Court date named in G’boro mayor’s contest

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 19, 2005

GREENSBORO–The controversial and contested Greensboro mayor’s election has taken another small step towards being resolved.

The office of Montgomery-based circuit judge William Shashy confirmed Monday that the next court date in the contest of the November mayor’s election would take place Monday, May 9, at 10 a.m. in the Hale County courthouse. The case pits plaintiff Vanessa Hill, who has contested the election results, against defendant J.B. Washington, who has served as Greensboro’s mayor since November.

The announcement follows both parties’ March 24 submission to Shashy of legal briefs arguing two points of debate in the case: whether or not Hill’s attempts at submitting a security bond (rebuffed by Hale Circuit Clerk Gay Nell Tinker) were sufficient for the case to proceed, despite the fact that a bond was not accepted by Tinker until after a deadline had passed; and whether Hill must offer any kind of evidence as a prerequisite before Shashy grants her motion for the opening and inspection of the mayor’s election’s absentee ballot box.

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Hill attorney Walter E. Braswell said Monday that he believes Shashy’s establishment of a second hearing (after the initial one held March 5) indicates that Shashy will not be dismissing the case on the security bond technicality.

“I would not expect Judge Shashy to set another hearing,” Braswell said, “unless he agreed with [Hill’s] position that her efforts to make a valid bond met the requirements of the law.”

Braswell also stated that his client was glad that the case had passed one more hurdle in its path to resolution.

“Ms. Hill is obviously pleased,” he said, “that the case will move forward and the people of Greensboro will at last know the truth behind the election.”

William M. Pompey, the Camden attorney representing Washington, was out of the office Monday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.

The May 9 date means that both of the Black Belt’s disputed mayoral elections will be in court in the space of eight days. The March 4 court order from presiding circuit judge Marvin Wiggins established a May 16 trial date for Robert D. Bryant’s contest of the Marion mayor’s race won by Anthony J. Long last November. Perry County Circuit Clerk Mary Moore was in court and unavailable Monday, however, to confirm that the trial was still scheduled for that date.