clearn.png
Wednesday April 8th, 2020 9:09PM

State lawmaker from Buford says new evidence supports ousting speaker

By Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) A Georgia lawmaker from Buford says new evidence supports his efforts to oust the state House speaker following reports the powerful Republican repeatedly used his position to delay court proceedings for criminal defendants who are clients of his law practice.

Republican state Rep. David Clark of Buford held a news conference Wednesday with an independent researcher who says House Speaker David Ralston abused his power at a scale greater than what was previously documented in an investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV .

Former FBI agent Derek Somerville told reporters he found that Ralston used his legislative responsibilities as justification for delaying 226 cases a total of 966 times since becoming speaker in 2010.

"I don't see how anybody can faithfully hold the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives with this conduct in the public sector,'' said Somerville, who's now chief executive of a consulting firm for the energy industry. "It's beyond my grasp that the State Bar in Georgia would allow anyone to practice law like this.''

Ralston dismissed Somerville's findings in an interview with WSB-TV and WSB Radio. He also said he has never abused legislative privilege.

"I understand he is not an attorney and admittedly does not understand the legal system or the criminal justice system,'' Ralston said. "I also understand they spent over an hour and they didn't have anything critical to say about my performance as speaker. I think they just think I'm a bad lawyer.''

The initial media investigation had found Ralston asked judges to reschedule court cases at least 57 times in the past two years. Shortly afterward, the legislature approved a bill that would give judges the power to push back against requests for legislative leave, but critics remain skeptical about what they see as a weak proposal.

Somerville said his analysis showed Ralston last year only had 87 working days and three intact five-day weeks with all the leave he requested.

Somerville said he would also turn his research over to the State Bar of Georgia and state Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Clients of Ralston's private law practice who were helped by the delays included men charged with child molestation, assault and drunken driving.

In at least one civil case Somerville found a judge held Ralston and his client in contempt and fined them thousands of dollars for failing to respond to discovery requests and ignoring attempts to communicate for more than two years.

During the legislative session, Clark introduced a resolution encouraging the speaker to resign, accusing him of ``an unacceptable abuse of power.'' Only nine Republicans signed on.

The lawmaker used the news conference to again call for Ralston to resign.

"David Ralston used his power as speaker to abuse the right to justice of many alleged victims,'' Clark said. 

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News, Politics
  • Associated Tags: David Ralston, Georgia House of Representatives, ethics investigation , David Clark , House Speaker
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
State lawmaker from Buford says new evidence supports ousting speaker
A Georgia lawmaker from Buford says new evidence supports his efforts to oust the state House speaker following reports the powerful Republican repeatedly used his position to delay court proceedings for criminal defendants who are clients of his law practice.
12:53PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Read the full, redacted version of Mueller's report
You can read the full, redacted version of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign.
11:58AM ( 1 hour ago )
Strong storms rumble across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas
Severe thunderstorms rumbled across North Texas, the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas, producing tornadoes and unleashing widespread hail
10:55AM ( 2 hours ago )
Local/State News
Collins addresses White County Rotary, talks Mueller report, immigration, more
Georgia's 9th District Congressman Doug Collins told the White County Rotary Club on Tuesday
8:10AM ( 1 day ago )
Watchdog group joins chorus calling for Ralston's resignation
The founder of Georgia Ethics Watchdog is adding his voice to the chorus of those calling for Georgia House Speaker David Ralston to resign not only from his leadership position, but also from his legislative seat in the State House.
6:59AM ( 1 day ago )
Fox draws nearly 2.6 million viewers for Sanders town hall
Bernie Sanders took some heat from Democrats for appearing on Fox News Channel, but his town hall meeting there on Monday attracted the largest audience for any such event in the campaign cycle
9:13PM ( 1 day ago )
Politics
House Speaker Ralston fires back at critics, announces advisory group to study legislative-leave law
Georgia's Republican House Speaker David Ralston is firing back at reports that he has used his elective position to delay court proceedings for clients he represents as a criminal defense lawyer.
By Associated Press
2:00PM ( 1 month ago )
Plan would use tax breaks to repopulate rural Georgia
A group of state lawmakers is exploring the idea of using income tax breaks to help repopulate rural Georgia and the ghost towns that now dot the landscape after years of population decline.
By Associated Press
12:29PM ( 1 year ago )
Clarkesville Rep. appointed to GWCCA Overview Committee
House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) Wednesday announced the appointment of Rep. Terry Rogers (R-Clarkesville) to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Overview Committee.
By AccessWDUN Staff
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
GOP proposes protections for clergy on gay marriage
A top-ranking Republican leader wants to make clear that Georgia clergy can refuse to perform gay marriages, a protection they already enjoy under the U.S. Constitution.
By Associated Press
6:48AM ( 3 years ago )
Ralston proposes protection for Ga. clergy on gay marriage
A top-ranking Republican leader wants to make clear that Georgia clergy can refuse to perform gay marriages, a protection they already enjoy under the U.S. Constitution.
By The Associated Press
2:59PM ( 3 years ago )