Alabama’s Dec. 12 Special Election for U. S. Senate, bursts into national consciousness, with charges that Judge Roy Moore sexually misused teenage girls in the 1970’s

News Analysis by John Zippert, Co-Publisher

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Vote or Die Campaign supporters rally in Selma

National attention has been focused of Alabama’s December 12th Special Election for U. S. Senate between Doug Jones (Democrat) and Roy Moore (Republican). Moore was accused by five women, who were teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, of sexually misconduct in the 1970’s, when he was a thirty-year old Assistant District Attorney in Etowah County.
Moore denies all of the charges, but many Republican Senators and leaders have suggested that he withdraw from the race, in favor of a write-in candidate.
Initially four of the girls, now women in their fifties, made statements published in Friday’s Washington Post which were corroborated by as many as 30 family and other witnesses that Moore attempted to sexually mistreat them.
On Monday, a fifth woman made allegations of attempted sexual assault by Moore when she was 16. She stated that Moore offered her a ride home after work at a Gadsden restaurant and took her to a secluded area behind the restaurant and tried to sexually attack her in the car. She escaped his unwanted advances by jumping out of the car.
This week’s New Yorker magazine carries stories quoting people in Gadsden saying that Moore was banned from visiting the city’s mall because he went there to befriend and pick-up underage girls.

Even before this week’s revelations about sexual misconduct, the race between Doug Jones and Roy Moore was projected to be close. A recent poll showed each with 46% of the vote with the rest undecided. Other polls show Moore with a slight lead 49% to 45% for Jones and some show Jones leading Moore by a similar margin.
Many political observers point to the “embarrassment factor” which is how many voters are embarrassed by the prospect of voting for Moore, whose political views and past actions suggest that he is a right-wing religious extremist who will use his position in the U. S. Senate to advance his distorted views and not help the people of Alabama.
Moore is a self-appointed, self-anointed religious zealot who says his directions come from God. He willingly misinterprets the Constitution when it serves his purposes. His right-wing Evangelical Christian conservative followers and base, which represent a significant portion of Alabama’s white voters, support these views unconditionally. These voters supported him in the primary against Luther Strange and voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election.
Moore was twice removed from his state Supreme Court position, once for disobeying a federal court order to remove a 5,200-pound granite Ten Commandments monument from the lobby of the state judicial building, and later for urging state probate judges to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.
Moore actively supported Trump’s ‘birtherism campaign’ which suggested that President Obama was not born in the United States and was used to discredit Obama’s legitimacy.
He said more recently that Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., should not be allowed to serve in Congress because he’s a Muslim. Asked about those comments during a Washington visit, Moore said only, “I’ll address that later.”
Many national observers and commentators have suggested that Alabama voters have a real choice between Moore and Doug Jones. Senator Amy Klobachar of Minnesota said, “Alabama voters can choose between Jones who courageously prosecuted Klansmen, who bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963, killing four teenage girls, or vote for Moore who was improperly pursuing dates with teenage girls. ”
A major factor in the election will be the turnout of Black voters in the Black-Belt counties and major urban areas of Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville and Mobile. A strong Black voter turnout can help swing a close election to Doug Jones.
Attorney Faya Rose Toure of Selma has been spearheading a ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ since the summer to increase voter registration, education and turnout among the state’s Black voters. ”We know that if Black voters do not participate that people will die because healthcare will be eliminated, good jobs at livable wages will be lost, affordable college education will be curtailed and police brutality will continue killing our Black youth.”
“We must participate in this special election on December 12 and future elections coming in 2018 to protect Black people and insure policies and benefits to keep us alive,” said Toure.
Moore has categorically denied all allegations against him for sexual misconduct with teenage girls. He has refused to consider suggestions from national Republican leaders like Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, that he step aside in favor of a Republican write-in candidate. McConnell and other Republican Senators have indicated that they may challenge Moore and try to censure and remove him if he elected to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Sessions in the U. S. Senate.
There are less than four weeks until the election on December 12, and voters in Alabama will now make their special election selection under the glare of national press and political attention.

EDITORIAL : Vote in the Democratic Primary on August 15 for Doug Jones for U. S. Senate

 

Doug JonesWe strongly urge all of our readers to vote next Tuesday, August 15, 2017 in the Democratic Primary for Doug Jones for U. S. Senate. This is a special election to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he resigned to become Attorney General. This seat is currently held by Luther Strange, a Republican.
Doug Jones is a proven progressive candidate that can serve as a voice for all Alabama citizens in the U. S. Senate. Doug Jones when he served as U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, under President Bill Clinton, successfully prosecuted two of the Klu Klux Klansmen who bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
Doug Jones is not afraid to stand up for a better multi-racial Alabama with fairness and justice for all. He wants to vote for quality, affordable health care, including a public option for all Alabamians. He supports an increase in the minimum wage to a livable wage. He wants to place college education within reach for all families without burdening students with overwhelming debt.
There are seven candidates running in the Democratic Primary, all are better than Luther Strange, Mo Brooks and Judge Roy Moore. Doug Jones was enthusiastically endorsed by Alabama New South Alliance, Alabama Democratic Conference, labor unions and civic groups. Doug Jones is the best, most experienced and electable of the candidates in the Democratic field.
We are placing our editorial supporting Doug Jones on the front page because of the importance of this election next Tuesday, August 15, to the future of Alabama. Please turnout to vote next week for Doug Jones in the Democratic Primary for U. S. Senate.

