Knox County judge at center of charter controversy

Knox County judge at center of charter controversy

Judge Jimmy Kyle Davis Judge Jimmy Kyle Davis

June 23, 2006

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Three weeks after a chancery court ruling invalidating the Knox County charter, the fallout continues in many areas. The latest person affected by the ruling is General Sessions Judge Jimmy Kyle Davis.

Davis was appointed to the bench by the county commission using the rules of the charter. He took over in February after Judge Brenda Waggoner retired for health reasons. 

Friday afternoon, three of the four elected general sessions judges met to decide what the ruling means to the court system.

Judge Geoffrey Emory, Judge Chuck Cerny and Judge Bob McGee made it clear they did not have the authority to remove Judge Davis from the bench.

Due to the unusual nature of the proceeding, it had to be held in the old Knox County Courthouse.

Making his argument, Knoxville attorney Greg Isaacs said, "You have a document that is void as a matter of law." 

Isaacs said since the Knox County charter is invalid, per Chancellor Weaver's June 9 ruling, then the county commission's appointment of Jimmy Kyle Davis is also invalid.

"That person that had never been elected and that was appointed by the power of a void document has placed people in jail," Isaacs said.

For the state, Special Counselor John Gill argued it doesn't matter whether the charter is valid or not. Gill said the commission's authority comes from the Tennessee Constitution.

The elected judges agreed.

Judge Bob McGee said, "The authority of the county commission to deal with the Knox County judicial system has never been by law can not be controlled by the charter."

Isaacs said he will talk to his clients but expects to take his motion to a higher court.

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