Petition Questions Judge Tim Fox's Candidacy

by Lee Hogan  on Thursday, Apr. 3, 2014 10:37 am  

The candidacy of a Pulaski County circuit judge has been called into question in a petition filed by a registered voter in his district.

The petition, filed Wednesday in Pulaski County Circuit Court by resident John Kelly, alleges Judge Tim Fox should be removed from the ballot because of a short suspension of his law license in 2013 for failure to pay annual dues.

State law requires judicial candidates to be a licensed attorney for at least six years before taking office.

An email from the Arkansas Supreme Court, attached as a document to the petition, shows Fox's license was suspended from March 2, 2013 to April 16, 2013 for nonpayment.

The petition requests an immediate court hearing and the removal of Fox's name from the ballot.

Fox is the Sixth Division Circuit Court judge in Pulaski County, and is seeking re-election. Arkansas Business contacted Fox's office for commment, but was told the judge was currently in the courtroom and unavailable.

The petition comes just weeks after a lawsuit disqualified an opponent of Fox's, Valerie Bailey, because her license was suspended for about nine years while she lived out of the state.

"Personally, I think the decision disqualifying Valerie Bailey is bad law," Sam Perroni, attorney for the plaintiff in the Fox petition, said in an email to Arkansas Business, "but it is the law until some higher court says otherwise. With Judge Fox's blessings, his supporters initiated the case against Mrs. Bailey so, 'for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.'"

Two candidates running for circuit court positions in Faulkner County have also had the legitimacy of their candidacy called into question.

Two lawsuits filed there allege that candidate Angela Byrd, who is seeking the Fourth Division seat of the 20th Judicial District, and First Division Circuit Judge H.G. Foster are ineligible for the ballot due to past suspensions for failure to pay annual dues.

The suits claim Foster's law license was suspended four times since 2009 for nonpayment, and Byrd's was suspended one day this year after paying fees one day late.

The suit against Foster was filed by his opponent, Doralee Chandler, while the suit against Byrd was filed by resident Lonnie Williams.

Judicial elections are set for May 20.

(Mark Friedman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

 

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