New judge will hear Mayor Ron Littlefield recall case

New judge will hear Mayor Ron Littlefield recall case

December 23rd, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in News

Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams has been assigned to hear Mayor Ron Littlefield's new challenge to a planned recall election.

The City Court Clerk's office confirmed Thursday that Williams' name was drawn by lot to hear the case.

"I don't have any problem with it," Littlefield said Thursday.

Last week, Littlefield sued the Hamilton County Election Commission in Circuit Court, trying to stop the scheduled August election.

The mayor's attorney said it is unclear whether Williams will hear the case.

"It remains to be seen on whether she wants to see it," said attorney Hal North, who said he was just speculating based on past history. Last year, he noted, a judge recused himself from hearing the case.

Williams could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Chris Clem, attorney for the Hamilton County Election Commission, was out of town and unavailable for comment.

Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth heard Littlefield's original case against the recall last year. He ruled for the mayor and halted the recall, but the groups who organized the petition drive -- Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Chattanooga Tea Party -- appealed.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled three months ago that the Hamilton County Election Commission should have had a chance to consider certifying the signatures on the recall petitions.

Election commissioners did that last month and set the recall date.

Jim Folkner, with Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, said Thursday he expects the court to uphold the election commission's decision. A fresh set of eyes on the case should be good for everyone involved, he said.

"I think it's probably a good idea for another judge to hear the case," he said.

Harry Burnette, Folkner's attorney, said he was not sure if Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield would intervene in the case since Littlefield filed it against the election commission.