Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
The Shelby County Electoral Board was convened this afternoon to hear two petition objections filed against Lynn Williams and Mitchel Eslinger.
Attorney Tom DeVore was representing both objectors while Williams and Eslinger did not have representation.
Williams is a current county board member who has opined during county board meetings that the county board should follow the law. However, it appears in his petition objection case, he wants the law ignored for reasons that have nothing to do with the case before the petition objection board.
Williams filed petitions that failed to include numbers on each page, which is considered a fatal error which would normally lead to removal from the ballot, and which is exactly what happen two years ago in the Circuit Clerk’s petition objection hearing.
The board adopted rules for the hearing, however, there were multiple violations of those rules in our opinion.
1. Initial Hearing “…..the Board Requires that the objectors and the candidates/petitioners are prepared to proceed with the hearing of the case. There will be no continuances or resetting of the initial hearing or future hearings except for good cause shown…”
5. Motion Practice – “b.) Motions for continuance are discouraged and will be granted only in extreme circumstances.
Williams, through assistance or direction from Eslinger in violation of the rules, asked for a continuance since his lawyer is not there.
Is a lawyer’s non-presence a good cause shown for a continuance? Why was he not there? There was no good cause shown as simply stating your lawyer is not there does not show good cause, it just shows unpreparedness, assuming he had a lawyer for this matter.
The board, at the motion of Jay Scot, and seconded by the Circuit Clerk ……..voted 2:1 to continue the Williams objection hearing. The County Clerk voted no, and in our opinion was the proper decision because of what Williams admitted to.
“I freely admit I did not put the numbers, … I’m not going to lie to any of you guys, I messed up, I did.”
When the Petitioner admits during the hearing that he did not do as the law requires, there is no need for a continuance because no lawyer can change that fact. How ironic that the very county board member that has opined that he wants the law followed by the county board appears to be begging to have it ignored in order to stay on the ballot rather than being tossed from the ballot as has been done in the past in this county.
Eslinger also asked for a continuance as he also was not prepared and attempted to introduce hearsay information regarding his two petition sheets not having the notary signature on them.
As can be seen in the video, Eslinger was directly instructing Williams on what to say during Williams’ portion of the hearing, which appears to be a violation of the adopted rules.
2. Appearance – “….Non-attorneys shall not appear or participate in the board’s proceedings on behalf of the parties, except that non-attorneys may participate at any records examination on behalf of any party.”
The board did not vote on Eslinger’s motion for a continuance but did vote to allow Eslinger to have a subpoena issued to his notary with the County Clerk voting present.
The next hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 28th at 2 pm in the County Courthouse.
We encourage everyone to watch the video as words do not do it justice.