Roswell Mayor Jere Wood’s case appealed to state supreme court

A case challenging whether the mayor of Roswell is in violation of term limits he set is being appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court.

The court has 45 days from March 8, the day it was filed, to decide whether to take the case.

The lawsuit was supposed to have had a court date last week in Fulton County Superior Court, but Judge Craig L. Schwall postponed the trial to allow Roswell Mayor Jere Wood six months for discovery.

That violates a requirement that final rulings in cases like this must be issued within either 10 days or 30 days, depending on whether facts are in dispute, attorney John Monroe said in his appeal to the state supreme court.

The request says Schwall told the court he needed guidance on how to handle the conflict between allowing discovery and a quick ruling.

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“This is an unusual case, in which the trial court openly announced that it did not know how to proceed in this case without appellate court guidance,” Monroe wrote.

Wood, who was first elected in 1997, advocated in 2010 for the Roswell mayor to have a term limit of three four-year terms. He has said the intent was that the clock would start for him when the law was passed, and not when he was first elected.

Michael Litten, who has run against Wood in the past and who filed the suit, claims Wood should not have run for mayor in 2013, when he was elected to his fifth term.

“Clearly the legislature intended such cases to be resolved quickly, no doubt because of the public importance in having government administered by duly selected officials,” Monroe wrote. “…Litten has made a strong showing that Wood was not eligible to run in 2013 and should not be occupying the office. Every day that goes by is another day where the Office of Mayor is being administered by someone not duly elected to hold that office.”

The case belongs in the supreme court, Monroe wrote, so it will get a speedy hearing.

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