Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

Political Vine: The Insider's Source on Georgia Politics

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David Ralston: “Hire me and I’ll delay your case”

by Bill Simon

Now, I’m fairly certain there are many “legislator-lawyers” who abuse the invocation of either O.C.G.A. 17-8-26 or O.C.G.A. 9-10-150 to delay calendar calls or trial dates (and, eventually, you others will be unmasked for your abuses of the system).

But, for the moment, we’ll just look at one of you: Attorney David Ralston, State House Rep., District 7.

There’s a video ad currently running in the 7th District, concerning a criminal misdemeanor case based on a 2005 traffic accident, in which Amanda Mosher’s husband and daughter were killed in Gilmer County by another driver. (Here’s a link to the ad)

In 2006, that other driver, whose name is Walter Emery Layson, was charged with two counts of 2nd Degree Vehicular Homicide by the District Attorney.

Sometime after that, Layson hired David Ralston to be his defense attorney.

Sometime after that, in August 2009, Ralston initiated a deliberate process of engaging in “trial stall” based on multiple invocations of O.C.G.A. 17-8-26 thru multiple letters to the Court, ending on July 8, 2013.

OCGA 17-8-26 allows any member of the General Assembly to tell a court “Hey, umm…I gots some really, really, REALLY important ‘legislative stuff’ to take care of on that day you want me here for a calendar call/start a trial, and I cannot be there.”

The problem is, if the records of “legislative business” don’t match-up to the claims from a legislator-lawyer who claims these things to a Court, what should happen? Should the legislator-lawyer continue to get elected, and be allowed to milk the system for his clients to the point when their case either gets dismissed, or settled for a feather-slap on their wrists?

And should those legislator-lawyers continue to hold onto his/her license to practice law if they are caught lying to the Court, claiming in writing that they cannot attend because of “X Event”, and it turns out that there is evidence that “X Event” did not happen?

Intriguing questions to ponder, to say the least.

What “legislative meeting?”

As just one example for the viewing audience, David Ralston, on August 3, 2009, wrote this letter to Appalachian Judicial Circuit Court Judge Roger E. Bradley (click here for the PDF of the letter).

In this letter, in the 3rd Paragraph, Ralston claims to the Court that, for the calendar call on August 4, 2009, he is “…required to be at a legislative meeting that afternoon. Because this meeting is a very important part of my duties as a member of the Georgia General Assembly, I hereby certify, pursuant to O.C.G.A. Section 17-8-26, that these cases should be continued from this calendar call.”

So, supposedly, Ralston had a very important meeting on the afternoon of August 4, 2009 that required his involvement as a (whisper this term in that voice of gravity and seriousness) “legislator.”

Funny thing about “legislative duties.” For any time a “legislator” engages in some activity of an official nature, even if it was showing-up to a meeting that is convened and adjourned within a span of time of 30-seconds, well, that counts as “legislative business” and…therefore, they are entitled to be paid per diem/expense amount for that work time. To the tune of $173.00 per day. (Hardly a dollar amount David Ralston would ever pass-up claiming.)

In August of 2009, there was no legislative session in operation that would have garnered him immediate payment for a per diem from the Fiscal Office.

In order for Ralston to have been paid for August 4, 2009 legislative work duties, he would have had to submit a claim via the House Fiscal Office and been paid by them via a check.

Last Friday, I ventured down to the House Fiscal Office to spend a decent amount of the day reviewing…and copying all of David Ralston’s Committee Expense Vouchers and Official Vouchers, from August 1, 2009 thru April 24, 2014.

I was curious because someone had handed me a copy of this August 3, 2009 letter (along with several other letters) recently and they had made the claim that Amanda Mosher was implying on that video ad…the claim that Ralston deliberately delayed justice for the death of her husband and her daughter.

In reviewing all of those copies of per diems, expense and official expenses for which Ralston did claim legislative expense/per diem was owed him…I did not find one for August 4, 2009.

In fact, there are MANY of such instances of dates in which Ralston claimed thru multiple letters to the Court that he was unavailable due to “legislative duties” and there was no line-up with his actual per diem/expense payments for those dates of legislative activity.

Mr. Ralston, did you lie to the Court in your letter of August 3, 2009?

I’m fairly certain, knowing you and your Speaker’s Office staff and campaign team, that you may seek to fabricate a Voucher Number and a Check Number to claim that you did have an actual legislative day on August 4, 2009, and you got paid for it.

I also expect some idiotic threat letter from your campaign’s legal counsel, either mailed to me, emailed to me, or emailed to the AJC with fake outrage and such nonsense as the crap attempted last Saturday with Fitzi (Johnson).

You can create all the campaign pageantry you so desire, Mr. Ralston, complete with your minions of legislators who are so stupid as to work on your behalf.

None of that matters when it comes your worthlessness as a human being in deliberately, repeatedly, abusing a legislative loophole to advantage your legal clients to delay justice for the victims of their acts.

A worthlessness that can best be exhibited by the final Order of The Court for your client, Mr. Layson, on August 20, 2013, in which he was able to buy (not even serve himself…but BUY) 100 hours of community service for $10 per hour to contribute to a non-profit.

Order of The Court, State of Georgia vs. Layson

The Legislature will do fine without you as a legislator or as a Speaker. Whether that occurs on May 20th, Mr. Ralston, or that you don’t get reelected as Speaker next January, your end is near. Very, very near.

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Today's Deep Thought

If I was the head of a country that lost a war, and I had to sign a peace treaty, just as I was signing, I'd glance over the treaty and then suddenly act surprised. 'Wait a minute! I thought we won!'


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