Circuit Judge Chris Piazza
has recused from hearing the city of Little Rock lawsuit against the state Ethics Commission
and two mayoral candidates, Warwick Sabin and Frank Scott
Jr., over their use of exploratory committees to raise money to prepare for a race for mayor against Mark Stodola.
The Ethics Commission has found no wrong in exploratory committees, allowed two years before an election by state law. The city contends the candidates are prohibited from raising money by city ordinance until June 1. The city also claims that this same ordinance no longer applies to Mayor Stodola in its requirement to give away excess campaign money within 30 days of an election. Stodola has $78,000 he's prepared to spend held over from 2014.
Circuit Judge Tim Fox
has now drawn the case assignment. Can the state Ethics Commission be sued any more in light of a recent Supreme Court ruling reversing precedent that allowed some lawsuits against the state.
Fox this week dismissed a case against the Geology Commission for that reason, that the state now enjoys total immunity from lawsuits.
Piazza didn't give a specific reason to get off the case. He wrote: "The Court on its own motion and for good cause shown does hereby recuse from the above styled