The Terry Ross courtroom drama will have one more act before Christmas.
A scheduling conference has been set for 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 23, at the request of Ross’ attorney, David Fielding. Fielding is the third attorney hired by the Ross family since the Precinct 4 commissioner found himself facing charges in 2012 related to the construction of a child’s playhouse with materials and labor paid for by the county.
Although Ross pleaded guilty Sept. 23 to a criminal charge, the civil suit regarding his removal from office is still unresolved. Ross is seeking a jury trial, b’ut Wise County Attorney James Stainton wants District Judge Roger Towery to issue a summary judgment in the case and remove Ross from office.
Last month, Stainton filed a motion for summary judgment in the 271st District Court, and last week Fielding submitted his request.
“I think (the scheduling conference) is unnecessary at this point because I think the summary judgment covers it,” said Stainton. He explained that scheduling conferences generally allow the lawyers and judge to create a timeline for discovery, depositions and paper discovery, but Stainton doesn’t feel this is needed because Ross already pleaded guilty.
“Everything has already happened,” he said. “All the facts of the case have already been resolved with Ross’ guilty plea.
“It wasn’t my desire to have a scheduling conference, but it is common in civil cases.”
Although it was previously reported in the Messenger that Towery would rule on the summary judgment within 21 days of its filing, that was incorrect.
There is no set timeline in which the case will be resolved, but Stainton is hopeful Towery will soon set a time for a summary judgment hearing.