Judge orders end to Confederate flag
Thursday, February 14, 2002
U.S. District Court judge Sam Sparks has dismantled a
Confederate flag lawsuit against a Hays County school
district, ordering the plaintiffs to drop their claims
or face retribution from the court.
Sparks said the suit was directed at the wrong people
and had no legal support. Instead of dismissing the
case, the order demanded the plaintiffs withdraw it
within three weeks.
North Carolina lawyer Kirk Lyons filed the suit in
November on behalf of five people -- Harold Kenneth
"H.K." Edgerton, John Eric and Phyllis Elaine Patterson,
Hence W. "H.W." Irby Jr. and Lynn Dell Foster -- who
said their civil rights were violated when they were
told to leave their Confederate flags outside a high
school football stadium. Named as defendants were Hays
High School Principal Carl Hall, Hays Consolidated
Independent School District Superintendent Michael
Hinojosa and Robert Presley, an assistant
In January, the defendants asked Sparks to dismiss
the case on the grounds that the district's flag policy
was a University Interscholastic League rule and that
the league would be a more appropriate defendant.
But the court said district officials were right.
Sparks also zeroed in on apparent misprints in Lyons'
motion and the fact that he withdrew his original
request for an injunction.
"It would appear the plaintiffs have filed a
complaint requesting a temporary injunction when they
did not want one, obtained publicity because of the
allegations, sued the wrong parties and in all
probability have no constitutional cause of action
against any party," Sparks wrote in his order.
Sparks' order is unique only in its courtesy to the
plaintiffs, legal experts said.
"He's actually being nicer than he has to be," said
Charles Silver, a professor at the University of Texas
School of Law. "He didn't have to give them 21 days, he
could have sanctioned them right then and there."
Lyons said: "I'm shocked. I don't know what's in the
Hays school district officials said they would not
comment on the order.
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