Thursday, September 13, 2012

MV school board attorneys ask court for more time to respond to Freshwater’s brief

The Mount Vernon Board of Education’s attorneys are requesting that the Ohio Supreme Court allow them additional time to respond to John Freshwater’s recently filed merit brief.

The attorneys want an extension of ten days, giving them until October 4 to respond to Freshwater’s claim that he was wrongfully terminated from his job teaching at Mount Vernon City Schools.

Although there are currently no other pending related legal cases or hearings, attorneys David Kane Smith, Krista Keim and Paul J. Deegan say that they need this additional time “to fully prepare and brief the issues presented by” Freshwater.

One of the difficulties they explain they are facing is, due to their dissatisfaction with Freshwater’s brief, they cannot simply cut-and-paste Freshwater’s summary of the case thus far. They have to actually write their own brief. And this takes time.

Also, they say they need the additional time to compile more supplemental materials than were included with Freshwater’s brief.

The final reason offered by the three attorneys is that the time leading up to the current deadline overlaps with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah and that the extension period overlaps with Yom Kippur.

Why would the timing of these holidays matter? Because, as the attorneys explain, some unnamed attorneys who want to file an amicus curiae brief are planning on celebrating those holidays.

Two parties did previously file amicus curiae briefs when the case was before the 5th District Court of Appeals in Ohio: the National Center for Science Education, an evolution advocacy group, and Stephen and Jenifer Dennis, witnesses in the state administrative hearing.

The NCSE website’s document list for the case does not list any documents showing that the court even accepted either of the previous amicus curiae briefs. Neither amicus curiae brief was cited by the district court in its decision in March.

See here for a copy of the motion for extension of time.

See the articles in the archive for additional coverage of the Freshwater controversy.


Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor issued the following order on September 14:

“On written request of appellee, it is ordered that the time for filing the merit brief is hereby extended to October 4, 2012.”

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