevent inaccurate convictions. Fourth, Padilla held without equivocation that: “It is our responsibility under the Constitution to ensure that no criminal defendant — whether a citizen or not — is left to the ‘mercies of incompetent counsel,’” and because this holding expressly includes undocumented defendants, lower courts lack the authority to ignore it.
Taken together, this Article concludes that future courts should reject the prevailing view that Padilla does not apply to undocumented defendants and should hold instead that undocumented defendants’ Padilla claims must be carefully reviewed for prejudice on a case-by-case basis.