By Patsy R. Brumfield / Daily Journal
TUPELO – A civil lawsuit against Tupelo attorney Kirk Tharp moves ahead after a judge lifted a hold he’d put on it in November.
Attorneys for both sides agreed to an order lifting the stay during a hearing in Lee County this morning.
Tharp was accused of attacking 18-year-old Kurtis Yarbrough at the Mooreville One Stop on Sept. 10.
In December. Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland ruled Tharp guilty of assault and fined him $290.Tharp insists he responded to verbal threats he heard coming from Yarbrough’s vehicle parked behind him at the gas pumps that morning.
Soon after the incident, Yarbrough’s attorney, Jamie Franks of Tupelo, filed a civil lawsuit against Tharp.
Special Circuit Judge Kenneth Coleman of Okolona, presiding over the civil lawsuit, put that case on hold last November until the criminal appeals played out, “eve if it goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, he told Franks.
Soon after the gas station incident, Yarbrough was arrested on a pot-possession charge, then a few weeks ago re-arrested on charges surrounding an alleged house burglary in rural Lee County. He’s been in jail on $20,000 bond ever since.
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(Below is a running account of today’s court hearing. Please excuse the typos and other glitches likely as I type rapidly. Some statements are paraphrased.
Attorneys are Franks and Bill Wheeler for Yarbrough and Kent Smith of Holly Springs for Tharp.
10:02 – Coleman calls cause, Yarbrough versus Tharp. (Neither of them is in the courtroom.)
SMITH – Counsel filed motion, we spoke late yesterday. Believe Tharp has a de novo appeal pending. He has testified about this. Tharp thoroughly cross-examined. I filed orders lifting the stay and to continue with discovery. BAsed on facts of the case and issues, I believe at this time may be good to go on and proceed. WE are not contesting that stay be lifted. I put date down for outstanding discovery. We agree.
Judge – Have you agreed on order? Franks – No. We talked yesterday, I was busy in several courts. Hard to do something at last minute. WE could have dealt with this earlier. If he agrees to lift the stay, we can proceed. Should go by rules. (Issue earlier was whether Tharp waived his 5th Amendment rights by testimony.)
JUDGE – Agree, let’s follow the rules of civil procedure. Y’all get me an order prepared, agree on it and we’ll go from there. FRANKS – I have an order to be amended, can be faxed over and signed today.
JUDGE – Guess we better see if we can agree on order. SMITH – He probably can just ink over 15th and add 8th in and I can agree to that. (Franks calling his office.) (Judge – This new electronics is something, isn’t it?) (Chat with attorneys about new technologies.)
Franks comes back to courtroom with document. Smith signs.
JUDGE – (Receives signed order) Hearing over. 10:21