Gloucester 40 may get their day in the Supreme Court in November

By Matt Sabo, Daily Press – 8/20/2010

The Virginia Supreme Court does not have the Gloucester 40 case on its September session calendar. That means the 40 Gloucester citizens trying to overturn a judge’s decision to dock them $2,000 apiece for filing civil petitions seeking the removal of office of four county supervisors will have to wait a little while longer for a hearing.

The next Supreme Court hearings would be held Nov. 1-5. “It’s probable it’s going to go in November,” said Steve Emmert, the Virginia Beach appellate attorney representing the 40 Gloucester citizens. There’s no guarantees the appeal will be heard in November, however. “We’re just waiting,” Emmert said. If the case is heard in November, a decision could be out around Jan. 14, 2011.

The Gloucester 40 gathered thousands of signatures and filed the civil petitions with Gloucester Circuit Court seeking the removal of four Gloucester supervisors: Teresa Altemus, Bobby Crewe, Michelle Ressler and Gregory Woodard. The petitions were later thrown out on technicalities and Judge Westbrook J. Parker levied $80,000 in sanctions against the petitions for what he characterized as an abuse of the judicial system. Among the arguments put forth by the Gloucester 40 is that the sanctions are a violation of their First Amendment rights. Altemus was ultimately voted out of office last November, garnering just 18 percent of the vote.