Lawsuit challenges DeKalb ethics actions

Voters approved a reorganization of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics during a Nov. 3 referendum. The new board will be appointed by community groups instead of by elected officials, and it will gain the ability to levy $1,000 fines. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM
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Voters approved a reorganization of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics during a Nov. 3 referendum. The new board will be appointed by community groups instead of by elected officials, and it will gain the ability to levy $1,000 fines. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

Voters overwhelmingly approved a proposal last month to strengthen the DeKalb County Board of Ethics, but change may be slow to come.

A lawsuit by DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton questions the authority of the board to sit in judgment of officials’ behavior, arguing that it undermines fundamental due process rights.

As a result of the lawsuit, a judge put Sutton's case on hold. The suit could have farther-reaching consequences if a judge agrees with the idea that the board is unconstitutional.

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