published Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Recall judge denies appeal

by Cliff Hightower

A leader in an effort to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield said Tuesday he is unsure what the group’s next move will be after a judge’s ruling blocked any kind of election.

“We’ll have to have time to think about it,” said Jim Folkner, of Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield.

On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth denied an appeal asking him to reverse his decision that blocked an effort to recall Littlefield.

Hollingsworth wrote that there were two issues raised in the motion. The first was that a judge has no jurisdiction to block an election. Hollingsworth ruled that, under special circumstances, a judge can do so.

The second was that the mayor had no standing to bring the lawsuit to stop the election. Hollingsworth said Littlefield had every right to bring a lawsuit because of the financial obligations of running a mayoral campaign.

“Under the uncontested facts of this case, Ron Littlefield had standing to seek a declaratory judgment and injunction in the recall effort,” Hollingsworth wrote in his four-page opinion. “In addition, this court had jurisdiction to issue the declaratory judgment and the injunction.”

Harry Burnette, attorney for Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, said parts of the decision were “sort of baffling.”

“Some guy wanting to hold his job as mayor is not a special circumstance,” Burnette said.

Hal North, Littlefield’s attorney, said Tuesday there were special circumstances every step of the way because the proper processes had not been followed, such as making sure dates were on every signature submitted to the Hamilton County Election Commission.

Hollingsworth ruled last month that a question asking if voters wanted to recall Littlefield could not be placed on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. He said the recall petitioners had not gathered more than 15,000 signatures to force a recall, a number outlined by state law.

The groups involved in the recall effort need to talk, Burnette said Tuesday, but he did not know if they would want to appeal.

When asked why the group would appeal when the election is only two weeks away, Burnette said it would be more of a matter of principle.

North said he would not be shocked if this issue came to court again.

“I was shocked they did this,” he said, “so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did an appeal.”

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Marathon5454 said...

Hollingsworth.......Let the people decide. I totally understand that you are a political hack but you are voiding the people's will...........Let's recall the hack Hollingsworth

October 20, 2010 at 9:25 p.m.

This wasn't an appeal.

Appeals are never heard by the same judge whose ruling is being challenged.

Appeals are ALWAYS heard by a different judge, because the judge whose ruling is being questioned would obviously have a bias in upholding his own ruling, and thus could not serve as the judge in an appeal without bias and prejudice towards preserving his own ruling, and violating half a dozen judicial ethical standards and practices.

This was simply a procedure required by TN state law as a courtesy to allow the judge to have an opportunity to rethink his decision before it goes to an appeal.

If this was an appeal, and it was actually ruled on by the same judge whose ruling is being challenged then the city has even bigger problems than it can imagine.

October 21, 2010 at 9:48 a.m.
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