Court Stays Ruling That Withdrew Hall From Contention for House Seat

"The circumstances of this case do little for the good name and reputation of our state," judge says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Greg Hall

    The Maryland Court of Appeals today ruled that the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee cannot meet Saturday to withdraw Greg Hall's name as the nominee to replace Tiffany Alston in the Maryland House of Delegates.

    The ruling means that Hall remains as the sole nominee - at least until the court of appeals renders a final decision in the case. That won't be before Wednesday at the earliest, reports News4's Tracee Wilkins.

    Yesterday, a Prince George's County judge had ruled against both community activist Hall and former delegate Alston, who are vying for Alston's old seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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    The confusing conflict came after Alston was convicted of stealing money from the state and removed from office. The Democratic Central Committee nominated Hall to succeed Alston.

    But the nomination, which was sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley Nov. 7, met opposition from critics due to Hall's past, and O'Malley attempted to rescind the appointment.

    Hall then sued to stop the action, and Alston sued to get her seat back.

    "The circumstances of this case do little for the good name and reputation of our state, and even less, our county," Prince George's County Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. said in his decision Wednesday.

    Walter Green, Hall's attorney, had argued that Gov. Martin O'Malley had missed the deadline for withdrawing Hall’s name, saying, “The governor must make the appointment within 30 days and if he does not, he has violated his oath of office. The governor has acted with prejudice against Mr. Hall.”

    But a lawyer representing the governor said it was up to O'Malley to make the final call on the appointment -- not the county's committee.

    An attorney representing the committee said the panel had decided make another nomination after O'Malley learned more about Hall's past, but then Hall went to court to block any action. The committee's attorney said the panel should be able to withdraw the nomination.

    Hall's nomination met with controversy over his own legal woes. He faced drug and gun charges about 20 years ago following a shootout, back when he was an admitted drug dealer.

    Hall was accused of firing a gun that killed a 13-year-old boy, but it was later determined that the bullet came from someone else’s gun, and Hall was released.

    “I wasn’t the first one to do the shooting, to take the shot,” Hall said. “The shot was shot at me, so the same person was trying to harm me as well.”

    He was convicted of a misdemeanor gun charge and was cleared of the murder charge. “I never committed a crime in office, and that’s important,” Hall said. “I straightened my life out.”

    That didn't matter to some committee members. Hall's nomination was determined by a close 12-10 vote.

    “When you make the types of mistakes that cause a [death] of a young child, then to me that’s not something that you just wake up one day and say ‘I’ve been redeemed,'" said Committee Chair Terry Speigner said.

    Meanwhile, ousted delegate Tiffany Alston had been fighting to get her seat back, arguing that her conviction for misconduct in office was modified to probation before judgment.

    She took a plea deal in October stemming from the charge that she used $800 of the state's money to pay an employee in her private law firm.