Four Gloucester supervisors each sue prosecutor for $1.35 million

Nov 12, 2009 Full story: Hampton Roads Daily Press 26

Four county supervisors have each filed $1.35 million lawsuits against Commonwealth's Attorney Robert D. Hicks, saying that he made defamatory and false statements against them that smeared their reputations.

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Citizen

Gloucester, VA

#1 Nov 13, 2009
They have no case. Hicks statements were only opinions and are protected by the first amendment
spike

Jackson Center, PA

#2 Nov 13, 2009
It's up to the court to decide whether or not they have a case.
Think about it

Tucson, AZ

#3 Nov 13, 2009
This will be interesting, but in the final analysis, it just goes to show the county, this group had no intention of doing what is right and best for the citizens they serve, but rather doing what they want for their own selfish desires.
spike

Jackson Center, PA

#4 Nov 13, 2009
Think about it wrote:
This will be interesting, but in the final analysis, it just goes to show the county, this group had no intention of doing what is right and best for the citizens they serve, but rather doing what they want for their own selfish desires.
Don't you think both sides are guilty of that same thing? I don't think this suit is going anywhere, though.
Citizen

Yorktown, VA

#5 Nov 13, 2009
It does show that the 4 only cared about their own personal interests. To childishly say Hicks is the reason they lost is bizzare. They lost due to the fact that they did not benifit the common wealth of Gloucester County.
spike

Jackson Center, PA

#6 Nov 14, 2009
Citizen wrote:
It does show that the 4 only cared about their own personal interests. To childishly say Hicks is the reason they lost is bizzare. They lost due to the fact that they did not benifit the common wealth of Gloucester County.
Since Ms. Altemus was the only one of the four who was defeated at election, and the suit was filed on election day; I don't think they were saying that Hicks was the reason they lost. Who knows what their motive is. But I doubt they will get very far with this one. Only time will tell. But it should be interesting. Hicks isn't blameless either. He knows the law, or he should. Should have been professional enough to keep quiet after he was dismissed from the case.
Jojo

Hayes, VA

#7 Nov 14, 2009
Surprising what you can find when you read. I was reviewing the Va Code Book, did you know that the petitions were actually not eligible to be filed? According to the Code, the petitions could not actually be filed until an elected official was convicted.
Reference

Gloucester, VA

#8 Nov 14, 2009
Jojo wrote:
Surprising what you can find when you read. I was reviewing the Va Code Book, did you know that the petitions were actually not eligible to be filed? According to the Code, the petitions could not actually be filed until an elected official was convicted.
Can you please reference what code number you are talking about or provide a link? I'd be interested in reading it for myself and not just believing everything I read on here.
Citizen

Gloucester, VA

#9 Nov 14, 2009
spike wrote:
<quoted text>
Since Ms. Altemus was the only one of the four who was defeated at election, and the suit was filed on election day; I don't think they were saying that Hicks was the reason they lost. Who knows what their motive is. But I doubt they will get very far with this one. Only time will tell. But it should be interesting. Hicks isn't blameless either. He knows the law, or he should. Should have been professional enough to keep quiet after he was dismissed from the case.
Even still the statements he made were only opinions and he is still protected by the 1st amendment
spike

Jackson Center, PA

#10 Nov 14, 2009
Citizen wrote:
<quoted text>
Even still the statements he made were only opinions and he is still protected by the 1st amendment
I don't know about that. It depends on whether or not he was speaking as a professional, and in what forum he was using, I would think. I still think he would have been better off to just keep quiet about the whole thing. Oh well....too late now. I read on the Gloucester Blog some comments about other people possibly being called to testify in this matter. Is that true? Or is it just scare tactics?
mike

Hayes, VA

#11 Nov 15, 2009
spike wrote:
<quoted text>
Since Ms. Altemus was the only one of the four who was defeated at election, and the suit was filed on election day; I don't think they were saying that Hicks was the reason they lost. Who knows what their motive is. But I doubt they will get very far with this one. Only time will tell. But it should be interesting. Hicks isn't blameless either. He knows the law, or he should. Should have been professional enough to keep quiet after he was dismissed from the case.
All he said was that he thinks he could've gotten a conviction, thats what the supposed "defamation of character" was. It's not defamatory for a lawyer to say he thinks a case is winnable, in fact, its his duty to the citizens of the county to report these kind of things and make those kind of judgements. Totally first amendment protected.
spike

