Area judges recuse themselves from Sheriff Anderson's lawsuit against Sullivan

J. H. Osborne • Sep 4, 2012 at 4:24 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The chief justice of Tennessee’s Supreme Court has been asked to appoint a special judge to sit for the $9.9 million lawsuit filed against Sullivan County last week by Sullivan County Sheriff Wayne Anderson.

That suit, in which Anderson is seeking what he says is the amount of additional money he needs to adequately fund the county jail and sheriff’s office as he is charged to do by state law, was filed in Sullivan County Circuit Court on Aug. 27.

That same day an order of recusal was filed in Circuit Court giving notice to the chief justice that all local chancery and circuit level judges “will recuse themselves from hearing the case.”

The order cites Tennessee Supreme Court rules in seeking the chief justice’s appointment of “a disinterested judge” to hear the case. Circuit Court Clerk Tommy Kerns said his office will be notified when the chief justice appoints a special judge. Near close of business on Friday, Kerns said that had not yet happened.

On the defense side, County Attorney Dan Street already had gone on record that it would be a conflict for him to represent the county against the sheriff’s office — which his duties often require him represent in other matters. With Street stepping aside, Street and County Mayor Steve Godsey — named as the defendant in his official capacity as mayor — have the authority to jointly sign off on a contract for outside legal representation.

Street said Godsey has been talking with a particular law firm about taking the case.

Read the expanded version of this report in today's print or enhanced editons of the Times-News.

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