Courthouse: facts, news and whispers

I attended the swearing-in ceremonies for the new county officials this morning, and it was interesting to watch.  Even more interesting waiting for the festivities to begin, listening to the courthouse whispers.

Immediately after the ceremony, I moved over to an adjacent courtroom to listen to the first hearing in David Stuart’s suit to void the August election for General Sessions Judge, on the basis that election law was clearly and deliberately violated.  Statutory time limits for voting were deliberately not enforced, voter identification was not checked in at least two polling places, and paper ballots were improperly issued in one precinct, but were not used in others where it might have mitigated the delay that caused some to not be able to wait and vote.
While Judge Blackwood agreed that “certain statutory provisions were violated, and that those violations were deliberate,” he also held that “to void an election, it must also be shown that the violations were in an attempt to affect the outcome.”

The complaint was that the election was procedurally flawed, but not that the election commission had done so in an attempt to commit election fraud.  As a result, Blackwood upheld the defendants’ motion to dismiss.   It’s over, and Don Layton will be General Sessions Judge for eight more years.

* * *

Just a few days ago I wrote about ex-Judge Thomas Austin, now convict Austin awaiting sentencing on corruption charges.  In the courtroom this morning, someone grabbed me and out of the blue asked, “Did you know?  How did you know?”  I was thoroughly confused, and had to ask what they were talking about.

It was the Austin post on this blog that spurred the question, and it seems that this person knew that Judge Layton and Alan Beauchamp had helped Austin figure out how to set up the driving school and probation department, from which he was receiving kickbacks.  Layton had bragged about helping Austin set it up, and the person who approached me had heard it firsthand.

No, I didn’t know.  It just struck me, as I was reading the newspaper last Saturday, that there were some creepy similarities between the fee-for-service offices set up by the court and the potential for malfesance.   It’s just hearsay at this point and does not necessarily mean that there are kickbacks and corruption in our own county, but watch for someone to be looking closely for evidence of wrongdoing.

7 Responses to “Courthouse: facts, news and whispers”

  1. on 01 Sep 2006 at 11:01 am AT

    Corruption in county politics! No!
    Man, as much as I hate to say it, I agree with Judge Blackwood, and echoed those same sentiments way back when. Its a damn shame, and we need to be focusing on why it is that a majority of voters seem to think that Layton’s brand of politicking-whilst-judging is an acceptable thing.
    However, one thing you can bet the farm on is that these pigs will slip up at some point in the next years, and we’ll be able to nail em. The days of having the media in the pocket are over, and I think you’ve proved that in the past year.

  2. on 01 Sep 2006 at 11:16 am Netmom

    I forgot to mention that Alan Beauchamp was conspicuously absent from both the swearing-in and the Stuart/Layton hearing. I overheard a couple of other people talking about the fact that there’s a rift…

    Time will tell.

  3. on 01 Sep 2006 at 12:24 pm Anotherthing2

    AT,

    I’ve been waiting eight years for them to slip up enough for the media to take notice. It hasn’t happened yet. Yes I still have hope but know that it would take a major screw up to get the attention this group deserves.

    This brand of good ol boy politics is nothing new, just new faces now pulling the strings of power.

  4. on 01 Sep 2006 at 9:11 pm Joel

    I have a picture of Alan Beauchamp at his first communion at St. Marys. If anybody wants it, I’ll scan it and email it. He’s come a long ways since then.

    Heh.

  5. on 03 Sep 2006 at 11:15 am Citizen Netmom » Small Town News

    […] I was actually reading the Paris PI looking for any mention of Anderson County Probation Director, Alan Beauchamp, following up on PoisonIvy’s post on the Oak Ridger’s message forum.  Apparently, someone heard that he’s been involved in helping set up probation programs there, just as I’d heard he was involved in ex-Judge Thomas Austin’s programs in Roane County. […]

  6. on 12 Sep 2006 at 5:02 pm Me

    The only problem with your allegations is that the probaiton department does not handle cash, only money orders. Roane county handled many types of payment methods Anderson County does NOT!

  7. on 12 Oct 2007 at 1:34 pm Citizen Netmom » A Day in Court

    […] A Day in Court This morning, Judge Blackwood again began hearing motions in the election contest between plaintiff David Stuart and defendants Don Layton and the Election Commission, after the Court of Appeals found the lower court in error and the State Supreme Court declined to hear the defendants’ appeal.  Thus, we’re back sort of where we started, a little more than a year ago. […]

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