A vanished race for district legal professional all of the sudden reappears

0
34
A vanished race for district attorney suddenly reappears

A federal judge has revived a district attorney's race that disappeared due to a 2018 state law that had fueled competition until 2022.

The law came into force when Governor Brian Kemp decided not to replace Ken Mauldin, Western Circuit's retired district attorney until May 3, six months before the 2020 general election.

The delay ensured that the one whom the governor eventually appointed as the district attorney for Clarke and Oconee did not have to stand in front of voters for more than two years. From the Athens banner herald:

Northern Circuit District Court judge Mark Cohen ruled Wednesday that a 2018 law in Georgia that allowed Kemp to derail the election process violated the state constitution.

Athens attorney and former MP Deborah Gonzalez announced almost a year ago that she wanted to run for office after Mauldin announced that he did not intend to run for another term. His current term ends at the end of this year.

Then, in February, Mauldin announced that he would retire on February 29, 10 months before his term ended. When the State Secretary tried to qualify for the job in March, she refused.

The injunction provides for a special election. No date has been set yet, but the competition could very well be attributed to the vote on November 3rd.

Gonzalez, a Democrat, will be one of the candidates. Brian Patterson, currently serving district attorney, said this morning that he would be different. "I am pleased to learn that a special election for the district attorney is expected to take place in November," he said in a press release.

You can read the judge's order here. A remarkable passage:

(W) Regarding Governor Kemp, nothing in that court's injunction prevents the governor from exercising his right to appoint a person to fill the post created by Mauldin's resignation, and the Court finds no harm to the governor if his representative must do so in 2020 to keep his seat.

This case has been closely monitored as it parallels a Supreme Court race that has disappeared under similar circumstances. This disappearance is also contested in a federal court. The relationship was underlined by Judge Cohen in a footnote to his order, which focused on a little sloppiness on the part of the prosecutors:

The defendants appear to have "copied and pasted" their argument regarding the equilibrium of the shares from their brief in another case pending in that district relating to the appointment of a state Supreme Court, in their argument "because the value of permission is one." appointed judges "will demonstrate their qualifications and accomplishments" and not an appointed prosecutor.

***.

An article in the New York Times about the terrible month of June by President Donald Trump begins with this perspective in Atlanta:

WASHINGTON – Last Saturday night, Republican top donor Bernard Marcus told President Trump at the White House dinner that he was alarmed by the declining polls of Mr. Trump and Jared Kushner's responsibility for his father-in-law's re-election.

Mr. Trump tried to dispel Mr. Marcus' concerns and assured the founder of billionaire Home Depot that his political fate would change soon, in part because he brought in "good people" to stabilize his campaign, one person said who was informed about their conversation.

The next morning, before heading out for a round of golf, the president tweeted a video from a Florida community of ages in which a Trump supporter shouted "White Power" and took Mr. Trump's aide to the track to get him out on the course let him delete the message.

***.

We have not mentioned the sad fate of one of the more original bills to be brought before the legislature this year – or any other year.

In the final days of the 2019 session, the house appointed Republican Todd Jones, a Republican from southern Forsyth County, with 165 to 5 votes to chair a study committee to investigate whether treatment for needy patients in Georgia hospitals is possible be addressed in the same way that cap and trade policy targets pollution.

On the last day of last month's meeting, Jones' idea failed with 83-79 votes. Fourteen Republicans and all but three Democrats voted against. Another 14 members of the House of Representatives – quite a large number – chose not to vote at all.

Cap-and-Trade is a market-based approach to control pollution through economic incentives. A government issues a limited number of permits to launch certain quantities of a particular pollutant.

Polluters – think of power plants and heavy industry – who need to increase their emissions have to buy permits from companies that want to sell. And these companies sell because they have been able to reduce or eliminate their own emissions. An incentive to reduce pollution has been created.

Jones' legislation would have created a year-long thought experiment with state nonprofit hospitals. The state would set a mandatory (but imaginary) level of urgent care for all hospitals, measured in loans. Hospitals that exceed the level could sell their loans to hospitals that do not meet the state target.

On the democratic side, the measure ran counter to a continuing push to expand Medicaid. As for Republican opponents of the law, it should be remembered that cap-and-trade is one of the many ideas with GOP roots that most Republicans today reject.

"I see two ways," said Jones after the session. "First, we're only six months away from January, and I'd like to have this conversation again." And the lawmaker said he would start buying his idea from lawmakers in other states – to see if he could find one that would help him implement the idea.

