A case questioning Loudon County Commissioner Julia Hurley’s residency will now head to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
An order was filed Feb. 3 by the clerk of the appellate courts granting a Rule 10 extraordinary appeal by Hurley’s attorney, T. Scott Jones.
The order notes the only issue on the appeal will be whether the trial court made an error in denying the motion to dismiss the case.
Jones has argued the case was wasn’t filed correctly because Commission Chairman Henry Cullen cannot act as principal and surety. Chancellor Frank V. Williams III in July ordered another person sign the bond.
The order comes as a welcome surprise to Jones, who said this may have likely been the first Rule 10 extraordinary appeal he has seen granted in years.
“We’ll leave it in the court of appeals’ hands and await their sage wisdom and verdict,” Jones said. “… But I think it is indicative of the fact that they felt like it’s important enough and merited them stepping down and looking at it, because if you read Rule 10, I mean it is in fact by the very definition an extraordinary appeal.”
Jason Collver, 9th Judicial District assistant attorney general, declined comment on the pending case, but emphasized the court of appeals’ acceptance does not mean one side has won or lost and wants to hear more on the specific question posed.
The order comes after Williams in December denied an appeal from Jones, which was filed following a Sept. 18 hearing in which both sides met at the Roane County Courthouse to review motions to dismiss and disqualify 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson.
The Hurley case dates back to July 2019 when Commissioner Van Shaver initially questioned her residency after learning of her move on social media from her elected second district into the fifth district.
Jones said Hurley was living “exclusively” in her district after initially buying another property outside her district as an investment. That property has now been leased.
“She moved there on a temporary move for an investment purpose, and the Tennessee Act actually provides that she’s legally entitled to do that,” Jones said in December. “Other folks have made temporary moves, judges and folks of that nature, as long as the intention is not to be permanent. She had to remain in the property in order for it to not be considered rental property or an investment property for a year.”
According to the order, a briefing schedule includes the principal brief of the appellant due March 8, the brief of the appellee March 22 and then an appellant’s reply brief, if any, March 29. The case will then be set on the first available docket.
All trial court proceedings are stayed pending the outcome of the appeal and any review from the Supreme Court of Tennessee.
A trial was set for April in Lenoir City.