Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


Monday Morning Coming Down

With apologies to Kris Kristofferson

9:35 Fansler gives the jury instructions about the closing argument process.

9:35 Mr. Hollow goes first. Hollow says that his case is that the Open Meetings Act was violated by the Knox County Commission between Jan 12 and Jan 31. He arrived at his case by reviewing video and audio tapes of the Commission meetings,and reviewing the depositions of the people involved.

"systematic,studied and deliberate exclusion of the citizens from the process of government."
"Orgy of political power."

Cites Commissioner Hammond's testimony.

Surprisingly few Commissioners in attendence, but several members of the election commission are here.

Reviews the history of the charter and the term limits fracas. Stresses that there was no time limit imposed by the Tennessee Supreme Court on replacing the term limited commissioners and county wide officers.

9:46 Scott Moore shows up.

Mr.Hollow claims that the "gentleman's agreement" to allow the term limited commissioners to pick their successors was "an abdication of their {the whole commission] responsibility," as it took the burden that the state constitution granted to th "legislative body"and placed it on only two people. That argument strikes me as pretty weak. If two people decide for their district, then the whole commission ratifies that decision,then the whole commission was involved.

Mr. Hollow goes into detail on the Scott Moore written letter calling for a special meeting of the commission on the 31st, how he had commissioners electronically sign the letter without ever reading it. Then he goes into the agenda for the meeting, pointing out that the agenda never went through a committee; it was written and accepted solely by Chairman Moore.

Mr. Hollow talks about the rules of the Jan 31st meeting, pointing out that the rules promulgated by Chairman Moore excluded the citizens. This argument is relying on an emotional response rather than the law. The Commission was well within its authority to appoint the commissioners without public input. The case is that the appointment process should have been public and open.

Mr. Hollow now points out that the rules forbade deliberations in the public meeting of Jan 31st. He asks if there could be no deliberations during the meeting, then the only time commissioners could have deliberated was during breaks and before the meeting.This argument speaks to the heart of the case. If no deliberations were allowed during the meeting, then when did they deliberate?

Mr. Hollow points out that J. J. Jones knew well in advance of the meeting that he would be the sheriff, based on the invitations sent out, no other nominations, 18-0-1 vote.

10:05 Mr. Hollow goes over the fee office appointments. He reminds the jury of the testimony from Mr. Emgee who was interested in the Register of Deeds office. He was told by his commissioner, Greg Lambert, that the deal was already done, and the vote on the 31st bore that out.

10:07 Mr. Hollow then looks at the appointment of Billy Tindell as County Clerk. Tindell will not run for re-election, and Scott Moore, who is term limited as Commissioner announces that he will run for Clerk.This finally explains to me why they voted Tindell into the Clerk's position even though it created the deadlocks in the 4th district; Moore wanted his future job held safely.

10:11 Mr. Hollow moves on to the 4th district. He points out that there was no motion, second, and vote to amend the agenda to handle the 4th district first. He points out that Diane Jordan changed her vote from Davis to Cate on the seat 4a balloting.

10:14 Mr. Hollow discusses the recess. He shows a photo of Pinkston talking to Jordan during the recess,and says that they were obviously talking about football. The crowd chuckles.The gallery is now full. Notes that after the recess conversation with Pinkston, Jordan switches her vote to Tramel. Then after another recess, the vote on seat 4b is moved to the back of the agenda.

10:20 Mr. Hollow points out that two commissioners recall that Josh Jordan was the predetermined candidate for the 1st district seat, even though the commissioners from the 1st, strickland and Jordan, do not remember it that way.

10:22 Mr.Hollow brings us to District 2 and Chuck Bolus. Points out that on the third ballot, Mr. Bolus has only 6 votes. Then there is a recess. No debate, no discussion, no deliberation inpublic, but them Mr. Bolus gets 11 votes. "During that recess, he picks up 5 votes. But do they bother to tell you how he got those 5 votes?"

10:25 Revisits the attempt to swear in Richard Cate early. Points out that this in itself was direct evidence of deliberation outside the public eye. Connects it to Bolus swearing in.

10:28 Mr. Hollow points out the "mystic appearance" of "Prince" John Valliant and the sudden materialization of the oath form without any act of volition on Chucky Bolus's part. "That stinks to high heaven."

10:31 Mr. Hollow points out that Scott Davis was allowed to speak when he withdrew his name.

