May 31 2008

Cunningham defamation suit moved to Blount

It was not clear Friday which Blount County Circuit judge would hear the case once it is transferred.

Anyone taking bets?


Surely Judge Young, the presiding judge for determining court cases, wouldn't be so bold as to hear this case himself. If he doesn't recuse himself, then wouldn't he be in line for another TBI or bar assocation investigation?

Wright v. Cunningham: a choice as to escalation of ugly

As attorney for Kathy Wright in her defamation case against Jerry Cunningham for comments that involve Cunningham's support of Judge W. Dale Young (presiding judge for the 5th Judicial District that comprises Blount County), my comments re: this pending litigation are governed by certain Tennessee Supreme Court Rules re trial publicity.

I believe it is important to take the rules of the Supreme Court seriously for lawyers and judges alike. Judge Meares apparently feels the same way and his hearing on June 6 at 9 AM should shed some light on whether the Supreme Court rules were followed in Blount County by certain lawyers and judges.


I can comment now that Judge Wimberly by order will transfer the defamation case to the presiding judge of Blount County. Certainly, it is noteworthy that there is now a controversy involving implementation of the Blount local rules of court: that would concern any attorney who has had her/his case transferred to Blount County.

The allegation that the Blount County presiding judge intentionally violated the Supreme Court Rule about amendment of local rules is a definitely a concern that transcends politics in Ms. Wright's desire for a fair trial and receiving discovery information that she has sought since she filed her case.

Yea, right now, this is an ugly situation. However, with clarity, quick action and integrity by the presiding judge, the ugly situation can move forward toward a resolution by a jury, with politics not a concern. In essence, one person has the opportunity now to make the procedure in setting the Wright v. Cunningham case for trial uglier.

More will be revealed. I'd rather not bet on who is assigned to hear this case. In my mind, though, a judge and a jury who does not know Jerry Cunningham, Dale Young, Kathy Wright, City of Maryville attorney James C. Wright, or Mr. Wright's law firm of Butler, Vines and Babb would be a suitable candidate. There are 30 counties and countless trial judges in East Tennessee that would qualify. I've tried cases all across the state of Tennessee so spending some time away from here would suit my client and I just fine.

And the quicker the decision made by the presiding judge, the less ugly this situation will become. Legacies are defined by choices we all make-judges and lawyers and politicians alike.

Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-671-0598

I Do Not Know

I don't know any of the people personally, although I know them through the newspaper and blogs. I, as a citizen of Blount County, believe I could be an objective jurist because I don't trust everything I read, although I would believe proof given at a trial under oath, if I didn't think the person was lying. But maybe I am the exception.

I dont disagree but


I can't really comment in public much on this topic per the Supreme Court publicity rules, but I do not doubt you could be a juror on a case like this one. However, so much of the trial consists of pre-trial procedure, so jurors do not even have the opportunity to hear all of the evidence. Having Judge Young (or other judges who do know the parties or do know Judge Young) rule on pretrial motions would be like the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.

One unassailable truth about the law: The rules of procedure are the tail that wags the dog. Most of the public, understandably, do not realize this fact. That is why the local rules investigation by Judge Meares is so critically important to the fair administration of justice in Blount County. Certainly, one would hope that this investigation does not reveal that the actions of certain attorneys and jurists have served to obstruct justice thorough a knowing violation of Supreme Court rules.

My best. Your comments are astute.

Tom Mabry

Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-671-0598

My money is on...

Blackwood will be assigned the case by DY before any more info on those changes to the Local Rules are made public. I'll even go as far to suggest that this will be the swiftest case assignment ever done by DY.

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