Judges playing political hot potato in the case of Henri Brooks

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Monday it became obvious the big question is, who’s going to take on the case of former county commissioner Henri Brooks? Her lawyers only have a week to get a judge to rule on whether or not she can still serve on the county commission, and the clock is ticking.

Brooks’s lawyer Michael Working said, “Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps later this week, before the holiday, perhaps in the morning on Monday before the meeting.”

As of now she’s out of the job. But if a judge reverses the ruling or issues a restraining order, she could still go to commission meetings. The problem is, a lot of judges have connections to other Shelby County employees and don’t want to appear biased.

Commissioner Chris Thomas says this should have been the plan all along.

“I asked the county attorney that we should ask for a special judge. When she asked why, I told her it should be heard from someone outside, she says that’s up to the judge hearing the case.”

But from what we saw Monday in court, the case could be headed out of Shelby County, just like her criminal case for assaulting a woman in the parking lot at Methodist Central.

Chancellor Walter Evans said, “If all of us recuse ourselves from hearing the case, then the Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court will appoint an out-of-county judge.”

The thing is, the longer this drags on, the more lawyer fees she and the commission rack up — and you, the taxpayers, are footing the bill.

Brooks’s other attorney Andre Wharton said, “The question of the expense, in many instances unfortunately, is the cost of democracy…is expensive.”

So we will be back in court Tuesday. We should point out Judge Armstrong is running for court of appeals, so he may not take this case knowing that if he does, he may hear it again in the court of appeals.


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