Fields-Knox battle not over yet

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 9, 2004

GREENSBORO – The fate of the Hale County Commission District 2 race between incumbent Lois Fields and Elijah Knox was decided behind closed doors on Thursday. The Hale County Democratic Party held a hearing on Field’s contest off the June 1 election results and the ruling is to be continued.

Eleven members of the Hale Democratic Party filled the jury box and with Party Chairman Robert Shepard looking on, listened to both sides of the story from Field’s attorney April Albright and Knox’s attorney Nicholas Cobbs. Albright approached the jury with her opening statements and said, they planned to prove that 112 illegal votes were cast during the primary election in Akron. These votes are from the other two districts that make up Akron, districts 1&4.

“Plus, after the votes were turned into the courthouse, the ballots from Akron have vanished,” Albright said, “We are missing major pieces of evidence.”

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Cobbs’ opening statements included, there were only 108 illegal votes cast on June 1. One hundred twelve votes will be needed to over turn this decision, he said.

“There were 108 illegal votes, and if there is any more please show them to us,” Cobbs said.

Albright made a motion to the party and asked that a continuance be granted to allow them more time to try and find the missing evidence, such as the sign-in sheets and the clerk’s list. Cobbs countered by saying everyone knows that the checkout lists from the election were available and a continuance should not be granted at this time.

The jury went to the backroom and shut the door and discussed the motion for about 15-20 minutes and when they returned, they allowed the continuance by a vote of 11-0.

After the ruling was announced, Cobbs asked that a motion be granted that his client and himself have at least 10 days prior notice before the next hearing and that all absentee information be provided before the next hearing.

Shepard requested that he put that motion into writing and then submit it and Cobbs said, “You ruled on her (Albright) motion, at least rule on mine,” Cobbs said.

Shepard said all motions must be in the form of writing and with that this hearing is over.

“We will have the next hearing in about two weeks,” he said.

After the end of the hearing, Hale County Circuit Clerk and Vice-Chairman of the Hale County Democratic Party Gay Nell Tinker said Cobs brought a new mysterious envelope to her Wednesday and he asked her to sign her signature to the envelope, so they could open it.

“He thinks that the sign-in sheets are in this envelope because it’s thick,” Tinker said, “There was no way I’m signing that envelope because nothing from Akron is in this courthouse and now this just magically appears.”