Meares issues rebuttal press release to Black letter

Blount County Circuit Judge Mike Meares on Saturday issued a response to a letter written by Maryville attorney David Black that was critical of Meares.

Black’s letter to Meares was dated June 16 and released to the media. In the letter Black criticized Meares’ questioning of attorneys regarding how Local Rules were amended in 2007.

Following several hearings in May and June, Meares ruled that parts of the Local Rules attorneys operate under were invalid.

For his part, Meares July 26 letter attempted to answer Black. Meares also shared thoughts on why he called attorneys into court to testify as to how Local Rules were amended, criticized members of the Republican Party for trying to slander him and shared fond memories of better times when he and Black played poker together.

The letter has eight paragraphs and the fifth through eighth paragraphs address issues related to the Local Rules questions and his campaign to retain his seat against opposition from the Republican party.

The second half of the Meares’ letter reads as follows:

“I am working full time to dispel any notion that cases are fixed by lawyers in the back room. I have not taken contributions from lawyers and will not apologize for working on Saturday or for requiring anyone including lawyers for having to appear in open court and tell the truth. We do it everyday with ordinary folks and lawyers are not one bit better before the law than anyone else.

“I will not apologize for my 22-page opinion ruling a portion of our local rules invalid or for questioning the quality of legal work that is incomplete, inaccurate and serves to allow partiality in the assignment of cases. I will no more apologize for that Order than I will for my decision to require the prosecution of the 202 defendants who hadn’t even been logged into either the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) or our county’s computers. Case files represent real people whom we serve and not one of them should be singled out for special treatment.

Finally, I have several admissions to make. First, I will never forget your generosity in letting me keep the Volkswagen I lost in the poker game 34 years ago. Thank you. Second, I have always admired your elegant persuasion as a lawyer and will always be proud that you participated in my ceremonial swearing-in as Judge. Thank you, again. Third, if you or Mayor Cunningham or Judge Young wants to hurt me politically don’t call me a “splinter” or a “monkey” or a “hog” or go and cook up statistics to say I haven’t done a good job as Judge. Those things are not even close to true. The politics to maintain total control of our local judiciary are unsavory enough but if you folks have to sling mud to keep me from getting elected, leave my family out of it and then say whatever you want about me personally. The problem you and a few powerful people in this County will still have is that I won’t cover-up the truth! I will do the public’s business in public and no-one can hedge their bets with me.

I have seen enough trouble in this life to be glad that my soul has already been paid for by our Lord and Savior. The good ole boys who think they run everything in this County do not run me. My oath as Judge will never be compromised.

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 14

AlcoaGuy0157 writes:

This race is so important, and it is vital we elect Duggan to this seat.

poormeares writes:

I truly hate to see that Mike Meares still fails to see that what he has done is so wrong.

David Black tried to support him. He was a close friend and advisor and even served as a master of ceremonies at one of the many swearing in events that Mike planned for himself.

Now Mike has made absolutely clear to the Investigator for the Court of the Judiciary that his "Administrative Hearings" were nothing more than a way to get his name in the press. That he will be Publically Censured is probably the best he can hope for at this point.

After being unable to present any positive message to voters, Mike has resorted to taking cheap shots that have nothing to do with his ability to be Judge, but demonstrate that he has absolutely no judicial temperament. This letter is a prime example. An even better example is his ad that demeaned the very office that he seeks that was in today's Daily Times.


Paul writes:

I think Judge Duggan is a fine judge, but he is already a judge. A vote for him is a vote for his unknown replacement in Sessions court. It is my understanding that the Mayor and the County Commission would choose the next sessions judge. I would prefer we citizens choose our judges. So why not leave things as they are, when both men are doing a fine job? Why is it so important that Duggan win? (Who is it that is just dying to be appointed to Sessions Judge?)

To PoorMeares: Are you really saying that Black's press release publicly trashing Meares was an effort to support Meares? With friends like that...

And I am perplexed why it is a "cheap shot" for Meares to quote a Republican's own very public comments? Are you denying that Cunningham made those statements? As an aside, it would have been nice to hear Mr. Duggan make some statement that he did not agree with those comments. I do not hold them against him, but there is an element of guilt by association.

