Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

August 29, 2006

Sells believes 52 improper votes cast in election

(Continued)



The governor has yet to appoint a judge to preside over criminal court while Sells' case works through the court system.

Also, Kleinfelter noted Sells was not attempting to stop the state from certifying the vote.

Kleinfelter said if Patterson were sworn in, Sells would still be entitled to all rights as a litigant to find witnesses. She said the court could not declare her the winner of the election because the court would have no way to know if the ballots in question were cast in favor of Sells or Patterson, so a new election would be the only relief for Sells. In that event, Zralek's argument Sells would be unable to fairly compete was not valid, she said, because every losing candidate faced that problem.

"The vote of the people should be upheld until overcome by proof in trial," Kleinfelter said. "Until then, the voice of the people stands."

Craig Fickling, attorney for Patterson, said, "The plaintiff is forgetting Mr. Patterson won this race."

Fickling said Sells was not alleging voter fraud in her complaint, but "minute technical violations." The harm she was alleging in her motion, Fickling said, was also not irreparable harm because she would retain the rights of a litigant. He also pointed out the "havoc" the motion would have on the court system in the 13th Judicial District.

"Cases have been scheduled. Motions have been scheduled," Fickling said. "Defendants have the right to speedy trials. If you enjoin Mr. Patterson from taking the oath, those people's rights will be harmed."

Also, delaying Patterson's taking office would cause personnel problems at the District Attorney's office, where Patterson currently works. He would not be able to prosecute cases and a replacement for him would not be able to come on board under such uncertain conditions. Patterson also has a family to support and bills to pay, Fickling said, and the injunction would harm him monetarily.

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