By BRIAN GRAVES
Two significant legal hearings have now been scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Cleveland city courtroom, and both could potentially mark an end to the issues with which they are …
Two significant legal hearings have now been scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Cleveland city courtroom, and both could potentially mark an end to the issues with which they are involved.
Special Judge Don Ash will preside over a hearing to determine if the motions made by Sheriff Eric Watson to dismiss charges against him made by the state concerning car titles will be sustained.
"New supplemental pleadings were filed by the state and we have a motion to dismiss those," said attorney James Logan who is serving as Watson's legal counsel. "We do not believe they are in compliance with the statute and the indictments are fallacious. We are hopeful they will be dismissed."
Logan said Ash has already delayed the hearing "a couple of times at the request of the state."
"We believe that hearing will commence sometime around 11 a.m.," Logan said.
The case immediately preceding that hearing will also bring an outside judge into Bradley County as well as a prominent Constitutional question.
Roane County Circuit Court Judge Mike Pemberton will preside over a hearing in that same Cleveland city courtroom concerning motions for summary judgment on the case which was filed by Pastor Guinn Green of the Kinser Church of God and Commissioner Howard Thompson in February 2016, contesting the state's marriage laws.
The two filed their case shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the legality of same-sex marriage.
"The case is against County Clerk Donna Simpson, but this does not mean they have anything against her," Logan said. "They are trying to have our marriage laws declared unconstitutional under the Tennessee Constitution."
Simpson has been required by law to issue same-sex marriage licenses since the nation's highest court made their decision. That is why she is being sued in her capacity as county clerk.
"This creates a lot of different issues and a lot of different problems," he said.
That hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m.
"We really appreciate the city fathers allowing us to use those facilities for these very important issues," Logan said. "They are not necessarily dispositive, but potentially dispositive in each case."
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