Votelaw, Edward Still's blog on law and politics: November 2009 Archives

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November 27, 2009

Birmingham: was the city council election held at the correct time?

The Birmingham News reports: A Birmingham neighborhood president and former council member who unsuccessfully ran for city council this year said he filed a lawsuit this morning against the city because he wanted to bring it to the attention of the courts that the election was illegal.

"It's not about me or the seat," said Leroy Bandy, president of the Central Pratt neighborhood. "I just want it done right."

Bandy and another former District 9 council candidate, David Russell, filed the suit in Jefferson County Circuit Court this morning, minutes before the swearing-in ceremony began for the new council. In the suit, they contend the city should have gotten the state legislature to amend the Mayor-Council Act before changing election dates.

A hearing has been set for Dec. 3 in the case, Bandy said. -- Read the whole story --> Former city council candidate says he filed suit over election because 'I just want it done right' | Breaking News from The Birmingham News - al.com

Birmingham: is there a city council president?

The Birmingham News reports: The Birmingham City Coun­cil's vote to select Steven Hoyt as president pro tempore may have violated the Mayor-Council Act and be invalid, city attorneys and at least one council member said Wednesday. ...

The contention comes be­cause Roderick Royal nomi­nated Hoyt for pro tem and then voted on the nomination. Royal moments earlier had been selected council presi­dent, which means he be­came acting mayor. The mayor, according to the Mayor-Council Act, cannot vote with the council. ...

J. Richmond Pearson, the council's legal adviser, said the dispute should be set­tled in court. ...

State Rep. Demetrius Newton, a former Birming­ham city attorney, said the controversy over the vote highlights the need for more clarity in the Mayor­Council Act. Newton said the question should be re­solved by legislation rather than in court. ...

Adding to the confusion, Newton contends Coun­cilwoman Carole Smither­man also should have ab­stained during the voting because of her previous role as acting mayor. -- Read the whole article --> Birmingham City Council's pro tem vote for Steven Hoyt may be invalid | Breaking News from The Birmingham News - al.com

November 19, 2009

California: ACRU defending Edwards-backer in campaign-finance prosecution

TPM Muckraker reports: A heavy-hitting group of conservative lawyers led by Ken Starr and Ed Meese is jumping to the defense of a Democratic trial lawyer and major John Edwards backer. ...

To explain: The American Civil Rights Union -- a conservative legal organization whose policy board counts Starr and Meese, and several other prominent right-wing lawyers as members -- has filed an amicus brief in a key campaign-finance case.

Pierce O'Donnell, a high-profile Los Angeles trial lawyer, is charged with reimbursing employees of his law firm for contributions to Edwards's 2004 presidential bid, in violation of campaign-finance law. A judge ruled in O'Donnell's favor this summer, finding that the law under which O'Donnell had been charged did not explicitly prohibit reimbursing donors, but the case is now on appeal.

The ACRU says its concern is simply one of proper legal procedure. In its brief, the group argues that the government tried O'Donnell under the wrong statute -- one which doesn't cover his actions -- and therefore that convicting him "would transgress the fundamental rights and liberties of American citizens, as in a rogue, authoritarian state, rather than an enlightened liberal society." -- Read the whole story --> Strange Bedfellows: To Weaken Campaign-Finance Law, Starr's Group Defends Edwards Backer | TPMMuckraker

November 15, 2009

Alabama: Packard proposes amendments to election laws

Ed Packard, supervisor of voter registration for the State of Alabama, suggests several amendments to the State's election laws regarding emergency balloting procedures, changed voter ID procedures for absentee voters, and confidentiality of voter information. -- Read the whole piece --> It's time to amend voting laws | Birmingham News Commentary - al.com

November 14, 2009

Alabama: Charges against Worley reinstated

The Huntsville Times reports: A state appeals court Friday reinstated five felony charges against former Secretary of State Nancy Worley, who is accused of using her office to influence the votes of five employees in her office.

Montgomery County Circuit Judge Truman M. Hobbs Jr. ruled on July 11, 2007, that the law under which Worley was indicted was "overly broad and unconstitutional" as applied in her case. ...

The felony charges stemmed from a law forbidding a public official from using his or her authority or position to try to influence the vote or political action of anyone.

The charges against Worley grew out of campaign letters, campaign contribution envelopes and bumper stickers sent to the five workers.

In her letter - on campaign stationery - Worley wrote, "I will be honored if you will attach the enclosed bumper sticker to your vehicle's bumper or rear window." She also wrote that "if you chose to support another candidate, you have every right to make that decision without any problems from me." -- Read the whole article --> State appeals court reinstates5 felony charges against Worley - al.com

November 10, 2009

19th Judicial Circuit: residency restrictions

The Montgomery Advertiser reports: A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that imposes residency requirements on candidates running for circuit judge in the 19th Judicial Circuit could be headed to the Alabama Supreme Court. But first, Montgomery Circuit Court Judge William Shashy has to rule on the case.

Attorney Jerry M. Blevins filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Beth Chapman because of a 2008 change to state law that would require him to live in a specific county in the 19th Judicial Circuit to be a candidate for one of three judge positions. -- Read the whole story --> Man sues over candidacy law | montgomeryadvertiser.com | Montgomery Advertiser