Va. Supreme Court strikes down fines against Gloucester residents

Mar 4, 2011 Full story: Richmond Times-Dispatch 128

The Virginia Supreme Court today unanimously struck down a circuit court judge's order fining 40 Gloucester County residents $2,000 each for gathering 6,000 signatures in a petition to remove four board of supervisors members.

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Think about it

Gloucester, VA

#1 Mar 4, 2011
This is a great day for all citizens of the Commonwealth, but especially for Gloucester. This shows that our citizens CAN petition their government for redress of grievences without fear of sanctions from activist judges who put their personal opinion ahead of the law.

On a personal note to Cym, Dr. D. and every other alias you use. You were wrong and I was RIGHT!! when we argued over the merit of the sanctions. The Va. Supreme Court agreed with my stance that it was the Commonwealth, not the petitioners who flied the action with the court, thus the petitioners couldn't be sanction. You kept telling me I was wrong, well, all I can say is stick to dentistry because you're legal background is extremely lacking.
hmm

Gloucester, VA

#2 Mar 4, 2011
I hope you read the ruling and get a clear understanding of it, so you can explain the bold type, and what that implied.
what

Gloucester, VA

#3 Mar 4, 2011
(HMM...) Not sure what you are referring to. It is a great day and justice is FINALLY served. It may have taken some time but justice prevailed.

The 40 citizens who stood up for what was right and for what was their legal right, now can sleep worry free from financial obligation.

I am sure, the fabb 4 supporters, the few there are, will try anyway they can to put a twist on the ruling to benefit their cause. The fact of the matter is the gloucester 40 were wronged and now they are right.

I honestly hope the 3 remaining fabb 4 will run this next election so the citizens can show them just how poor of a candidate they really are. I would imagine they all 3 will lose by the same margin or worse than Altimus did.

What a beautiful day it is.....
Carolyn

Fayetteville, NC

#4 Mar 5, 2011
I have followed this story for a long time from a distance. All I have to say is

CONGRATULATIONS TO GLOUCESTER'S 40!

You guys actually deserve compensation for being dragged through this mess in my opinion.
BuBBa

United States

#5 Mar 5, 2011
1st hurdle cleared, now on to 2, 3 and 4 removing Ressler, Crewe and the tin-hat preachervisor next election.
Think about it

Gloucester, VA

#6 Mar 5, 2011
Well said Bubba! As for the bold print, the only think I need to explain is they Gloucester 40 were VINDICATED!

It would be fitting for the remaining three to run again, but let's be honest.... who in their right mind would finance such a losing position? Ressler may be able to finance it herself, but really does anyone think the pastorvisor will have the funds to mount an election? Heck he can't even pay his own bills.

Nah, I don't think any of them will run again.

Yep, I would say this is the proverbial last nail in their political coffins.
Big Brother or Sister

Gloucester, VA

#7 Mar 5, 2011
Very welcome news and Congratulations to the Gloucester 40!

When does campaign season start? I'm anxious to see who actually will run for re-election, and who the challengers will be.
Think about it

Gloucester, VA

#8 Mar 6, 2011
There is a challenger for the Ware District seat (currently held by Woodard). One of the Glo 40 is running against him. There are two names mentioned in the At Large seat up for re-election (currently held by Ressler).

As far as I've heard, no one has stepped forward for the Gloucester Point District (currently held by Crewe).

The last seat up for re-election is in the Abingdon District (currently held by Rilee). No mention of any intentions there either.
Just had to say it

Gloucester, VA

#9 Mar 7, 2011
Think about it wrote:
There is a challenger for the Ware District seat (currently held by Woodard). One of the Glo 40 is running against him. There are two names mentioned in the At Large seat up for re-election (currently held by Ressler).
As far as I've heard, no one has stepped forward for the Gloucester Point District (currently held by Crewe).
The last seat up for re-election is in the Abingdon District (currently held by Rilee). No mention of any intentions there either.
A name will appear soon--keep tuned in.
greyday

Gloucester, VA

#10 Mar 9, 2011
Think about it wrote:
There is a challenger for the Ware District seat (currently held by Woodard). One of the Glo 40 is running against him. There are two names mentioned in the At Large seat up for re-election (currently held by Ressler).
As far as I've heard, no one has stepped forward for the Gloucester Point District (currently held by Crewe).
The last seat up for re-election is in the Abingdon District (currently held by Rilee). No mention of any intentions there either.
And now there is a 3rd person running in the Ware. Cowan will not beat this guy. He's a local boy who everyone loves..
Dr D

Newport News, VA

#11 Mar 11, 2011
Here is a link to the ruling by the vas court:

http://images.bimedia.net/documents/glouceste...

I figured noone else has the brains or the motivation to supply the link, guess it's left up to those of us who want the 'facts' out there, rather than the gossip and hate usually on this forum.
Dr D

Newport News, VA

#12 Mar 11, 2011
So, as i read it:

1. The court found that as soon as the commonwealth assumed the case that the petitioners were no longer the party of interest and no longer subject to being fined, and that the commonwealth is protected. Therefore no fines can be levied against either party no matter how idiotic the suit.
2. All other points brought by the petitioners are moot, due to #1.

Wow, what a cop out by the court. The petition process SUX, and the court is not going to help out!

So, the logical consequences that immediately come to mind:
1. Future petitions if picked up by the commonwealth will go forward, and neither the commonwealth or the petitioners will have to worry about consequences.
2. Future peititions, if not picked up by the commonwealth will either be dropped, and the petitioners are subject to fine, or they may retain their own lawyer and still be subject to fine, should the process they follow be flawed.
Unless they are covered by the new legislation.

