Carol Gaddy of Dunlap today makes an appearance in Sequatchie County circuit court in her petition to undo two years of abuse of process against her in the free ownership of her house not far from city hall.
The hearing focuses on a petition for writ of habeas corpus filed Aug. 24 in which Mrs. Gaddy asks the judge to demand her presence so that she might be made to understand the charges against her.
By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM
She is being held in Sequatchie County jail under an order of contempt. Judge Thomas Graham has ordered her into jail on account of her refusal to allow a search of her house under the pretext of an inspection for it being a dilapidated structure. She had been in hiding about three months.
The house is far from dilapidated, though for nearly two years the court has forbidden any continuation of improvements to the structure by her son, Kelly, a carpenter and handyman.
The case against Mrs. Gaddy and her husband, Thomas, is largely beyond the scope of authority by city government. The case was launched apart from the exercise of the exhaustion of remedies procedure by mayor Dwain Land, who has demanded permission to inspect the property as a public risk.
The litigation was launched on his allegation, apart from any expert finding or authority.
Mrs. Gaddy has entered into the record an engineer’s report, with his stamp showing his state certification, indicating that the house is 100 percent fit for human habitation and lacks any structural problems that would make it a risk either to the residents or to neighbors.
This letter should satisfy the city’s demand for satisfaction on the point of the safety of the structure, Kelly Gaddy says in an interview.
However, Mrs. Gaddy is sprawled under something more mysterious than simple abuse of process by city government. The contempt finding, even though it stands apart from any authority by the city, is one that is hard to obviate and eliminate. One generally cannot ignore a an order from a judge, even though that order is apart from any legitimate power by the government entity that has filed the litigation. Her offense in this matter is not against the city, but against the judge.
In other words, Judge Thomas’s finding of contempt must be satisfied in its own terms, as if his authority has assumed a life and power of its own apart from the underlying facts and the underlying sources of police power exercised by the city.
Mrs. Gaddy and her family do not have legal counsel. An attorney the family approached in Chattanooga demanded a F$5,000 fee up front for work on the case. This is money that the family apparently does not have. It is seeking pro bono help.
Another attorney in Chattanooga, hearing details about the case, said Mrs. Gaddy is “an idiot” who does not know what she is doing.