Prince George's Democratic central committee willing to rescind Hall nomination -- Gazette.Net


The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee took a step toward withdrawing its nominee to fill a vacant delegate seat Monday, hours after additional legal challenges were filed by those laying claim to the post.

After learning that a Circuit Court judge intends to consider the challenges together, likely by the end of next week, the committee opted to take no formal action but declared through a nonbinding vote that the nomination of Greg Hall should be revoked.

The committee chose Hall earlier this month to fill the District 24 seat formerly held by Tiffany T. Alston, who pleaded no contest in October to a charge of misusing campaign funds. State lawyers say that Alston was automatically removed from office when her plea was entered; Alston disagrees.

Both Hall and Alston filed complaints Monday in Circuit Court .

In an amendment to a complaint filed last week, Hall asked the court to block the committee’s attempts to withdraw his name and asks that Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) be ordered to appoint him, according to his attorney.

Alston requested a temporary restraining order to prevent O’Malley from appointing a new delegate, arguing that because her sentence was converted to probation before judgment she has not been removed and the seat is not vacant.

Attorneys for both Hall and the central committee said a hearing likely would be scheduled for next week.

Hall’s nomination has come under fire over the past month due to handgun and drug possession charges he faced as a younger man. He also was implicated in a 1992 shoot-out that left a teenage boy dead.

O’Malley asked the committee earlier this month to withdraw Hall’s name. A spokeswoman said there were plenty of Prince George’s residents the governor would be happy to appoint, and that the legal challenges needed to play out before a decision was made.

The State Constitution says the governor must appoint a central committee’s nominee within 15 days; the clock on Hall’s nomination ran out Monday.

Hall, a former aide to County Councilman Will Campos (D-Dist. 2) of Hyattsville, defended his qualifications after the meeting Monday.

“My constituents know what I do in my community,” Hall said. “Evidently, the governor [doesn’t] believe in redemption.”

Hall acknowledged that he could understand the governor’s concerns about his history, but that his support from the community and local elected officials should carry more weight than his past.

The committee voted 12-10 to nominate Hall at a Nov. 2 hearing.

The runner-up was Terry Speigner, the committee chairman, who says he’s no longer interested in the seat.

Speigner said the committee was revising its procedures for filling vacancies to make sure nominees were more thoroughly vetted before being sent to the governor.

Joseph E. Sandler, an attorney for the Maryland Democratic Party who is advising the central committee on the legal issues surrounding the vacancy, said that the final decision on the case likely would be made by the state Court of Appeals.

The courts probably would expedite the process so a delegate could be in place before the start of the upcoming General Assembly session in January, Sandler said.