Judge Rules For Mayor Littlefield In Recall Case

Hollingsworth Says State Law Controls, Says Undated Pages Invalid

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth on Tuesday afternoon said a group trying to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield came up short because they did not get the number of signatures required under state law.

He also said that signatures on pages without dates were not valid.

The judge said a recall election for mayor could not be on the Nov. 2 ballot as recallers had hoped.

Mayor Littlefield has called a press conference for Wednesday at 9 a.m. "to discuss the community moving forward after the recent recall effort."

After a hearing lasting several hours, Judge Hollingsworth said state law controls on the number of names needed for the recall. Under state law, over 15,000 were needed. Under city charter, fewer than 9,000 were needed. The Election Commission had ruled that the city charter would control, though attorneys said either side could be argued.

Election officials admitted they had told recall leaders it was not necessary to date every page. But Judge Hollinsworth said that is required by state law.

Several recall leaders took the witness stand along with Election Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan and an expert CPA witness for Mayor Littlefield.

It was ruled by the election office that the petitioners gained enough valid signatures to accomplish the recall.

Attorney Hal North, representing the mayor, argued that the petition was invalid for several reasons, including the lack of dates on many pages of signatures and a conflict with the state recall law.

Recall witnesses included Jim Folkner, Charlie Wysong and Mark West.

The courtroom was packed for the hearing and a number of security personnel were on hand for the high-stakes case.

The Election Commission is set to meet on Wednesday at 8 a.m. One of the items on the agenda is whether to certify the results of the recall.

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