Lawyers accused of dragging feet in ethics case - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Lawyers accused of dragging feet in ethics case

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Going nowhere sums up the lack of progress a Shelby County ethics panel made during a contentious meeting Tuesday with a special assistant county attorney and the attorney for Commissioner Sidney Chism.

The panel must decide if Commissioner Chism  violated the county's ethics code by casting votes on contract funding while he was the owner of a Memphis daycare center.

One of the three judge panel described the results of the hour -long meeting as "spinning our wheels in a pile of mud." But, there was also plenty of legal "mudslinging" from opposing attorneys over who or who hasn't submitted discovery evidence in the now nearly month old case.

MORE: Chism calls for dismissal of ethics charges
MORE: Commissioner Chism ethics case moves forward
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MORE: Chism investigated over Head Start $, daycare

It's been 27 days after the first meeting Commissioner Chism's attorney Ricky Wilkins attempted to bring an abrupt halt to the case.

In filing a 46-page motion for a summary judgement Wilkins told judges James Allen, Donn Southern and Tom McPherson the trio had no jurisdiction to proceed with a hearing and should dismiss the case.

Special assistant county attorney Brian Faughnan scoffed at Wilkins' request and then accused Wilkins of slowing the proceedings down by not responding to a request for discovery his office filed three weeks ago.

The hour long meeting deteriorated into what another judge labeled a "glorified catfight" waged in legalese.

"We sat out in the motion the legal basis and a factual basis to support our position that the charges that are filed by the country should be dismissed," Wilkins said.

"There are still allegations and charges that point solely to other aspects of the county code," Faughnan countered. "If we go forward with summary judgement then it will be the county's intention in addition to responding to bring it's own motion for partial judgement."

The frustrated panel decided to set mandatory dates for each side to turn over discovery evidence. They scheduled Sept. 4 as the next meeting date and told both sides they want this case expedited as soon as possible.

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