Judge Delays Ruling on Jackson’s Sunshine Law Allegations Until 2:00 P.M. Friday

Judge Delays Ruling on Jackson’s Sunshine Law Allegations Until 2:00 P.M. Friday

After about three hours of hearing from Dr. Erwin Jackson’s attorney, C.B. Upton, and Lou Norvell from the City of Tallahassee, Judge Cooper decided he would rule on the lawsuit filed by Jackson tomorrow at 2:00 P.M.

Jackson alleges that the City of Tallahassee violated the Florida Sunshine Law when officials excluded 84 of the 93 applicants from the selection process for a new city commissioner without holding a public meeting.

Judge Cooper appeared prepared to rule today, however he notified the parties he would need to watch the recording of the city commission proceedings before issuing his ruling.

The hearing began with Mr. Upton providing the rationale for the lawsuit. He argued that the city violated the Florida Sunshine Law when City Commissioners sent their top choices to city staffers in “the shade.”

Upton said that the tabulation of the choices by city staffers excluded 84 applicants and was a governmental decision that required a publicly noticed meeting with a chance for public input.

Judge Cooper repeatedly queried Upton about the exclusion. He asked Upton if any of the excluded applicants could have been nominated at the meeting.

Upton indicated the city agenda for the meeting only referenced the nine applicants. In addition, Upton said the City Commission may have had the authority to waive the rules and nominate other candidates, but they did not and that is why the lawsuit was filed.

The City’s attorney in the case, Lou Norvell, argued that there was no Sunshine Law violation because each city commissioner acted individually, not as a committee.

Norvell went to great lengths to tell Judge Cooper that the city commissioners did not communicate with each other during the process of trimming down the number of applicants.

However, Jackson’s allegations did not contend that there was communication between commissioners.

Jackson’s argument about excluding applicants without a public hearing was mentioned several times by Mr. Upton during the hearing and reiterated again during his rebuttal.

Judge Cooper will reconvene the hearing tomorrow at 2:00 P.M.

6 Responses to "Judge Delays Ruling on Jackson’s Sunshine Law Allegations Until 2:00 P.M. Friday"

  1. Historically Dr. J has just accepted the local partisan hack Judges decisions in favor of the corrupt local politicians and kind of just accepted the rulling as a defeat.
    Locals rejoice once again calling Dr. J a political Gadfly and dissimmising him as an annoying irrelevant nobody.
    But one of these days Dr. J will appeal to a higher court and hopefully be assigned a fair judge.
    One of these days I tell you!

  2. The applicants should have gone through the HR process and staff and been eliminated through that process before they ever made it to the commissioners.

    The commissioners picked their most recent campaign contributors and it was a loss for everyone.

    If the commissioners can’t do any better than this I hope voters send them packing and Curtis Richardson’s and Ms Bryant’s seats will be the next up for re-election. I hope those seats do not go un opposed. I hope candidates are lining up to give voters the choice the next time.

  3. I like that the judge delayed the decision because he needed more information- which ironically, is exactly what the city commission should have done – even if it involved the governor making the decision, rather than the commission.

    Citizens have a right to know what was in the text between Bryant & Curtis Richardson.

    Curtis Richardson should come forward and divulge the text that is in question? Curtis should either come forward and provide the public with the text or resign.

    1. Totally agree Hope and Maven. Curtis “I dont see a cloud over the comission” Richardson would have opened up his phone and let everyone take a pic of his texting in question right there at the meeting if Curtis were an honest man.
      And another thing:
      To all you who gave Curtis a pass … well you are poor judges of character and you were wrong.

    If i was Upton, I would have put in an FOI request a nanosecond after she blared out that Curtis sent it to her.

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