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A Quarter Century Milestone Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Posted by R Garfield in Local, People, Political.
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Willie Mae Kilgore, mother of state delegate Terry Kilgore and former Virginia Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore, has formally announced her retirement as Registrar of Scott County, Virginia effective December 2008.

The letter tendered to the Scott County Electoral Board cites a desire to spend more time with her family.

Ms. Kilgore has served in this capacity for 25 years.

In addition to sons Terry and Jerry, many of Ms. Kilgore’s family is engaged in some form of public service; her husband has served numerous terms as chair of the Scott County Republican Party. Her third son, John Junior, served on the board of the Economic Development Authority, before becoming director of that body.


28 Days Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Local, People, Political, Views On News.
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28 Days. $1,500.

That’s the price one pays for being convicted of voter fraud. A Scott County jury returned guilty verdicts in 13 charges brought against Charles “J.R.” Dougherty, Jr. for his role in the overturned election in a small Virginia town of approximately 2,000 residents. The case marked the first time in the Commonwealth’s history that the mayor’s and all town council races were voided by the courts. The jury also returned 2 not guilty verdicts.

Dougherty was previously found guilty on 18 counts 16 counts of voter fraud stemming from the same election. Sentencing for both trials is set for 1 p.m. December 13 has been deferred by Judge Birg Sergent until January 9th at the Scott County courthouse.

Before delivering the sentencing recommendations, jurors submitted written questions to the judge. Two of the questions had to do with how time would be served – concurrently or consecutively. The judge’s response to the jurors in essence was that they should impose the sentence they saw fit for each offense, without considering how the sentence would be carried out.

This jury set the penalty for voter fraud lower than the previous Dougherty jury. The previous convictions earned Dougherty 32 days and $2,000 apiece.

Update: Apparently, the jurors sentenced the way they did because they didn’t want Dougherty to face prison time (as opposed to jail time)

I can comprehend this. Dougherty is not an evil man. I feel for him, and his family.

They also allegedly thought he was shouldering the entire blame for a larger group of people, which they seem to have thought was unfair.

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.

Like father, like son? Thursday, 6 April 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Local, Night, Political, The Left Side.
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Steve Dougherty, son of former Gate City Mayor Charles 'JR' Dougherty, Jr., is running for a spot on town council. I've been told by a fairly reputable source that he allegedly has about 100 absentee ballots to his credit now.

If you want to ask a question such as, "how can anyone know that?" … I'm right there with you. How can anyone know this? My assumption is that the political machinery that has operated so well in past Scott County elections have brought in 100 pre-filled ballots loyal Republican absentee voters, who are expected to vote for anyone the Kilgores want them to vote for the 'party' line.

If anyone actually knows who is voting for whom at this point in time, let alone the numbers, then you've gotta know, something's rotten in Scott County. The stench just hasn't reached the courtrooms yet.

I'd like to think I could support JR's son, were he elected, but the fact is, I will never trust anyone who wins any election in Scott County by an absentee landslide.

One Hand Clapping Saturday, 18 February 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Bemused, Local, Political.
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Mark Twain once said,

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

Mr. Twain did not address what to do when you’re the only voice speaking about an issue. When one is drafting an ordinance, and there is no dissenting voice, well, obviously, it means that the draft will likely become the final ordinance.

But does that mean that the writer has done such an excellent job of addressing all the issues that there are no potential problems, no areas that should be excised, reworked, or expanded upon?

I’m the writer in this instance, and I certainly know better than anyone that I have never done such a stellar job at writing anything.

That is the function of committees, and boards; that is the purpose of debate in setting public policy. It addresses issues where one person may have a blind spot, or perhaps only a misconception. It may bring to light areas that may not have been addressed at all, or that harbor ambiguities or unintended loopholes.

When somone disagrees with me; I know where I stand. When someone agrees with me, I know where I stand. When the only thing I hear is silence, I am lost. I don’t know whether my ideas have merit; I don’t know if I’m heading in a positive direction, or not.

What I do know, is that the things I write affect a couple thousand people, some directly, many indirectly; and that in the absence of any debate, I am solely responsible for whatever good or ill my writings cause them… and that is a very scary position to be in.