Thursday, August 21, 2008

Powell Wins?

Creative Loafing is reporting Jim Powell, the disqualified Democratic PSC candidate, won his appeal at Fulton Superior Court.

A few things to note if this is true.

A. These things happen. These hearings are not like normal proceedings and can happen at the drop of a hat.

B. Given the narrow scope of the court's powers under the statute, I can't wait to read this ruling.

C. It appears the change of judges benefited Powell.

D. Next is the Court of Appeals which has been known to smack around wayward judges.

UPDATE: The Fort Mill Times has the story. There was an oral hearing and the judge was Wendy Shoob. By my count she's the third different judge assigned to the case.

UPDATE II: The Fort Mill Times is in Fort Mill, SC. Either they cribbed an AP report or they somehow scooped everyone in Atlanta. What makes this more bizarre is I can find no connection between Fort Mill, Georgia or the PSC. What gives? This is very strange.

UPDATE III: AJC has more including a quote from Judge Shoob. "That is the worst argument to me because you are telling me I can just move, but if I didn’t withdraw that homestead exemption, I didn’t move". That's a rather strange statement since this isn't about whether someone moves or not but whether they legally change their residence. Since, O.C.G.A. 21-2-5 clearly states "The specific address in the county or municipality in which a person has declared a homestead exemption, if a homestead exemption has been claimed, shall be deemed the person's residence address", it's bizarre to say homestead is irrelevant.


Sara said...

Maybe the judge decided to rule without oral argument, but given that she overturned the SoS that is very surprising.

griftdrift said...

I'm pretty sure there is no requirement for oral arguments or even a hearing. The statute only requires the record be reviewed.

Jen said...

Fulton Superior Court judges are not known to be sympathetic to Republicans.

Sara said...

It seems kind of dumb, though, to set a hearing and then rule two weeks in advance of it.

There wasn't anything really to be argued or briefed beyond the proceedings before the ALJ, his decision, and the SoS decision so I don't think the failure to hold a hearing is a good ground for appeal, but I am sure the SoS will still argue it was improper to give her a chance to argue about things like the proper standard of review, etc.

I also wonder if the judge did this specifically so that the issue could get the CoA faster and hopefully have time to be briefed and decided in advance of the election. They only have about 2 months to get all that done.

Sara said...

improper to NOT give her a chance...

Can't type. Too tired.

griftdrift said...

Actually I think the appeal will be based exactly on what you argued earlier - error in the law. The SOS attorneys will likely argue the Superior Court judge went beyond its powers which are defined fairly narrowly.

Anonymous said...

Here's the kicker: It's not up to the SoS's office to appeal. It's up to the AG's. So essentially, the appeal decision is out of Handel's control.