Cases Logjammed In Steelman Division Of Criminal Court As Public Defender Files Recusals On All Cases

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cases are backing up in Judge Barry Steelman's division of Criminal Court as Public Defender Ardena Garth daily files motions to have the judge go off all her office's cases.

Ms. Garth on Monday morning handed another stack of indigent cases to the clerk for Judge Steelman, saying the office wanted another judge on those matters.

She claims that Judge Steelman is biased against her office.

So far, she has filed for recusals in over 50 cases starting the middle of last week.

Judge Steelman has set a hearing next Monday afternoon on the mass recusals.

The confrontation apparently began when Judge Steelman put down an order transferring the capital case involving Jesse Mathews from the public defender's office to private attorneys Lee Davis and Bryan Hoss. Judge Steelman was critical of assistant public defenders Mary Ann Green and Karla Gothard in that order.

He was also critical of the public defender's office last week at a hearing on a request by Ms. Green for recusal in the kidnapping case of Frederick Anderson.

At one point in the hearing, he called one action by Ms. Green in the case "sloppy" and, at another, he asked Ms. Garth and Ms. Green if they were taping the hearing. When Ms. Garth asked if she had to answer, he had her stand up and take an oath. She did so, then said she did not have a tape recorder on her. 

On Monday, Judge Steelman asked several indigent defendants if they had been told about the recusal motions. Ms. Garth objected to such questions, saying that got into the area of attorney-client privilege.

Ms. Garth declined to answer the judge if she would object to proceeding with cases in which pleas had already been worked out with the district attorney's office. She said the next move was a decision by the judge on the recusal motions.

Judge Steelman said continuing to put the cases off meant that some clients would have to stay in jail longer and it would involve more costs for the county to incarcerate them.

Some clients of the Transformation Project had their cases worked out and had been set to be released on Monday, it was stated. However, those cases were delayed with all the other public defender matters. 

 



Copies Of Remaining Chattanooga Photo Books Available At Zarzour's Restaurant

Remaining copies of the Chattanooga Photo books are available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Avenue off Main Street. It is near Fire Hall #1. They include the Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga, and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga.  All were published by Chattanoogan.com and printed by College Press at Collegedale. The more than ... (click for more)

Woman's Body Found Near Ooltewah Intersection Identified As Tiffany Flerl, 21

A woman's body was found near an intersection in Ooltewah on Wednesday morning. She was identified as Tiffany Paige Flerl, 21. Chattanooga Police said her body was located near the intersection of Old Cleveland Pike and Old Lee Highway just after 10 a.m. She did not appear to have any visible signs of trauma. Her body was sent to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's ... (click for more)

Shame On Anyone Planning A Protest At Coolidge Park Thursday Evening - And Response

Whether you're Alt-Left or Alt-Right, Coolidge Park isn't the place to showcase your hate and indifference with one another. Just because it's your right, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should do it. Many have this misconception that this park is named after a President, Nope. It's named after a great man, a true patriot, and Medal of Honor recipient from right ... (click for more)

A Tale Of 3 Properties

Here in Lookout Valley on the far southwest edge of Chattanooga and Hamilton County, trees and rocks are plentiful but sidewalks are as rare as unicorns. It’s a land the governments forget – until tax collection time.  The recent county reappraisal spoke about ‘comps,’ recent sale prices of comparable local properties. But the assessors defined ‘comparable’ to suit themselves, ... (click for more)

Lookouts' Nick Gordon Reveals His Mature Baseball Savvy In Interview

Nick Gordon has already hit more home runs this season than he had in his first three years combined. Although last Monday in Birmingham the home run he probably wanted most proved elusive, it didn't dampen what was arguably the best overall game in his professional career. Gordon matched his career high with five hits and fell a homer shy of the cycle as the Lookouts ... (click for more)

Lookouts Open Series At Smokies Wednesday With 6-3 Win

KODAK, Tenn. -- Andy Wilkins hit a run-scoring single in the fifth inning, leading the Chattanooga Lookouts to a 6-3 win over the Tennessee Smokies on Wednesday. Chattanooga right-hander Zack Littell (3-0) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing one run on five hits over six innings. The single by Wilkins started the scoring in a three-run inning and gave the ... (click for more)