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Dan Terrell Set To Appeal Judges Decision
Updated February 29, 2016 7:22 AM
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(MITCHELL) - Mitchell mayoral candidate Dan Terrell is appealing a judge's decision to deny his request for a special election in the race for Mitchell mayor.

The motion was filed with the Court of Appeals of Indiana on Friday. The deadline to file the appeal is today.

In November's general election, John "JD" England (I) beat Terrell (R) by four votes.

England took office at the beginning of the year. However, Terrell filed a complaint saying mistakes were made by the Lawrence County Clerk's Office, making it "impossible to determine a winner" and requested a special election.

A trial was held on January 29.

Special Judge E. Michael Hoff ruled in favor of John "JD" England in the case.

Judge Hoff granted England's attorneys Cody Kendall and David Smith's a motion to dismiss the contested election, saying that Dan Terrell's attorney's David Brooks and William Mullis did not meet the good faith basis to file the petition to contest the election in the first place.

Hoff also ruled that there would be no special election. He ruled that mistakes were made, but those mistakes were not a deliberate act.

"The failure of the election supervisors to fully comply with election laws were not 'a deliberate act or series of actions' as that term is used in (Indiana code). Their actions were intentional, in the sense that they knew what they were doing, but were not done to adversely affect the integrity of the election," Hoff states.

Terrell, according to Hoff, did not demonstrate that the mistakes made in this election were "a deliberate act or series of actions that so infected the election process as to profoundly undermine the integrity of the election and the trustworthiness of its outcome."

Judge Huff dismissed the contested election and says that "Terrell did not offer evidence at trial or in his December 23, 2015 verified motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, to establish a good faith belief that the propositions set out in (Indiana code) are true, with the possible exception that the wrong ballot, a ballot for the Democratic primary election and not the November 3, 2015, general election, was sent to two absentee voters," Hoff writes in his ruling. "The two voters noticed this, and the mistake was corrected. There is no evidence that any other voter received the wrong ballot."

"Since there is no evidence on those grounds for ordering a special election, (Terrell) could not have had a good faith belief that that propositions in (Indiana code) were true when (Terrell) filed his petition."

Hoff also ruled that Terrell's information to file for the recount came from material that he only had access to during the time that the recount motion was filed.

"It is very clear to the court that when (Terrell) filed his petition, (Terrell) had no information to establish the proposition that a deliberate act or series of actions occurred making it impossible to determine the candidate who received the highest number of votes cast in the election. There was no basis in fact for petitioner's verification of that statement."

Hoff ruled that the petition was a "fishing expedition", where Terrell sought to discover facts to support his request for a special election.

England says it is Terrell's right to file an appeal but is confident in the judge's ruling.

Terrell filed to run as a Republican candidate for the position of Lawrence County Clerk and will face Billie Tumey in the May primary. Current Clerk Myron Rainey cannot seek another term as clerk because of term limits.

Terrell attempted to remove his name from the ballot, but because the deadline had passed, he will remain on the May ballot. He said he is "giving up" that race because of his decision to appeal his case.



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