Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon says subpoena she ignored was invalid
By Brendan Kirby
March 10, 2015
|Hallie Dixon ... says contempt motion is without merit. |
Lawyers seeking to hold Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon in contempt failed to follow proper procedure regarding a subpoena, the prosecutor said Tuesday.
Attorneys representing a former St. Pius X Catholic School student accusing administrators of allowing her to be bullied are seeking a court order sanctioning Dixon for failing to appear at a deposition on Friday. They wanted to ask her questions about allegations her office reviewed involving the pastor of St. Pius. The pastor, the Rev. Johnny Savoie, oversees the school principal.
Dixon said on Tuesday that the subpoena was invalid because rules governing civil cases require plaintiffs to file a notice of their intent to question a non-party and then give other lawyers in the case 15 days to object.
"The lawyers who filed that motion and gave those comments need to read the Rules of Civil Procedure and educate themselves about what the Rules of Civil Procedure are," she said. 'Their motion not only does not have any merit, it's exactly against what the Rules of Civil Procedure are."
Kennedy said Tuesday that Dixon's interpretation of the rules is incorrect, adding that he would provide a detailed explanation in his next court filing on the matter.
Dixon asked Mobile County Circuit Judge Sarah Stewart last week to block the subpoena on grounds that state law protects the disclosure of investigative records and material of law enforcement authorities.
Dixon previously has said that the Archdiocese of Mobile alerted her office in December 2013 about an allegation it received that Savoie had an improper relationship with a 16-year-old boy nine years earlier. She said that since the age of consent in Alabama is 16, she determined that no crime had been committed.
Savoie disclosed the allegation to his congregation in February of last year, telling parishioners that the allegation was false and that a lie detector test he took confirmed his version of events, according to court records.
Lawyers for the school have argued that the allegation is irrelevant to whether Savoie and other officials responded appropriately to reports of bullying against students. The lawsuit is one of four making those allegations.
Stewart has indicated that she will take up the contempt motions and other matters on March 20.
Dixon said the motion she filed seeking to "quash" the subpoena is standard.
"There are a lot of lawsuits ... that try to drag the state of Alabama into them," she said.
The law prevents that unless a judge overrules the objections, Dixon said.
"Any decent lawyer would at least check to make sure their position is correct," she said.
As to the lawsuit, itself, Dixon said: "We have no position. We're not on one side or the other. I don't, and my office doesn't, have a dog in this fight."