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Rogersville attorney censured for lack of diligence, communication in inmate's case

Jeff Bobo • Jul 20, 2019 at 8:00 PM

ROGERSVILLE — The Tennessee Supreme Court issued a public censure against Rogersville attorney Gerald Eidson last week for failing adequately to communicate or act diligently for a client he represented in a post conviction appeal.

In 2015, Eidson was appointed to represent prison inmate Martin Ellison Hughes, who appealed his 2014 Hawkins County conviction on two counts of aggravated assault, claiming his 15-year sentence with 45 percent release eligibility was too long.

Hughes claimed that Eidson didn’t contact him about the appeal, and Eidson claimed that Hughes failed to respond to letters he sent him.

That appeal was dismissed in 2016 after Eidson failed to file a response to the state’s motion to dismiss.

Eidson later appealed that dismissal, which was overturned, and a new attorney was appointed to represent Hughes.

Hughes ultimately lost his appeal, although the appellate court stated in its ruling that Eidson’s performance as Hughes’ attorney was “unsatisfactory.”

In 2017, Hughes filed a complaint against Eidson with the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility.

On July 10, Eidson was publicly censured by the Supreme Court of Tennessee after accepting a conditional guilty plea acknowledging that his conduct violated Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct related to diligence, communication, and misconduct.

A public censure is a rebuke and warning to the attorney, but it does not affect the attorney’s ability to practice law.

Eidson, who has practiced law in Tennessee since 1995, was previously censured by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2006 for violating the rules of conduct pertaining to diligence and misconduct in a custody case.

In 2011, his law license was suspended for 90 days and placed on probation for a year for neglecting clients and failing to communicate with them.

He pleaded guilty in 2011 to violating Tennessee Supreme Court Rules of Professional Conduct pertaining to competence, diligence, communication, fees, expediting litigation, failing to respond to the Board of Professional Responsibility, and misconduct.

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