Como mayor’s challenger seeks to reinstate lawsuit

Published 6:40 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Judy Sumner has asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to reinstate her lawsuit challenging the results of the Como mayor’s election in 2005.

The case is among dozens the Supreme Court will hear in the September-October term. Sumner’s case is among cases the court will decide using lawyers’ briefs rather than oral arguments.

Sumner was attempting to prove that she actually received more votes than incumbent Azria Lewers in the Democratic Party primary.

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Sumner claimed she initially led the Como mayor’s runoff election on May 17, 2005, by a count of 294 to 291. Sumner claimed that even after a count of affidavit and absentee ballots, she led 302-298.

She alleged that the Como Democratic Executive Committee met again on May 24 and counted 12 of 19 absentee ballots that were rejected on May 17, 2005. Lewers received all 12 rejected ballots, giving him a total of 310 votes to Sumner’s 302.

Sumner’s lawsuit was filed in June 2005 in Panola County Circuit Court.

In November 2006, special appointed Judge Sharion Aycock threw out the lawsuit on a technicality, citing Sumner’s failure to provide sufficient bond, as required by law, to pay all costs in case the petition was dismissed.

Also before the Supreme Court are:

— The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance’s recommendation that Leflore County Court Judge Solomon Osborne be suspended for 90 days without pay and assessed more than $2,500 for engaging in judicial misconduct.

The commission has alleged that Osborne failed to “observe the high standards of conduct required of a judge by making a public spectacle on the streets of Greenwood while impeding the repossession of an automobile.”

Osborne abused his power, influenced the actions of police and demeaned the judicial office, the commission said.

— The Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance’s recommendation that Hinds County Justice Court Judge Nicki Boland be publicly reprimanded for comments she made in 2005 at a National Drug Court Training Conference in Dallas.

The commission has alleged that during a training session with the Hinds County Drug Court Planning team, Boland became upset and combative with the group and said that as far as she was concerned “the African-American community can just go to hell.”

Boland, according to the commission, also said the Hinds County Board of Supervisors gave no leadership and that supervisors were not intelligent. Three of the five Hinds supervisors are black.

The commission found that “inflammatory, derogatory language and disruptive behavior” rose to the level of judicial misconduct.

Boland has said that what she talked about at the Texas conference was her frustration with “so-called black leaders trying to sabotage the drug court system for their own personal and political gain.”