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Camilletti to get his day in court

July 13, 2000

Camilletti to get his day in court



By ANDREW SCHOTZ / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has set a July 19 deadline for written arguments about whether a special panel should decide a Circuit Court judge primary contest.

The court will then consider the written arguments on July 21, according to an order filed Thursday.

David Camilletti, who is 39 votes behind Gray Silver III for the Democratic nomination, asked Gov. Cecil Underwood last month to allow a special three-person panel to preside at the hearing.

On Monday, in a written response, the governor's counsel argued against the request.

Camilletti requested a contest hearing because he has challenged hundreds of Berkeley County ballots from the May 9 primary, as well as procedures involved in the tallying process.

A candidate may contest a primary or election after a canvass and recount have been held, which has happened in Berkeley County.

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West Virginia election law states that a special panel can preside over a contest hearing for general elections, while a County Commission presides for primaries. However, Camilletti has said the Berkeley County Commission's actions are part of his challenge and therefore it cannot preside.

Silver, Underwood's office and the County Commission have all asked for the County Commission to oversee the contest hearing.

In an interview Wednesday, Underwood said he is only trying to follow what the law says.

The Berkeley County Commission has already set aside July 31 and Aug. 1, 2 and 4 to conduct the hearing.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary will become the fourth judge in the 23rd Circuit, which encompasses Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, since there is no Republican candidate running in November.

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