Decision due Friday in ‘Gloucester 40’ case

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Mar 02, 2011 - 05:07 PM

The Virginia Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision Friday morning in the case of 40 Gloucester residents being sanctioned $80,000 for organizing petitions to oust four Gloucester County supervisors from office in 2008.

Members of "the Gloucester 40" appealed to Virginia’s high court regarding the sanctions levied against them by visiting Circuit Court Judge Westbrook Parker.

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 on Jan. 2-3, 2008. 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 by 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."