Interesting.

I guess future petiioners should all hope that the commonwealth agrees with them. It will be interesting if future petitioners become as entangled as past petitioners have with encouragement and support from corrupt officials from the commonwealth.
Think about it

Gloucester, VA

#13 Mar 11, 2011
The justices ruled that once a request to remove elected officials is filed in court, it is actually the state that becomes the petitioner and that neither the 40 residents nor their lawyers are subject to sanctions.

Nothing happens until a petition is filed with the Circuit Court. At that point, it is in the Commonwealth Attorney's hand. The CA doesn't have a choice in whether to accept the petitions or to not accept them. The Clerk of the Court files the petitions and the CA takes over.

So anyone filing a petition is not liable. Period.
Think about it

Gloucester, VA

#14 Mar 11, 2011
Oh yeah, I read the entire ruling when it first became available. So I had the facts. And I didn't expect anyone to supply the link for me.
hmm

Gloucester, VA

#15 Mar 11, 2011
they failed to explain how this reasoning can be done in a civil case, criminal cases are different in that a Law is broken, where here it the wishes of a few, and not LAW that moves forward..For this to be true there would have to be a higher standard of vetting the petition as truthful which was not done. For the CA to bring the charges instead of the Attorney General, and claiming the Commonwealth brought the charges would be wrong. Hicks should have either handed the matter over, or not filed the charges, or the petition until being better vetted..His's not being able to be impartial was a problem..
Think about it

Gloucester, VA

#16 Mar 11, 2011
I thought they DID explain it. Quite clearly. And as far as I am concerned, the petitions WERE vetted as truthful. Remember, there was no trial, no testimony, no witnesses answering questions in front of a judge. Nothing. So no one can say with certainy that anytyhing was not truthful. It's just your opinion as much as it is my opinion. But, perception is reality and TA's election showed the people's perception was she lied to the very people she was elected to serve.

And after the election this November, we'll all see if the same perception is still evident.

I'm willing to be it is. How about you.
daffodil

Gloucester, VA

#17 Mar 12, 2011
hmm wrote:
they failed to explain how this reasoning can be done in a civil case, criminal cases are different in that a Law is broken, where here it the wishes of a few, and not LAW that moves forward..For this to be true there would have to be a higher standard of vetting the petition as truthful which was not done. For the CA to bring the charges instead of the Attorney General, and claiming the Commonwealth brought the charges would be wrong. Hicks should have either handed the matter over, or not filed the charges, or the petition until being better vetted..His's not being able to be impartial was a problem..
How could a petition that says, "We the undersigned seek to remove ____ from office for using the office badly" be either truthful or untruthful? It is opinion, not truth.(And my friend, always revise writings before printing them.)
missy

Gloucester, VA

#18 Mar 12, 2011
Dr D wrote:
So, as i read it:
1. The court found that as soon as the commonwealth assumed the case that the petitioners were no longer the party of interest and no longer subject to being fined, and that the commonwealth is protected. Therefore no fines can be levied against either party no matter how idiotic the suit.
2. All other points brought by the petitioners are moot, due to #1.
Wow, what a cop out by the court. The petition process SUX, and the court is not going to help out!
So, the logical consequences that immediately come to mind:
1. Future petitions if picked up by the commonwealth will go forward, and neither the commonwealth or the petitioners will have to worry about consequences.
2. Future peititions, if not picked up by the commonwealth will either be dropped, and the petitioners are subject to fine, or they may retain their own lawyer and still be subject to fine, should the process they follow be flawed.
Unless they are covered by the new legislation.
Interesting.
I guess future petiioners should all hope that the commonwealth agrees with them. It will be interesting if future petitioners become as entangled as past petitioners have with encouragement and support from corrupt officials from the commonwealth.
Being "picked up" by the commonwealth is automatic acc. to state policy--not optional. Also the General Assembly passed a law that says no one can ever be sanctioned--fined--again for such petitions. They invited the Glo 40 to Richmond, read the new law to them, and gave them a standing ovation--in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate.
Dr D

Hayes, VA

#19 Mar 12, 2011
missy wrote:
<quoted text>
Being "picked up" by the commonwealth is automatic acc. to state policy--not optional. Also the General Assembly passed a law that says no one can ever be sanctioned--fined--again for such petitions. They invited the Glo 40 to Richmond, read the new law to them, and gave them a standing ovation--in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate.
Actually, missy, it's not. If the commonwealth doesn't think it's a winable case, they will not pursue. As for ruling 'for' the 40....the finding was quite impersonal, not really 'finding' for either side, simply stating that the 'fine' could not be levied because the commonwealth, not the 40, were pursuing the case. The court did not rule on whether the 40 were right or wrong, and thus leaving Parker's ruling as the final finding. Parker's ruling was that the 40 abused the system. That still stands.
Think about it

Gloucester, VA

#20 Mar 12, 2011
Parker's "ruling" was nothing more than his opinion. All he heard was Troy and Company's take on the situation. The Supreme Court's ruling said the 40 were NOT liable. You can spin it any way you like, but the bottom line is Parker was wrong and the Supreme Court said so.

As for the Commonwealth, you're right, if the CA doesn't see it as a winable case, they can choose not to pursue it, however, the CA doesn't have a choice once its filed. The CA MUST either proceed or file with the court the proper paperwork dropping the case. It just doesn't "go away" because the CA doesn't think it's winable. So again, you're wrong.

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