10:34 Mr.Hollow goes into the Leuthold-Sisk situation and calls the $17k raise a "coincidence."

10:38 Mr. Hollow goes through the other appointments and points out when and where commissioners have admitted to deliberating under oath.

10:39 Mr. Hollow details the nominating committee process from the 9th district. Mr. Hollow says there was no number two man on the list of two. He must not have been listening to Hubert Smith's show on Sunday, where the second name, Charles Swann, was broken by Hubert on the air.

10:44 Mr. Hollow is harping on the fact that the commissioners in the 9th abdicated their responsibility.Again, this argument is weak, as the commissioners had the legal right to appoint whoever they wanted.

10:46 Mr. Hollow closes by pointing out that the statute says no deliberations or decision can be made in chance meetings, then points out how all the seats decided without controversy were evidence that decisions and deliberations made outside the public view. "What we're looking for is some sort of message through the only vehicle we have to tell these defendants to obey the law...Give us the courtesy of allowing our government to let us see how it is being run."

10:49 10 Minute Break.

11:00 Mr.Moncier begins his closing.
Again reviews the history of term limits. Moncier stresses the actions of the commissioners in holding on to their seats, challenging term limits, challenging the charter, and so on. "They fought it with every piece of your tax dollars."

"The people were the pawns of the people who owned your government."

11:09 Moncier gives a multimedia closing. "This trial is the equivalent of the American Revolution in Knox County."Wow. Herb is pulling out all the stops for this close. He's not arguing the law at all, making a purely emotional appeal to the jury.

11:14 Mr. Moncier disagrees with Commissioner Guthe. Friday the 12th was not Black Friday, that was Liberation Day. Friday the 19th was Black Friday.

11:19 "What the people have done is...put their government on trial."

11:22 Mr.Moncier is using slides to point out the inconsistencies in Chairman Moore's testimony. Then he attempts to quote Bismark about the law ans sausage, but it doesn't go very well.

11:26 Mr. Moncier takes on the gentleman's agreement by pointing out that we don't have nine counties in Knox County, and since commissioners from one district spends every district's tax dollars, then all commissioners have to act on all issues, including appointments.This argument is more entertaining coming from Moncier, but just as weak.

11:28 Mr. Moncier references Josh Jordan's issues twice without identifying them.

11:37 Mr. Moncier reminds the jury of Pinkston's testimony that he couldn't remember what he talked about with Moore and Lambert, but it wasn't about appointments.

11:30 "They stole your government, pure and simple."

11:40 Mr. Moncier deals with the Sisk Leuthold deal. again with the innuendo without any prof of wrong doing.

"...the immaculate conception of the oath..."

11:44 Mr. Moncier points out that Chairman Moore testified that he didn't know that Bolus was getting sworn in, despite testimony from Commissioner Smith. He also asks why Moore didn't end the 2 minute recess until Bolus was back from the swearing in.

11:47 There's a new sheriff in town, and his name isn't J.J. Jones; it's Scott Moore. Mr.Moncier is charging that if Tim Hutchinson has truly left the political scene, then Scott Moore has filled the power vacuum.

11:52 Again with Josh Jordan's background.

11:55 Mr. Moncier makes the point that all of the commissioners violated the Open Meetings Act.

11:57 Mr.Moncier points out that he likes Frank Leuthold, but believes the process by which he was appointed was wrong.

12:02 Mr. Moncier says he's almost glad Commissioner Lambert didn't give up his phone records because it would have taken him forever to investigate it. He points out that Pinkston and Harmon didn't turn over all of their phone records either.

12:05 The jury is beginning to look bored again. Moncier is running a series of pictures of the major players and commenting. There's no continuity to his close, making it hard to follow.

12:08 Mr. Moncier points out the Ms. Mary Anne Stackhouse said in her opening that she would cal all the commissioners,and he wants to know why she didn't call Lee Tramel or Richard Cate.

12:09 "Where is your defense Ms Stackhouse?"

12:11 Commissioner Schmid is a hero.

12:14 Mr. Moncier concludes. He wants to know what gave Chairman Moore the right to deliberate and discuss the appointments in private, thereby depriving the Knox County citizens of their rights. He also wants to know who proposed the rules of the agenda, and who voted on it.

"Chairman Moore said,'Here's how we're going to do it,' and 12 kangaroos followed him!"
Posted by Rich
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