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Robert Horgan recall, Fayette County, Georgia, 2009

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A campaign to recall Robert Horgan from his position as a county commissioner in Fayette County, Georgia was launched in July 2009.[1] The effort did not result in a recall election being forced, and as of mid-2010, Horgan was still on the Fayette County Commission.[2]

At the time the recall effort was announced, Horgan had most recently been re-elected to a four-year position on the Fayette County Commission in November 2008 with his term scheduled to end in 2012.

Supporters of the recall asserted that Horgan had violated his oath of office and committed an act of misconduct.[3] These charges were made after Horgan was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.[4]

In August 2009, the recall effort was placed on hold after Horgan took the case to court. Horgan argued that the recall petition draws no connection between the marijuana arrest and his work as a commissioner.[5]

On August 28, 2009 Superior Court Judge A. Quillian Baldwin ruled that the recall petition was insufficient on the basis that Horgan's marijuana arrest was not related to his position in office.[6]

Recall supporters

The recall effort was chaired by Robert J. Ross, a Peachtree resident. Former county commissioner Harold Bost supported the recall effort.[1]

Marijuana arrest

Commissioner Horgan was arrested on Saturday, May 23, 2009, after being pulled over for an expired license plate tag. During the routine traffic stop a small amount of marijuana was found in the vehicle. Horgan was charged with a misdemeanor of possession of marijuana and driving with an expired tag. At the time of the arrest Horgan admitted that he had smoked marijuana while driving, according to the incident report.[3]

Ethics hearing

On September 28, 2009, Horgan was found guilty of three charges filed against him in light of the May 23 marijuana arrest. Horgan was found in violation of: not upholding the U.S. Constitution and state laws and unbecoming conduct. Horgan was found not in violation of attempting to solicit a bribe after he was placed in the back of the patrol car and asked "if there was anything that we could do to resolve this right here, right now!" Horgan faced about $1,000 in fines by the Ethics Commission. Additionally, Horgan faced misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession.[7]

Response to recall

In reaction to the recall and the related arrest Horgan said, "Since I decided not to resign, I will do everything I can to fight this."[8]

Path to the ballot

Recall supporters would have had to collect a minimum of 21,454 signatures, 30 percent of registered voters, if the judge who ruled on their petition had allowed it to go forward.[9]

On July 29, 2009 recall supporters submitted an official recall application as a first step that listed 540 recall sponsors. As per the laws governing recall in Georgia, supporters were required to collect signatures from a minimum of 100 registered voters.[9]

Lawsuit to stop recall

According to the brief filed with the court by Horgan's attorney, as Horgan sought to stop the recall:

  • The petition lacks pertinent details surrounding the marijuana charge, including whether or not it occurred while Horgan was conducting business as a county commissioner.
  • The petition/recall application doesn't say whether the marijuana arrest was “in any way related to his office”.
  • The petition doesn’t include a copy of the citations Horgan was given in connection with the case.
  • The recall application doesn't include a copy of the oath of office Horgan is alleged to have violated.

Ruling

On August 28, 2009 Superior Court Judge A. Quillian Baldwin ruled that the recall petition was insufficient on the basis that Horgan's marijuana arrest was not related to his position in office. However, Judge Baldwin warned Horgan that as the criminal case moves forward he might be forced to resign as a condition of his probation.[6]

See also

External links

References