Jackson Center, PA

#12 Nov 15, 2009
mike wrote:
<quoted text>
All he said was that he thinks he could've gotten a conviction, thats what the supposed "defamation of character" was. It's not defamatory for a lawyer to say he thinks a case is winnable, in fact, its his duty to the citizens of the county to report these kind of things and make those kind of judgements. Totally first amendment protected.
No, that isn't correct according to the suit filed. He said and did far more than to say he could have gotten a conviction. At a political luncheon and in media interviews; He said that they comitted crimes. Like I said....he should have kept quiet, and stayed out of it as ordered by the court.
Jojo

Hayes, VA

#13 Nov 15, 2009
Reference wrote:
<quoted text>
Can you please reference what code number you are talking about or provide a link? I'd be interested in reading it for myself and not just believing everything I read on here.
I'm attempting to find you a link, but it's difficult, here's the code section title: read and understand!

24.2-684.1. Requirements for voter petitions to call for referendum elections.
Jojo

Hayes, VA

#14 Nov 15, 2009
Reference wrote:
<quoted text>
Can you please reference what code number you are talking about or provide a link? I'd be interested in reading it for myself and not just believing everything I read on here.
Sorry, gave you the wrong reference, here is the actual code....

prev | next
24.2-233. Removal of elected and certain appointed officers by courts.

Upon petition, a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court:

1. For neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office, or

2. Upon conviction of a misdemeanor pursuant to Article 1 ( 18.2-247 et seq.) or Article 1.1 ( 18.2-265.1 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 and after all rights of appeal have terminated involving the:

a. Manufacture, sale, gift, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or marijuana, or

b. Sale, possession with intent to sell, or placing an advertisement for the purpose of selling drug paraphernalia, or

c. Possession of any controlled substance or marijuana, and such conviction under a, b, or c has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of such office, or

3. Upon conviction, and after all rights of appeal have terminated, of a misdemeanor involving a "hate crime" as that term is defined in 52-8.5 when the conviction has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of such office.

The petition must be signed by a number of registered voters who reside within the jurisdiction of the officer equal to ten percent of the total number of votes cast at the last election for the office that the officer holds.

Any person removed from office under the provisions of subdivision 2 or 3 may not be subsequently subject to the provisions of this section for the same criminal offense.
Jojo

Hayes, VA

#15 Nov 15, 2009
Notice that the petitions cannot be submitted until AFTER a conviction. AFTER. That makes the petitions illegitimate! The court should never have heard them. The clerk should not have filed them. Thus the ruling that they were a travesty. The petitioners should have gotten a lawyer. Finding a competent one in Gloucester is darn impossible. Maybe the new lawyer in town has a brain. Understand he was a federal prosecutor, maybe he can temporarily replace Hicks when he is ousted and broke.
Jojo

Hayes, VA

#16 Nov 15, 2009
Zat help?
Citizen

Gloucester, VA

#17 Nov 15, 2009
Amen Jojo.
Cym

Virginia Beach, VA

#18 Nov 17, 2009
Finally someone who adds substance to the blog! Instead of the constant drivel from the gossipers. Thanks, Jojo.
Think about it

Ashland, VA

#19 Nov 17, 2009
Now if that isn't the pot calling the kettle....

Nice compliment to yourself.
Think about it

Ashland, VA

#20 Nov 17, 2009
Gee, the way I read it,

"1. For neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office, or"

I'd say the misuse of office,(by installing a personal friend as interim county administrator or helping a campign contributor in pressuring a county employee to prematurely release sureties for starters). While I understand the petitions may have been filed based on the indictments, it doesn't mean they couldn't be removed by petition just because they weren't convicted.

Either way, it's a mute point, TA's gone and soon the other three will be gone too.

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