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Washington County Circuit Judge Larry Medlock has set a bench trial for April 14 and 15 to determine Justin Green’s eligibility to be Mayor of the City of Salem. 

Green was sworn in after the November election in which he defeated Democrat challenger William Ackerman by 572 votes and continues to serve in office. 

On February 19, Medlock held another hearing and ruled on several topics brought up by the petitioner, Ackerman, who brought the suit against his Republican challenger in the Nov. 2019 general election. 

This matter was originally brought up in the fall by Washington County Democratic Chair and attorney Darlene Briscoe. 

Briscoe alleged that because Green owned two pieces of property in Washington County (one inside the City of Salem limits and one outside the Salem voting district) that he was living in the residence that was outsisde the city limits. 

However, Green showed proof that he lives in Salem, complete with a home with running water, cable and utility bills addressed to the residence. 

Ackerman filed the suit on November 18, alleging that Green wasn’t a resident of Salem and therefore not eligible to run in the election for mayor. 

Green filed a motion on Feb. 4 to continue a hearing to quash a lawsuit brought by Ackerman who has continued arguing that Green should not have been a candidate for Mayor based on his residency.

Green asked for the hearing to be moved to Feb. 19 at 4p.

Medlock set an emergency order for a hearing to sort out several motions filed by Green in his ongoing battle with Ackerman who has questioned Green’s legitimacy to be mayor.

Medlock ruled that Green’s motion to quash would be partially granted. 
 
“The relevant time period for which the Petitioner must prove that [Green] was not resident of the City of Salem is from November 4, 2018 to November 5, 2019, which is the date of the election. The Court would authorize Petitioner to obtain the records for two-year period prior to the election of November 5, 2019,” wrote Medlock in his decision.
 
“The Court believes there may be some information that the
court might find helpful pre-dating the relevant time frame to assist the finder of fact in determining Mr. Green’s residence during the relevant time frame. The Court finds that
anything preceding that time period is too far removed from the relevant time frame and that the additional year should provide appropriate insight.”
 
Medlock ruled that Ackerman can subpoena records regarding Green’s residency, which would include public documents, utility bills, etc.
 
“[Ackerman] may request redacted copies of any and all tax returns, and may request personal financial documents from
opposing counsel which shall not be released until agreed to by the parties or ordered by the Court,” Medlock noted. 
 
Medlock granted, in part, Green’s request for attorney fees as Ackerman defied the Court’s order December 4th, 2019, causing the Green to once again respond and defend his position regarding discovery.
 
The Court made it very clear that previous subpoenas were overly broad for the issue before the court, according to Medlock.
 
Ackerman argues the case of State Election Board vs. Bayh provides authority as to obtaining information concerning residency, school records, payment records, tuition, voter registration, etc.
 
The Court finds that the issue in the Bayh case was whether he was resident of the State of Indiana five (5) years next
preceding the election and the position was for Governor, as opposed to second class city.
The relevant time frame for the two offices is substantially different, Medlock noted.
 
The Court awards the Green two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) in attorney fees for Ackerman’s defiance of the previous court order which Green was required to respond to.
 
Those fees shall be paid directly to Green’s attorney, Larry Wilder within sixty (60) days.
 
Any further violations of the order of the Court may result in additional attorney fees being granted to Green. 
 
On January 30, Ackerman through counsel (Doug Leatherbury) filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. His designation of evidence consisted of Ackerman’s Objection to Motion to Quash, Amended Verified Petition to Contest Election, Statement of facts and Sequence of Events, Ackerman’s Response to Subpoena Duces Tecum, Affidavit of William Ackerman and Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment.

Medlock responded to each of those as follows:

  1.  Ackerman’s Objection to Motion to Quash contains nothing of evidentiary value that would lead the Court to believe that there are no genuine issues of material fact.
    2. Ackerman designated the Amended Verified Petition to Contest the Election includes only conclusory statements that are not evidence.
    3. Ackerman’s statements of facts and sequence of events includes the his legal contentions but are not evidence.
    4. Ackerman’s Response to Subpoena Duces Tecum does not include reliable evidence which could lead the Court to conclude that there are no genuine issues of material fact.
    5. The Affidavit of William Ackerman encompasses [a] wide range of allegations. He attached documents which are not certified or authenticated. Those documents have notations in the margins, but the Court cannot determine who made the notions,
    whether they are accurate, or the purpose of the notions. The Affidavit also contains conclusory determinations of law which Ackerman is not qualified to make. It contains third party hearsay statements and alleged statements from currently confidential sources which cannot be evaluated for reliability or accuracy.
    6. Memorandum in Support of Summary Judgment contains no admissible evidence which would allow the Court to find that there are no genuine issue of material fact. 

Green’s Motion to Strike is granted and because Ackerman’s
Motion for Summary Judgment is so lacking in the designation of evidence, the Court summarily denies the Motion for Summary Judgment, according to Medlock.

Summary Judgment requires [a] party at the time of filing the motion or response, to designate all parts of pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, matters ofjudicial notice, and any other matters which it relies upon for purposes of the motion. party opposing the motion shall also designate to the Court each material issue of fact which that party asserts precludes entry of Summary Judgment and the evidence relevant thereto.

The judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the designated evidentiary matter shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as matter of law.

Medlock wrote that the summary judgment cannot be granted based upon Ackerman’s assertion and his conclusions of facts and law that are unsupported by admissible evidence.