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Court Tosses Complaint to Boot Tenn. Deputy Sheriff

NASHVILLE (CN) - The Tennessee Court of Appeals threw out a lawsuit meant to oust a Knox County deputy sheriff for making false statements to a court and for participating in political activity.

The lawsuit was filed by the state and a group of citizens who claimed they were looking out for taxpayers by demanding Deputy Sheriff Timothy Hutchison's eviction from office. They said Hutchison had been convicted of six counts of criminal contempt for lying to the court and had violated state law by participating in politics.

Their complaint also targeted state Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr., because plaintiffs disagreed with his opinion that criminal contempt convictions were not "offenses relating to dishonesty."

Judge Herschel Pickens Franks held that sovereign immunity bars plaintiffs from challenging Cooper's opinion. Further, plaintiffs do not have a "special interest or special injury" in Hutchison's removal simply because they're "public spirited citizens," Franks ruled.

Finally, the court held that the case should have been filed in Davidson County rather than Knox County, where the deputy sheriff lives.

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