Judge rules in Knox’s favor in commissioner suit

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2005

Contributed Report

GREENSBORO-After a year and a half worth of dispute the United States District Court for the Southern District handed down a final decision in the contested 2004 election between current commissioner Elijah Knox and former commissioner Lois Fields.

Fields first challenged Knox’s candidacy for District Two Commissioner to the Democratic Party of Hale County prior to the June 2004 primary election. Although the local Democratic Executive Committee ruled against Knox it was quickly overturned by the state Democratic Executive Committee. After the primary the challenge was again issued with the same result to uphold the vote count, which was in favor of Knox.

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Following the loss Fields and Eugene Lyles filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Hale County, which was removed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. A write in campaign was then launched to win the general election, however, Knox again won the popular vote.

The issue was finally settled Monday Oct. 17 when the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama ruled Lyles was unable to satisfy the constitutional standing requirement that he has suffered an injury. The court also held there was no evidence to support the claim of a constitutional violation. The Court further held Lyles waived his right to seek relief in Court by failing to seek relief before the June 2004 primary election.

Knox will continue to serve the entirety of his term as Commissioner of District Two.