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Retired judge defending Hawkins court clerk says she will be vindicated

February 4th, 2014 6:55 pm by Jeff Bobo

Retired judge defending Hawkins court clerk says she will be vindicated

SARAH DAVIS

ROGERSVILLE — Retired Hawkins County circuit judge Kindall Lawson said Tuesday that Clerk of Courts Sarah Davis will be vindicated when her side of the story is told regarding her arrest Monday on a contempt of court charge.

Lawson, who retired from the judgeship last summer, has agreed to defend Davis on this charge.

Davis was arrested Monday evening on a contempt of court warrant issued by Hawkins County Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross stemming from a courtroom staffing dispute that escalated into a verbal altercation between Ross and Davis in her office on Jan. 30.

Instead of issuing Davis a citation, Ross’ warrant specifically called for her to be arrested.

She was booked into jail at 5:40 p.m. Monday before being released on her own recognizance 40 minutes later.

The court cost collection deputy clerk position that Ross requested in his courtroom on Jan. 30 was created by Davis and is not required by statute, Lawson said.

Lawson told the Times-News Tuesday that in 40 years on the bench he never heard of a clerk being arrested for failing to meet the staffing request of a judge.

“She works here with a total of six judges and one child support referee and certainly has always shown complete respect and dignity for and with all the judges and all the courts,” Lawson said. “She would never intentionally disrespect any of them. She doesn’t feel like she’s done anything wrong or committed contempt of court, and she feels that when she is heard on this fully that she will be vindicated.” 

Lawson said he wasn’t prepared Tuesday to comment on specific facts of the case. A March 27 court appearance has been set for Davis, and between now and then a special judge and a special prosecutor will have to be appointed.

Davis would prefer to have her case heard much sooner than March 27 due to the timing of this charge coinciding with campaign season for the May 6 county primary elections.

She is expected to be challenged in the Republican primary for the clerk of courts seat by Randy Collier, who is an investigator for the public defender’s office and Hawkins County Board of Education chairman.

“The timing of this charge is very inconvenient for her,” Lawson said. “She’s very anxious to be heard as soon as possible. It’s fair to say that there’s another side to the story.” 

For an expanded version of this article, please see Wednesday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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