Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Verdict in Knox County Commission Lawsuit

Just after 1:00 this afternoon, I was told that a verdict is in by the jury hearing the Knoxville News-Sentinel's suit under the "sunshine law" against the corrupt Knox County Commission.

Let's hope that a Knox County jury is more able than the infamous juries in California...

UPDATE: 1:22 P.M. - The jury is set to announce the verdict shortly. I assume we are waiting on all parties to make their way to the City-County Building.

UPDATE: 1:30 P.M. - Overflow crowd in the courtroom. Looks like we're waiting on Chancellor Fansler and for the jury.

UPDATE: 1:43 P.M. - It's a complete and total loss by the Knox County Commission. It doesn't appear that the corrupt Knox County Commission won on ANY of the individual charges against them. (For those who are unfamiliar with earlier developments, Chancellor Fansler put the question of the validity of the appointments to the jury on each and every appointee. Thus, the terminology of "individual charges.")

UPDATE: 1:47 P.M. - A complete victory for the Plaintiffs in this case, and when I say that, I mean those of us who live in Knox County who give a damn about our government and see it as a body of the people, by the people, and for the people. With the notable exceptions of Larry Smith and Mark Hammond, the rest of the commission should get the boot. We won't know what remedy that Chacnellor Fansler will decree for a few days now, but I would expect that he will act to the extent that the law allows.

I predicted before this suit was even initiated that 1) "sunshine law" violations had occurred, 2) the egos of the corrupt Knox County Commissioners would prevent them from rectifying the situation, and 3) the appropriate remedy would be to invalidate all business discussed at the meeting and all actions taken by the commission since January to the extent possible. It is my belief that the law provides for that remedy, and I will be curious as to if Chancellor Fansler sees it that way, as well.

I know that much of the commentary - from Jack McElroy of the KNS, from David Oatney, from Michael Silence, and from those politicians in Knox County - is yet to come, but I want to be clear on one thing. This obviously was a loss for Scott Moore, Tim Hutchison, and their brethren, but this should not be viewed as a win for any other politicians. I know that someone is going to say that this is a win for Mike Ragsdale, but he was not a plaintiff in this suit. In fact, commissioners loyal to Ragsdale were also found in violation of the statute. Both sides of the Hutchison v. Ragsdale feud lost today. The winners were the people of Knox County.

Finally, I want to thank the people who sat on this jury. Jury duty isn't easy, folks. It's a major interruption in one's life. Plus, proof in this case was provided over three weeks, and some of the legal issues were rather thick at times (partly because the defense tried to make it that way). It's great to live in a place where juries are effective, because not everywhere has that resource (I'm talking to you, California).


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