Absentee Ballots available now Tuesday, August 15, statewide primary elections scheduled for U. S. Senate seat

_81877350_026263473-1“There is a major special statewide election coming up in Alabama in less than two weeks that most voters don’t know about”, said Lorenzo French, Chair of the Greene County Democratic Executive Committee.
Every registered voter, in both parties – Democrat and Republican – can vote on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – at your regular polling place, in the primary for the U. S. Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions resigned to become Attorney General. In most counties there will just be this one contest on the ballot.
There is a crowded field of candidates in both parties to fill this position. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the position by former Governor Robert Bentley, leads the Republican field, which also includes former and disgraced Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Mo Brooks, Congressman representing the Huntsville area.
In the Democratic primary there are six candidates. Former U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Doug Jones of Birmingham, leads the race. Jones is best known for prosecuting and winning the conviction of two of the bombers of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, who killed four innocent young girls on a Sunday morning in 1963. Jones has been endorsed by the Alabama New South Alliance, Alabama Democratic Conference and other labor and civic groups.
If no candidate wins 50% plus one vote in this first primary, a second primary between the top two qualifiers will be held on September 26, 2017. If there is a second primary, Alabama law now requires you to vote in the same party you chose to vote in during the first primary. This was done to prevent crossover voting where voters from one party were trying to affect the choice of the other party to benefit their party’s candidate.The Special General Election for this United States Senate seat will be held on December 12, 2017. “Our voters must pay attention to these dates, or they will miss an important election,” said French.
The last day to register to vote in this special election was Monday, July 31. Voter registration will re-open from August 16 to September 15, 2017 for voters to participate in the second primary.
Absentee Ballots are available now from the Circuit Clerk’s office in the Courthouse. Persons who will be out of town, serving in the Armed Forces, attending college out of town or are sick and incapacitated may apply for an absentee ballot to vote. Thursday August 10, 2017 is the last day to apply for a regular absentee ballot.
Absentee ballots must be returned by mail or in person by Monday, August 14, 2017. More information on absentee voting is available from the Circuit Clerk’s office or call 205/372-3598 or 372-6907.
In its last session, the Alabama Legislature changed the conditions for convicted felons to restore their voting rights. The law has clarified which offenses involve moral turpitude and which do not.
Persons convicted of crimes not involving moral turpitude, who have served their time and paid all costs and fines will have an easier process to restore their voting rights. Former felons needing assistance in restoring their voting rights may contact Lorenzo French at 334/872-1355

AG Luther Strange Files document to begin impeachment of Sumter County Sheriff

Sheriff Clark

Sheriff Tyrone Clark,  Sr.

 

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Luther Strange has begun proceedings for the impeachment of Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark Sr. This morning, the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division filed an Information
* of Impeachment and Prayer for Ouster in the Alabama Supreme Court pursuant to Alabama Code § 36-11-4 through § 36-11-5.  The Sumter County District Attorney initiated this matter, and the Sumter County Grand Jury issued a report of impeachment against the sheriff in April.  That report was sent to the Office of Attorney General to review the referral and take appropriate action.
The document charges Clark with willful neglect of duty, specifying nine alleged violations, and with corruption in office, specifying three alleged violations.
The specifications of willful neglect of duty include:
· Willfully neglecting his duty to secure and supervise inmates under his custody, by making an inmate, who had an extensive criminal history for drug-related offenses, an inmate trustee, allowing him to freely move about the jail and administration buildings and to leave the jail, sometimes without law enforcement supervision;
· Willfully neglecting his duty to prevent the introduction of contraband into the jail and supervise the inmates housed there, by aiding the inmate trustee in bringing in contraband such as controlled substances, cell phones and cigarettes, ordering officers not to search him when he would return to the jail, and arranging for him to be free from oversight; ·Willfully neglecting his duty to supervise inmates and prevent them from possessing a deadly weapon, by allowing the inmate trustee to have access to firearms;
·  Willfully neglecting his duty to preserve the process by which prisoners are committed to jail, by allowing the inmate trustee to process prisoners;
·  Willfully neglecting his duty to maintain custody of another inmate, allowing a criminal convicted of a violent offense to leave the jail for extended periods;
·  Willfully neglecting his duty to maintain custody of a third inmate by failing to swear out an arrest warrant, apprehend or arrest the inmate after he escaped from the jail;
· Willfully neglecting his duty to supervise inmates and secure the jail by giving the inmate trustee access to an unsecured room in which he had sexual intercourse with female visitors who were not searched or monitored; Willfully neglecting his duty to supervise inmates and secure the jail by providing an environment that allowed the trustee inmate to engage in second-degree human trafficking;
·  Willfully neglecting his duty to properly appoint and supervise deputies by appointing a deputy sheriff who was allowed to patrol on his own but who had not been certified as a law enforcement officer.
The specifications of corruption in office include:
· Using his official position to benefit himself by employing inmates to work at his personal home;
·  Using his official position to benefit himself by operating an undocumented work release program in which inmates worked for individuals or businesses on the condition that a portion of their wages be paid to the sheriff;
·   While serving in his official capacity, attempting to use his position to coerce a female employee into having sexual intercourse with him.
No additional information about the charges or the evidence against Clark may be released at this time, other than what is contained in the information document.
Under the Alabama Constitution, the Alabama Supreme Court will consider the charges against Clark. By statute, both the State and Clark may present evidence and compel witnesses to testify before the Court at trial. If Clark is found guilty of the allegations, he will be removed from office. Any possible criminal proceedings must be brought separately.