Monday, June 13, 2011

Nix: Say Your Elected Official Deserves the Boot — What Then?

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 8:08 AM

In today's CP, James Nix lays out why it's tough to oust an elected official from office — even if, like Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence, they've been busted by WSMV-Channel 4 working only three days a week, running errands in a county car, and hiring relatives for unadvertised positions. But Nix does show where the legal strategy may lie:

[Davidson County District Attorney Torry] Johnson pointed out two sections of state law that could apply to removing a court clerk from office. One allows judges to remove their clerks for as many as six reasons. In Torrence’s case, the one that might apply, Johnson said, is “for incapacity, neglect of duty or misbehavior in office.”

But the procedure of a judge removing a clerk leaves much to be determined, according to the district attorney. The state ouster statute that allows for the removal of elected officials might be the clearer path, but as Johnson said, it’s “a very elaborate process.”

And as Johnson pointed out to reporters in May, Nix writes, "there had been no indication of criminal activity on Torrence’s part. The investigation by the district attorney’s office simply resulted from the alleged misbehavior."

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