The legal battle between District 2 County Commissioner Henri Brooks and opponents on the Shelby County Commission was set to return to Shelby County Chancery Court on Thursday, July 3rd.
Brooks sought injunctive relief from the court against the commission after allegations that she did not live in the district led to the vote removing her from the commission. While the matter still was pending at The New Tri-State Defender’s print deadline, the most recent ruling seemed to favor Brooks, who is seeking a final favorable decision from the court before the commission’s next meeting on Monday (July 7th).
In a hearing on Tuesday (July 1st), Chancery Court Judge Kenny Armstrong said the Shelby County Attorney must show on what authority, through what process and on what ultimate findings the County Commission voted to remove Brooks from the District 2 seat.
After the hearing, Brooks said she could not comment directly on the matter, giving over to campaign manager Janice Banks.
“The judge ruled that the county attorney had no findings or authority to make a decision as part of the executive branch to remove a member of the legislative branch who is elected by the will of the people,” said Banks.
Shelby County Attorney Ginny Bozeman said the policy of her office is not to comment on matters under litigation.
Brooks’ legal representatives, Andre Wharton and Michael Working, explained her position during a court session the day before Tuesday’s ruling.
“Ultimately, all Commissioner Brooks wants is (fair) process, and I think some of the commissioners agree with her. They want a process that relies on criteria, not impulse,” said Wharton, whose mother, attorney Ruby Wharton, is Brooks’ campaign manager.
Working said, “There are many holes in the charter. More than just the process of how do you remove a commissioner, but also what does it mean to be a resident? What constitutes voluntary removal? There are many standards that would be argued in the process but we are not clear about what is the standard stated in the charter.”
The issue has drawn intense scrutiny with Brooks seeking to wrest the Juvenile Court Clerk position from incumbent Joy Touliatos. Brooks went directly to the campaign headquarters of Judge Joe Brown immediately after Tuesday’s court hearing.
With Brooks in earshot, Brown said, “She is the front runner for an office they (Republicans) cannot afford to lose because the loss of that office exposes a lot of people on their side to potential criminal jeopardy. If Ms. Brooks gets in, people could go to jail.”