‘Gloucester 40’ case goes to state Supreme Court

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Dec 22, 2010 - 04:36 PM

Members of the "Gloucester 40" finally have a date with Virginia’s Supreme Court. The high court has calendared oral arguments from both sides to take place in the late morning of Jan. 11, 2011.

The 40 residents are appealing $80,000 worth of sanctions levied against them, stemming from organizing petitions to oust four Gloucester County supervisors from office in 2008.

The removal effort petitioners pursued followed a five-month special grand jury investigation that returned 14 misdemeanor indictments against former supervisor Teresa Altemus and current supervisors Bobby Crewe, Michelle Ressler and Gregory Woodard on July 8, 2008.

The indictments charged malfeasance, misfeasance and misuse of office in connection with the four supervisors’ actions during and immediately following a controversial board of supervisors’ meeting of Jan. 2-3, 2008. Criminal and civil charges were later dropped against the four members of the governing body.

The petitions, which collected over 6,000 signatures, were non-suited on motion by a special prosecutor during a brief hearing that November for being flawed procedurally and substantively.

Each of the 40 residents was sanctioned $2,000 apiece by visiting Circuit Court judge Westbrook Parker, who said at the time that the petitioners’ actions were one of the worst abuses of the judicial system he had seen and stated, "This should not happen in America."