City, recall organizers face off in court - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City, recall organizers face off in court

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The case to block recall efforts against Mayor Ron Littlefield took center stage Friday in circuit court.

The city says many of the petitions weren't dated and that violates the state law.

The recall leaders say they were not told.

The recall group says this is a case of election malpractice and the recall should go through.

The city claims the group didn't follow the rules and now this recall should be blocked.

Attorneys with the group looking to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield had their say in circuit court Friday morning.

Jim Faulkner, the recall leader, is now calling this case election malpractice.

He claims the Hamilton Election Commission misinformed his group about dating the signatures of the recall petition.

City Attorney Hal North says this is a direct violation. "Over 5000 of those are undated and it is not applicable to state law."

This technicality could mean more than half of the approved signatures could have been thrown out.

The city says the malpractice claims were thrown in at the last minute and that would warrant a separate court case.

Faulkner says this was a tactic by the city to stop the recall altogether. "After the people have signed the petition, he wants to go back and find some technicality to hold on to power a little while longer."

The recall group also wanted the case to be heard in chancery court as opposed to circuit court.

Faulkner believes the chancery court would not look into details that would delay the case further. "I'm nervous about a lot of facts in this case but I'm not nervous about people wanting this recall."

Judge Jeff Hollingsworth denied that motion saying circuit court was the proper jurisdiction for the hearing.

Attorney North says the malpractice claims were a mere distraction. "Mr. Faulkner could not raise any election malpractice that he asserts against the Hamilton County Election Commission which we don't think is relevant in this lawsuit."

The judge did allow for the recall group to have their arguments heard but did not switch courts.

This hearing will continue Tuesday morning.

The election commission will vote to verify the recall signatures Wednesday.

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