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2nd Day: 2 Days Jail, $2,000 … Each. Friday, 21 July 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Local, People, Political, Views On News.
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Former mayor Charles ‘JR’ Dougherty received 2 days in jail and a $2,000 fine for each of the 16 guilty verdicts he received in his second trial for alleged voter fraud. Thats a total of 32,000 in fines and 32 days jail time.

People I’ve spoken with claim that both Dougherty and his attorney, Carl McAfee, appeared devastated by the verdicts. In the first trial, Dougherty received two not guilty verdicts, which may have possibly raised expactations of a similar win in this trial.

Many media reports in the first trial had headlines stating such claims as ‘Former Mayor Found Not Guilty Of Buying Votes’ – in all truth, the not guilty verdicts meant that Dougherty was not found guilty of conspiracy to buy votes, which is not the same thing. He was acquited because there was no proof of conspiracy, not because there was insufficient proof regarding the buying and selling of votes.

This trial was not about conspiracy, but about acts that the one-time mayor allegedly committed, or aided and abetted others in committing. It was not about whether he conspired with anyone else to do these things.

One damaging event occured when Betty Pendleton, former clerk at the Scott County Registrar’s office, and sister to registrar Willie Mae Kilgore, pled the fifth. By asserting her fifth amendment right not to incriminate herself, Pendleton raised the possibility that there was something to be incriminated about to a near certainty. When Pendleton later testified that she and her sister did nothing wrong, that left only one possible person guilty of that something: Charles Doughtery.

Combined with testimony from people who said that Dougherty either filled out their paperwork for them, or instructed others to do so, that was enough to find him guilty of the charges lodged against him.

Although supoenaed yesterday by the court, Willie Mae Kilgore was not on hand and was not called upon to testify by McAfee.

Special Prosecutor Joel Branscombe left room to possibly level other felony charges in this case, against person other than Dougherty.


Kilgore’s Aunt Pleads The Fifth Friday, 21 July 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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After the first day of testimony in Charles “JR” Dougherty’s second trial, Gate City is abuzz about the tactic attorney Carl McAfee took when he attempted to shift the blame to Registrar Willie Mae Kilgore for any improprieties in the first election in Virginia’s history where the results for both the mayor’s and town council’s race were thrown out by the courts.

McAfee subpoenaed Betty Pendleton and her sister, Willie Mae Kilgore. Pendleton first asserted her Fifth Ammendment rights against self-incrimination, but testified after prosecutor Joel Branscom offered her immunity arising from her testimony. Her testimony claimed no wrong-doing on her part, or on the part of the registrar’s office.

This is an interesting development, as previously, all parties had denied any wrong-doing. Now, it appears as if there’s an acknowledement that wrong-doing did in fact occur – a conclussion that surprises few people, indeed – but a major split in a formerly close-knit group concerning the allocation of blame.

Willie Mae Kilgore is the mother of Jerry Kilgore, who lost against Tim Kaine in a bid to become the governor of Virginia, and state delegate Terry Kilgore. Kilgore came under fire during the governor’s race, with some residents claiming she used her office for political gain for her sons and others, charges that she has continually refuted.


2,000 Emails, Good-Bye Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Bemused, Personal.
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Actually, that’s a low count for the number of messages in my inbox I just trashed. It was probably much closer to 3M.

That’s not spam – that’s email I wanted to get. And it all went bye-bye, completely unread. The range was enourmous – from the Virginia GOP spotlight, to MoveOn, Right to Left, Top to Bottom, family, friends, and business-related; Ruby On Rails to MySql, and coupons from bookstores (I actually use those. My prevailing vice and fast track to poverty: books).

I switched hard drives recently, and rather than transfer, installed Thurnderbird from scratch. I vowed my inbox(es) would stay lean and mean,that I would deal with it daily, blah-blah-blah. Yea, right …

I let up for a day, and it becomes more than a day’s reading. I read what’s essential, keep what looks interesting (to read later – as if!) and trash the rest … and a couple days later, at 1:35 a.m., I am trashing thousands of mails that I wanted to read, but didn’t, or that are no longer relevant.

That might beĀ  ok, except for one thing. Having trashed thousands, I am now going to read the hundreds I have left.

At least, some of them.

100 Drops of Water Sunday, 16 July 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Civitan.
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Civitan officers are required to take training from Civitan International each year, to maintain their club’s standing. One of the team building exercises at this year’s training was to challenge perceptions. Before beginning, participants were asked how many drops of water they thought a penny could hold. (Those of you who know about surface tension are probably saying a lot right now. Sorry, not specific enough.)

Guesses ranged from 3 to 30. Most participants were amazed when they managed to get 40 or more drops to stay on the penny. My team managed to get 100 placed before we stopped.

The moral of the exercise was that people’s perceptions of what they were able to accomplish could be a limiting factor – that the reality of what people could achieve by making a series of small steps – placing single drops of water, in this case – could far surpass their expectations.

Charles Dougherty Faces Loss Of Home Saturday, 15 July 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Drifting.
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It’ll be of no surprise to some people that Charles ‘ JR’ Dougherty is going back to court, in charges stemming from the voided Gate City, Virginia election that made news for being the only election in Virginia history for having the entire governing body – council and mayor – thrown out.

Dougherty was cleared of two indictments earlier, but still faces over 100 years of prison time for the remaining counts. Some area media, most notably the Kingsport Times-News, incorrectly reported that Charles Dougherty was cleared of charges of buying votes. The actual charges were conspiracy charges, and as no other conspirators were named, the charges resulted in a not guilty verdict, not of buying votes, but of conspiracy.

What many folks will not be aware of is the fact that, as he heads back to court, another action involving Dougherty will be played out at the same location. His home is due to sold on the courthouse steps, as part of a Special Trustee’s Sale. Sellers are hoping to recover more than $800,000 from the sale of the property.