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Ross denounces claims that contempt charge politically motivated

April 3rd, 2014 11:32 pm by Jeff Bobo

Ross denounces claims that contempt charge politically motivated

JUDGE J. TODD ROSS

Related story: Prosecutor's statements in court clerk contempt dismissal stricken from record

ROGERSVILLE — Hawkins County Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross said Thursday accusations that the arrest of Clerk of Court Sarah Davis on Feb. 3 was politically motivated and illegal are "irresponsible and unjustified."

Ross responded to remarks made by Davis and her attorney Kindall Lawson Thursday after the motion to dismiss a contempt charge against her was filed.

"For someone who served as a judge for so many years to insinuate that a judge is only a judge when he is in his courtroom is absolutely absurd and shows to what extent Mr. Lawson will go to represent his client," Ross said. "If Mr. Lawson will take the time to review Tenn. Rules of Crim. Proc. 42, he will see that the Court handled this matter to the letter of the law. It was Sarah Davis that chose the time and location of this conflict, not the court. This matter could have been so easily avoided if she would have just allowed the cost collection clerk to do her job."

Ross noted that the court is set up so that each defendant found guilty of a crime meets with both the cost collection clerk and the probation officer prior to leaving the courtroom.

"This has been the practice since we both took office in 2012," Ross said. "The list of witnesses interviewed shows that nine members of the clerk's office were interviewed about what occurred. To my knowledge, only one of those was absent on Jan. 30, and one was in the courtroom. That leaves seven deputy clerks and Mrs. Davis in the Clerk's office."

Ross added, "When I entered the clerk's office to inquire about the absence of the collections clerk, all of the deputy clerks were at their desks, save for Mrs. Davis and one deputy clerk who were conversing at the front counter. There were no members of the public in the Clerk's office."

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

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