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Alabama Supreme Court denies petition and upholds ruling May 23, 2017 Hayneville election illegal

By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal

An effort to have the Alabama Supreme Court direct the Lowndes County Circuit Court to vacate a July 7 order declaring the May 23, 2017 Hayneville Municipal Election of Council member Carole C. Scrushy as “void” and “illegal” has failed.

According to court documents, the town of Hayneville and Scrushy petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Lowndes Circuit Court to vacate its July 7, 2017 order denying the town and Scrushy’s motion to dismiss “what they characterized as an election contest filed by Darshini Bandy, Connie Johnson, and Justin Pouncey (hereinafter referred to as ‘the electors’) and to enter an order dismissing the electors’ action.”

However, according to court documents release Friday, March 9, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled, “The July 7,2017 judgment of the circuit court enforcing its prior orders concerning the August 2016 election and the special election to fill the vacant council seat in District A is a valid judgment.”

And the court said, “We deny the petition.”

According to the documents, “Accordingly, Scrushy and the town are not entitled to the relief they seek — a writ directing the circuit court to dismiss its July 7, 2017 judgment enforcing its prior orders.”

The petition was denied with Chief Justice Lyn Stuart and Justices Michael F. Bolin, Alisa Kelli Wise, Brandy E. Menheim Jr. and Tommy Bryan all concurring.

Dissenting were Justices Tom Parker, Greg Shaw and James Allen Main.

According to court documents, “On June 20, 2017 the circuit court conducted a hearing on the parties’ respective motions, and on July 7, 2017 it entered an order declaring void the May 23, 2017 special election as illegal.”

The circuit court further ordered that Mayor David Daniel, Kim Payton, Lula Tyson-Bailey, Sharon Reeves, and Cynthia Perryman (McDonald) appear at the Hayneville Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 10, 2017, “and then and there meet as a town council and conduct such business as the council chooses to conduct until the council meeting is either lawfully continued or adjourned.”

According to court documents, however, at some point before the meeting, Probate Judge John E. Hulett entered an order “purporting to void all the orders entered by the circuit court concerning the special election, declaring Scrushy to be the duly elected winner of the vacant District A council seat and directing that Scrushy be sworn in as a council member for District A.”

Also, “According to the electors, since the probate court entered its order declaring Scrushy to be the duly elected winner of the vacant District A council seat, Scrushy attended and has continued to attend all council meetings.”

And on August 4, 2017 the circuit court entered an order reaffirming its July 7, 2017 order declaring the May 23, 2017 special election void.

At the time a writ of mandamus was sought by town and accepted by the Alabama Supreme Court, Michael G. Strickland, an attorney who represents the town of Hayneville, said,” Writs are rarely accepted by the supreme court but this one has been accepted.”

The Signal reached out to Hayneville Mayor David Daniel for comment on the court’s denial of the town’s writ of mandamus petition. However, Daniel declined to comment at this time until he could talk to the town’s attorney.