Schedule conflicts could

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 27, 2000

postpone open meeting case

Staff Report

A continuance is likely to postpone the scheduled court trial of a suit brought against the Pike County by the Alabama Press Association and The Messenger.

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Due to schedule conflicts and other reasons, attorneys for both sides signed a motion for a continuance of the trial scheduled to begin today in front of Pike County Circuit Judge Gary McAliley.

Although the motion had not been approved at press time, it was expected to be finalized late Thursday or early today.

The suit was filed by The Messenger and the Alabama Press Association in August over the Pike County Commission’s use of a paper ballot in the attempted selection of Pike County Emergency Management Director. Though a vote count was revealed, commissioners did not disclose their personal votes in the matter.

The commission petitioned the Alabama Attorney General for an opinion, and he ruled that the vote was within the boundaries of state law. His opinion is used as a guide and not binding law, however, and The Messenger and the Alabama Press Association filed a suit in Pike County Circuit Court alleging that the vote was taken outside the spirit of state Sunshine Laws.

Subsequent to the suit being filed, Pike County Commission Attorney Alan Jones filed a motion for dismissal which was denied.

Should McAliley approve the continuance, a new court date will be announced in the coming days.