In March 4 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
Dry, is the result of the decision of Special Judge Julia H. Adams, filed this past Tuesday in Jamestown.
In her 15-page decision the judge addresses the points raised by both sides in the case and in the end reports, "-It is ordered and adjudged that the election results of November 24, 2009 for the Lake Precinct and the Jamestown Precinct, Russell County Kentucky, be and are voided for illegality in the conduct of said elections and that they be held for naught."
In her judgment Adams dismisses the argument by local attorney Derrick Helm that the matter had already been decided in court.
She concluded that the previous case had been a request for guidance by the court, and as such it was not a win-lose situation as required for it to be a previously decided case.
She added that the previous case had not heard anything from the "people" of the area effected by the election, until this suit.
The judge agreed with the petitioners in the case, finding that the general assembly has specified that city and county elections are the venues for moist or wet votes in Kentucky.
Adams went on to note that there are even specific laws addressing elections by precinct, but the petitions calling for the election to allow alcohol to be served in restaurants did not cite those more restrictive laws.
In her reasoning, the judge explained that given that a precinct is not a valid division under the law cited, the petitions would have to be viewed as being for the entire county, and therefore carried too few signatures to be valid for calling an election.
She also found that wording added to the ballot regarding promotion of tourism was not appropriate under the law.
Though unaddressed in her judgment, Adams had referred to the moist election in the city of Jamestown as being a decided no-vote.
The importance of that being that Kentucky law holds limits on how long must be waited before another election can be held in a city that has voted on a moist or wet issue.
By nullifying the election in the county the door was left open for another election there.
Her decision could be appealed by the defendants in the case, though at least two have indicated that they had no interest in pushing for a "moist" decision.
The only man to request to enter the case, Greg Shaw, or some of the other local citizens in the case could ask to have the case heard in a higher court.
Some of those who had initiated the case, Rick Neff, Billy Dunbar and Linda P. Stephens were dismissed from the case by Adams who agreed with the defendants, in that one must be a resident in an area casting a ballot in that election to contest it.
With her decisions Adams has returned Russell County to its previous state, legally dry.