***.

The diplomatic appointment of Mark Burkhalter, a former Georgian legislator who briefly served as the House's spokesman, has run into trouble. From the Washington Post:

President Trump's candidate as ambassador to Norway faces a call to give up his quest for the diplomatic post after a lawsuit was uncovered in 1994 stating his involvement in producing a racist campaign leaflet against an African-American politician in Georgia.

According to the filing, Mark Burkhalter helped create a flyer that distorted and exaggerated the characteristics of Gordon Joyner, a candidate for county commissioner in north-central Georgia. Joyner was depicted with some darkened features, a large afro, enlarged eyebrows and a distorted eye.

Burkhalter did not pass on his involvement in the controversy to the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, according to a letter from Senator Robert Menendez (N.J.), the panel's top Democrat, received by the Washington Post. The Committee's discovery of its role has not been reported to date.

Joyner sent CNN a statement saying that it was "incredible and unimaginable" that Burkhalter would be nominated as an envoy. From the CNN website:

"When I learned that Mark Burkhalter, who was directed, directed and financed at me in a notoriously despicable, mean, hateful, evil, racist political campaign against me as a black-elected official who served in office, was directed against me, financed and financed I was immediately stunned, shocked, dismayed, sad and very, very hurt by a Senate vote as America's ambassador on foreign shores, "said Joyner, an Atlanta-based civil rights lawyer.

"We can do a lot better," he said.

Here is a summary of the 1995 journal constitution of the incident investigated:

Gordon Joyner, Fulton County Commissioner, has settled his defamation lawsuit against Commission Chairman Mitch Skandalakis and three members of the 1994 Skandalakis election team.

The settlement provides for an undisclosed payment to Joyner, a public letter of apology, and a confession of guilt, according to a statement released on Friday by the mediator who helped organize the settlement.

The occasion for the suit was a campaign brochure that was sent to 100,000 Fulton households and shows Joyner, who is black, an exaggerated hairstyle, thick eyebrows and lower lip, crooked eyes and the message "Vote for me and I will increase your taxes" .

Joyner filed a libel lawsuit against scandalakis last November; its election campaign chairman, State Senator Mark Burkhalter; his campaign treasurer, John Ramsey; and his campaign advisor Jonathan Beecher.

First, Skandalakis denied knowledge of the brochure. He later admitted that his campaign had paid for the brochure, but insisted that he didn't know the photo had been changed.

"In the fall of 1994, Mitch Skandalakis' campaign paid off and helped prepare and distribute the leaflet, which contained a distorted photo of you and inaccurate statements about you, which was attributed to you," said a letter to the 3rd October Joyner. "I and my campaign directors and advisors, who signed below, take full responsibility for the flyer."

The letter was published together with the declaration of agreement.

Joyner said he was bound by the terms of the agreement not to comment.

***.

The Mayor of Waycross is reversing its public stance on whether state law "Stand your Ground" should be repealed.

Michael-Angelo James was originally one of ten mayors who signed a letter last week calling on the General Assembly to withdraw the law that a person doing self-defense is not required to withdraw from a confrontation. The letter also included the names of the Mayors of Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Athens-Clarke, Decatur, Norcross, Milledgeville, Fairburn and Stockbridge.

After the news of the letter spread in the conservative city in southeast Georgia, James received negative feedback from voters. He called for his name to be removed as gun control supporters continue to spread the mayor's request.

"I believe that every citizen has the right to defend themselves against harm," James wrote to a voter on Facebook. "In short, I think we have the right to assert ourselves."

***.

In the advertising messages:

– The Planned Parenthood Action Fund supported Democrat Jon Ossoff in his race against U.S. Senator David Perdue.

– MP Philip Singleton, R-Newnan, has joined a growing list of GOP legislators who support the election of U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler.

***.

The state completed the election results three weeks after the first day.

There was a record turnout of 2.2 million primary elections, compared to 2 million votes cast during the 2008 primary election. Just over half of voters this year used postal ballot papers. The large number of postal ballot papers and the downsizing due to the corona virus delayed certification.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has announced that 5 million people will vote in the November general election. The final returns can be found here.

Support real journalism. Supporting local journalism. Subscribe to the Atlanta Journal Constitution today.
Show offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds detailed reports and research that will keep you up to date. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news, and intense journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news, and intense journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

With the state's largest team, the AJC reports what is really going on with your tax dollars
and your elected officials. Subscribe today.
Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for
the latest in Georgian politics.

Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reports and research
that keeps you up to date. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for
the latest in Georgian politics.