Monday, March 21, 2011
Committee Allows Steakley To Amend Complaint
The ad hoc committee of the Tennessee Senate, which is hearing the contest of election filed by Republican Gary Steakley against Senator Charlotte Burks, met once again Monday to decide whether Steakley should be allowed to amend his complaint. Gary Blackburn is representing Steakley and said the most important duty of the committee is "to make sure that the public can trust their elections, regardless of the outcome." Blackburn said his amended complaint speaks to that concern. But Craig Fickling, the lawyer for Burks, said the amended complaint should NOT be allowed, both as a matter of law and as a matter of fairness. Fickling says the law in Tennessee prohibits "substantive amendments" to complaints after certain deadlines. And he says Steakley's amended complaint is completely different than the one he first filed, which had alleged a conspiracy to alter the vote count. Meanwhile, an attorney helping the committee said it was up to that committee to decide whether or not to hear the matter. The committee ultimately voted to accept the amended complaint and to meet again next Monday to talk about witnesses and exhibits. A final hearing on the issue is still scheduled for March 31st.