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Hawkins Co. judge arrests court clerk; Retired judge defends her

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Hawkins County Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross had the Clerk of Courts Sarah Davis arrested on contempt of court charges on Jan. 30 for refusing to send a member of her staff to do collections in the courtroom. According to a Feb. 4 report, retired circuit judge Kindall Lawson has agreed to defend Davis. He stated that she will be vindicated when everything related to the incident comes out.

Judge Ross claims to have been told “no” multiple times by Davis when he requested a collection employee to come to the courtroom to facilitate handling a backlog of cases that day. After being refused, he threatened to have her charged with contempt of court. Davis claims at this point to have sent the employee as requested, but Judge Ross had evidently already set his charges in motion. Davis was arrested and booked into jail but later released on her own recognizance.

The small-town East Tennessee story is bizarre, and it was even picked up by the San Francisco Gate and the Washington Times. A court date has been set for March 27, but Davis faces an April 6 Republican Primary and would prefer to have the case heard earlier than that.

It is hard to imagine how business as usual is being conducted in the Hawkins County Courthouse under these circumstances.

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