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Hill ruled mayor

MONTGOMERY &045; Members of the Alabama Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Vanessa Hill was the lawfully the winner of the 2004 Greensboro mayoral race.

Johnny Washington was declared mayor following the election, but Hill contested the results of the race and was declared the winner by a Hale County Circuit Court. Washington appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and was granted a suspension of the decision until the Supreme Court made a ruling, leaving him as active mayor.

The court said that Washington failed to demonstrate that the findings of the special master appointed to the case and adopted by the trial court were plainly and palpably wrong and unsupported by evidence. Therefore in compliance with the state law they couldn’t be overturned.

Washington appealed the initial ruling stating that the trial exceeded its discretion in three areas, with sub-arguments in each area. He said that all jurisdictional requirements were not met to proceed, that Hill failed to file timely discovery requests or the proper disclosures and that voters were disqualified in conflict with Alabama code.

The special master that was assigned to the case during the initial trial found ballots that were forged and others that were disqualified for other reasons, such as a lack of post date to confirm they were mailed prior to the election. After removing the illegal votes Hill won the election by a vote of 664 to 614.

Braswell said that Hill can now take office as soon as she can return from Nashville, where she was when the verdict was delivered, and be sworn in as mayor. He said that Washington will most likely request a rehearing and a stay on his title as mayor until the rehearing.

Nether Hill, who was in Nashville, nor Washington, who was out of town could be reached for comment at time of press.