MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Judge Kenneth Armstrong says the County Commission can’t remove Henri Brooks from her seat based on the county attorney’s investigation.
After months of avoiding the media, and only communicating through written statements, Brooks broke her silence Thursday after the judge ruled she’s still a commissioner.
“I was wondering when he was going to say that. Because I am,” she said.
Armstrong said in court Thursday he would restrain the commission from filling Brooks’ vacancy, because it still must determine whether or not she lives in her district.
“The county attorney will not give a termination of the district because she is not the appropriate finder to make that determination,” he said.
Armstrong said no court would agree that the county attorney did enough to prove Brooks doesn’t live in her district. The investigation said Brooks didn’t live on Crump, but never said where she lives, and that’s not enough.
He also said the commission needs to hold a hearing. The county charter doesn’t lay out how to do this, because it’s never happened in Shelby County before.
Brooks said, “Now I feel it. I feel the denial of due process rights.”
Brooks’ lawyers say it’s kind of like changing the rules halfway through the game.
Michael Working said, “We are happy about today’s outcome, but it’s a long way from being over. Because there is no one who knows what’s next. Not the county attorney, the chancellor, the commission and not any of the attorneys.”
This whole thing started because Brooks wouldn’t tell investigators where she lives, and Thursday she did alluded to the fact her living situation may be in flux when she said, “My constituents are what is important here. My constituents. And the work I have to do there. I can continue to work for them wherever I am.”
The county attorneys had earlier argued Brooks wasn’t removed from office; instead, the office was vacated when she left her district. In court Tuesday, County Attorney Ginny Bozeman said her investigation was by the book.
The next county commission meeting is set for Monday afternoon. And according to the judge, Brooks is again a voting member of the commission.
Commissioners tell us they hope the board appeals Judge Armstrong’s decision.