Judge asked to invalidate past DeKalb Board of Ethics actions

Now that the Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a ruling against the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, the original judge has more decisions to make.

Superior Court Judge Asha Jackson is being asked to strike down the entire law that created the board, which would also eliminate the county's ethics officer position and Code of Ethics.

The attorney for former DeKalb commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, Dwight Thomas, also said Jackson should “vacate and void everything that has occurred” since the board’s makeup was challenged.

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

DeKalb voters in November 2015 approved an overhaul of the Ethics Board after a string of corruption scandals. Sutton filed suit just weeks later, and in April 2017 Jackson ruled that members appointed by groups like the DeKalb Bar Association instead of elected officials were serving illegally.

The board continued to meet while an appeal was filed. The Supreme Court upheld Jackson's ruling in August.

Jackson held a hearing Monday morning on Thomas’s request. She did not render a decision but mused whether the “public good” would be served if the board’s past actions were overturned.

Both sides did agree that in light of the Supreme Court opinion that the board should stay dormant until the General Assembly can come up with fixes for how members are appointed.

Attorney Darren Summerville, who represents the Ethics Board, said it remains at an “absolute standstill” until all seven members are appointed in a way that passes legal muster.

He also argued that other provisions in the law had not been challenged and should be allowed to stand.