Mike has certainly NOT made it clear to the COJ that he held any hearings for political purposes. You imply that he has made such a statement and that is completely untrue.

poormeares writes:

If the citizens should choose our judges, why then should we simply rubberstamp the Democratic Governor's political appointment of the former Chairman of the Democratic Party in Blount County? Is the best reason to select someone for judge, that they have already bought a black robe?

Both men are not doing a "fine job." David Duggan is running a respectful campaign based on his qualifications. In the courtroom, Duggan hears the cases that come before him without any regard to politics. Even the staunchest Meares supporters acknowledge Duggan has done a fine job as Judge.

Alternatively, Mike Meares is running as disgusting a campaign as has been seen in Blount County. Since he has few actual qualifications for the position, other than being a favored son of the Davidson County liberal elite, he has actually had to resort to "monkey ads." In the courtroom, Meares has gone out of his way to interject politics (e.g., his Tommy Hatcher inquisition, the local rules farce, castigating attorneys who he knows are supporting Duggan, etc.).

Since Meares has been unable to attack the job Duggan has done as Judge, he has chosen to attack David Bennett, Jerry Cunningham, Dale Young, etc. I'm sure there are people who after reading Meares' press releases and Orders (which seem to be press releases themselves), believe that he is running against Young.

If the judiciary is really as broken as he claims, why did Meares not run for anything in 2006? He had the chance to run against Young at that time.

When Judge Kelly Thomas was in office, there was no political rancor. There was no need for "Administrative Hearings." He was a Democrat. He was elected and then re-elected (without opposition). Thomas saw no need to bring his political beliefs into the courtroom. Judge Young and Thomas seemed to be able to get along. Why is it that only Meares sees conspiracies everywhere?

Judge Duggan was initially appointed by the County Commission as I recall. Judge Duggan did such a good job that no one even ran against him when he came up for election. By the way, I don't believe the that County Mayor has a vote in the selection of the Judge.

Meares is obviously the darling of the Davidson County Democrats. After he came back from Vanderbilt, they appointed him Public Defender back in the 1980's. The people of Blount County had the good sense to get rid of him at the first election. I'm sure the voters have the good sense to do the same thing this time.

Hopefully after the voters of Blount County once again reject Meares, the liberals in Nashville will think twice before appointing him to yet another position.

TommyTownsend writes:

"Both men are doing a fine job," so let's keep Meares as Circuit Court Judge and Duggan right where he is. Duggan doesn't have any criminal jury trial experience anyhow.

And how funny that the poster above thinks the "monkey ad" is negative - if it's so negative, I guess you no longer support Mayor Cunningham, right? Cunningham called people a monkey when he was introducing Duggan at the Lincoln Day Dinner, Judge Mike Meares never called people a monkey. Since when is it negative to quote our beloved mayor?

The only people in Blount County who are worried about Judge Mike Meares are people like Cunningham, Young and Bennett because Judge Mike Meares is making them clean up their act and behave themselves for a change. Judge Mike Meares is the best thing to happen to Blount County in decades.

BountNative123 writes:

"he has chosen to attack David Bennett, Jerry Cunningham, Dale Young, etc."

These fellows have all but dared someone to attack them with their foolish actions.
They have not so much been attacked as they have been "called out".
We need people looking to the future in Blount County, not persons who want to hold on to the prejudices and good ol' boy network mindset of yesterday.
Most agree Duggan is a good man and judge, his problem is his close connection with these three men.

Paul writes:

PoorMeares, are you saying it is not a problem that Tommy Hatcher's paperwork to the Administrative Office of the Courts got lost in the mail or through a computer glitch? And that it is just interjecting political beliefs into the courtroom for Judge Meares to have uncovered that? I guess you are one of those who wants to claim that everything he has done in the past year was somehow related to politics. Well, he is not the one running the campaign focusing purely on party affiliation.

Are you saying it is not a problem that Judge Young used Hatcher's flawed information to publically accuse Meares of creating a backlog, when it is he himself who is solely responsible for assignment of cases? Since he is a major contributor to Duggan's campaign, naturally this was done in support of his candidate. No amount of disclaimer to the contrary would convince anyone otherwise.

Apparently, some people believe that this local court system wherein facts cannot be trusted is a fine system that does not require any fixing. I am not one of them. The people are not well-served in an atmosphere where the truth is negotiable, depending on your pary-affiliation or family tree. And I am very pleased that Judge Meares chose the unusual approach to investigate this publicly.

