Disctrict 6 verdict expected this week

Published 11:24 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Pike County Commission District 6 election contest still awaits a final verdict, but that could come this week.

Judge Joel Holley, who is ruling in the case between Commissioner Karen Berry and her November 2008 election opponent Oren Fannin, said he plans to make a decision by the end of the week.

“I’m hoping to have it completed by the end of this week,” Holley said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Holley, of Lanett, said after the final trial July 8 that a verdict would likely come within two weeks.

However, Holley said there are a few factors that have put his decision on hold.

“I understand there was a hearing in Birmingham involving one of the witnesses that testified in the case in Troy,” Holley said. “I was told they had some transcripts in the matter in Troy and possibly would impeach one of those witnesses.”

Holley did not say who brought the trial to his attention, but he said the hearing was supposed to have been held last week.

But this isn’t the only point Holley said has delayed his ruling.

Holley said he’s also researching a point of law and reading through documents sent by Fannin’s attorney Joel Lee Williams and Berry’s attorney Frank Ralph.

“Both of them had sent me lengthy written documents, and I wanted to give time to go through those,” Holley said.

Holley said while he has more to consider, he does not foresee reopening the trial.

“Unless someone can show one of those witnesses actually perjured themselves or someone has significant new evidence, it is closed until the final ruling,” Holley said.

Once the ruling is made, it will be filed in the Pike County Circuit Clerk’s Office. The original contest was filed by Fannin in December, after he fell to Berry by just six votes.

The evidence presented in trial claims voters voted for Berry but live outside the district, absentee ballots were signed without notary witness and questions the validity of other absentee ballots.