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By DAMON LAWRENCE
It could take years before criminal charges against constable Mark Patton get resolved.
However, the suit to oust him from office may not take that long.
Circuit Court Judge Russell Simmons Jr. has scheduled the ouster case for trial May 19-21.
A jury of 14 will be seated to hear the trial.
“I was very pleased that judge Simmons gave us an early court date,” Roane County Attorney Tom McFarland said.
McFarland and District Attorney General Russell Johnson filed the ouster suit against Patton on Jan. 20.
The suit contends Patton is a menace to Roane County, threatening members of the law enforcement community, elected officials and citizens.
In one incident, the imposing Patton advanced on Sheriff Jack Stockton in the parking lot of the courthouse armed with a stick and a gun.
That prompted Stockton to draw his gun “to protect himself,” the ouster suit states.
Patton was elected constable in 2006.
After flip-flopping on a resignation, he was reinstated last August.
The ouster suit alleges many of the acts Patton has committed violate the same laws he is sworn to uphold.
Since being reinstated he’s twice turned himself in to be arrested on criminal charges.
The extensive rap sheet he’s developing could be used against him in the ouster trial.
“I think at this point he just wants to see how much money he can cost the taxpayers,” McFarland said.