"We do it everyday with ordinary folks and lawyers are not one bit better before the law than anyone else."

jlrl2006 writes:

The comments trying to insinuate Judge Duggan as being guilty by association are redundant and politically motivated.

I know the judge on a very personal level. He is a very honest, fair and humble person. I can assure everyone that Young, Cunningham, and Bennett are not that closely connected to the judge. The connection is that they happen to all be Republicans.

Party affiliation is not the end of the world and if Judge Meares is such a political saint, then why does he not be consistent and run as an Independent instead of being on the Democratic ticket?

To Paul, it could be that Judge Duggan has not commented on all this mess because of his obedience to the judicial conduct in which he took an oath to uphold. He will not comment on what another judge is doing and he should be commended for not speaking on the local rules issue and the other tactics implemented by Meares in order to gain a political foothold.

Broadfoot writes:

Judge Meares has not attacked anyone. He's just standing his ground against a well funded and co-ordinated effort to discredit him.
Is he a reformer? Yes. Is he a political hack? Absolutely not, nor is he running a "disgusting campaign".
To the contrary, he has tried to remain above the fray, but the Republican Party Machine in Blount County is hell bent on eliminating the two party system here. They've never met a Democrat they like, or an independent for that matter. Look at the marshalling of forces they have garnered to defeat the free thinker Sen. Finney.
It's more of the "with us or against us" kind of rhetoric that has poisoned the debate over the last few years.
If Duggin wins the Circuit Court position it is also my understanding that Mayor Cunningham and the Republican Commission will be free to appoint another Republican to the Sessions Court, thereby, effectively stacking the court with Republican loyalists beholded to the ensconced Republican Machine. Do you doubt that would be the case?
Mike Meares is a good man doing his best at a hard job. He is a God-fearing Christian. However, he is a fearless judge who will not cow-tow to the Good-Old-Boys when it comes to fairness and justice in our Circuit Court. Nor will he roll over and play dead when he's ganged-up on. The powers-that-be hate that and while they distract us by whining about their own victimization, and how mean ol' Mike is pursecuting them, they are spreading lies and inuendo about him, and doing everything they can polarize our communtiy. They cannot tolerate any kind of opposition and they'd just as soon tar, feather and run every Independent and Democrat out of the County on a rail.
Make no mistake, this is an election about insuring that a good judge gets to keep doing his job. But my fellow citizens it is also about preserving the two-party system that has long served us well in Blount County, a system that is being dismantled bolt bt bolt by big money and big egos.

Paul writes:

Good Lord, jlrl2006, Cunningham's incendiary comments were uttered in the course of introducing Judge Duggan. Of course there's guilt by association.

You may recall that Judge Young said it was his judicial responsibility to correct any misinformation about a judicial candidate. Unfortunately, it was he who was misinformed. I do not think you can cite the same Code to defend Judge Duggan keeping silent.

yellowdog writes:

The postings by poormeares would be funny if they were offered in jest, but they are insulting and sad as serious comments. Especially revealing is the idea that Meares is a tool of Davidson County liberals. Such a charge is kneejerk Republican tripe designed to divert attention from serious issues.

Does poormeares really think that "only Meares sees conspiracies everywhere?" Even Jerry Cunningham thinks the monkeys conspire against him! After all it is the Republican Party's chairman, Mr. Bennett, who says on the party's website that "our future" depends on the election of Mr. Duggan, whose first qualification listed by Mr. Bennett is that Duggan is "a life long Republican."

Exactly what is it about "our future" that requires the defeat of a judge who clearly is not a tool of the local Republican Party?

jlrl2006 writes:

Couple of things. First of all, Judge Duggan also is a God Fearing person. His service within his church is known very well. He loves the Lord very much. If religion becomes an issue in this election, we have begun to use the church as a crutch. As an ordained minister, political candidates that use the church in order to get elected frighten me. Just acknowledge they are active servants in their church and leave it at that.

Secondly, Paul the Lord is indeed good and I appreciate you pointing that out at the beginning of your post.

AlcoaMan writes:

This race is vitally important, and it is imperative we elect Meares to this seat.

braintree writes:

In reference to poormeares comment;

When Judge Kelly Thomas was in office, ~... He was a Democrat.

Judge Thomas was Jerry Cunningham's law partner first.

No debating the chicken or the egg issue there.