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Speaker Ralston Accused of Abusing Legislative Position;
Rep. Ken Pullin Signs Resolution for Speaker's Resignation from Leadership Position

ATLANTA - For those who haven't had time to look through the entire situation involving Speaker David Ralston, a lot has gone on. This was the talk of Atlanta last weekend, but it has been going on since February 13. Ken Pullin, our local representative, took a stand on this situation involving accusations of legislative abuse by the Speaker of the House, David Ralston.

This article will basically present a piece of many articles to explain what is going on from February 13 when allegation of the Speaker abusing his legislative authority to delay criminal cases broke in the news through March 1 when Speaker Ralston wrote to the AJC to defend himself and his record.

A joint Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) and Channel 2 investigation has reported that the Speaker of the House David Ralston “appears to be misusing the power of his public office to benefit his private law practice” by accepting a retainer from those accused of crimes and delaying cases repeatedly so that some criminal cases have stretched out for years without going to trial. You can read the February 13, 2019 article entitled “Alleged victims say powerful Georgia lawmaker repeatedly delays cases” by clicking here.

In this article, according to Georgia State law, the Speaker of the House is allowed to delay a case due to conflicts with his legislative schedule because his job is all year round instead of just the regular legislative session. An examination of 21 cases brought a large amount of continuances as well as whether the continuances were requested inside or outside of the regular session as well as the stated reasons for the needed delay. Specific cases are listed in this article including a DUI case that is more than 10 years old, a case of enticing a child for indecent purposes that is 10 years old, and a rape case involving a then 14 year old girl that is now 5 years old.

There was silence from the state house for quite some time and then a February 22, 2019 AJC/Channel 2 Investigation revealed more information on February 22, 2019 with the article entitled “Ralston helped write the law allowing him to delay criminal cases; Most lawmakers mum on revelations of AJC/Channel 2 investigation.” You can read this article by clicking here.

That same day, ten Georgia legislators—including our own representative, Ken Pullin—signed a House Resolution that asked for the resignation of Speaker Ralston based on allegations that he abused his position as Speaker of the House to repeatedly delay court cases. You can read this AJC article entitled “More Georgia lawmakers call for Ralston to resign as House speaker” by clicking here.

Speaker Ralston addressed the legislature on Monday, February 25, 2019 to deny any wrongdoing with his law practice. However, he told lawmakers that he wouldn’t take on new criminal defendants until these four high profile pending criminal cases are resolved, and he called for the commission of bipartisan panel to study and change the law dating back to 1905 that has allowed the speaker to delay some of his cases for as long as ten years. You can read this article by clicking here.

Jessica Szilagyi of www.AllOnGeorgia.com responded with a column entitled “David Ralston is the Right Man to be Speaker of the Georgia House.” She called out all who refused to take a stand for morality and ethics and applauded the “Lonesome 10” for asking for his resignation. You can read her article by clicking here.

Erick Erickson responded about the bipartisan commission in a February 26, 2019 column entitled “Georgia Republicans Abdicating Their Sense of Right and Wrong to a Commission.” This article begins by asking: “What would you do if your fourteen year old daughter told you she had been raped? To what lengths would you go to see that justice was served?” You can read this article by clicking here.

The issue of legality, morality, and ethics continues to stand at the forefront of many Georgia news sources with Speaker Ralston’s record as a defense attorney located at the center of this controversy. Speaker Ralston defends himself in this opinion piece that you can read by clicking here.

House Resolution 328 is quite simple and less than two pages long. It encourages the Speaker of the House of Representatives to resign from his position of leadership because he has “demonstrated unacceptable abuse of power and professional judgment by obtaining unjustifiable court date extensions” that have “prevented access to justice for crime victims for 5-10 years for cases involving violent felonies, sexual crimes, DUI, and domestic abuse.” These cases specifically include: “A DUI case from 2008 that has received 17 court date extensions over 10 years; A rape/child molestation case involving a 14-year old girl that has received 8 court date extensions over more than 5 years; An enticing a child for indecent purposes case from 2009 that has received 14 court date extensions; A domestic violence case in which the battered wife has been unable to have a trial for more than 5 years” and it lists information from the AJC/Channel 2 Investigative report that documented where the Speaker of the House “used his legislative privilege to delay justice in 21 court cases in four North Georgia counties through 57 separate court date extensions, 81.7 percent of which were granted for dates outside of the legislative session.”

It concludes by affirming the right to “vigorous legal defense” of the accused in our system and states that an attorney has “a legal obligation never to use is position as a legislator or Speaker of the House to delay justice for crime victims, many of who are his constituents.” The final paragraph encourages Speaker Ralston to resign as the Speaker of the House and to represent his district and clients “in a way that provides prompt and effective justice for all.”

You can read the actual legislation by clicking here.

Pike County Times obtained permission to post snippets of each of these articles with a link to the original source so readers can see for themselves what has been reported on this to date. Editorials can be sent to editor@pikecountytimes.com,

Representative Ken Pullin was sworn into office in January of this year. You can read more about Rep. Pullin on his legislative biography page and contact him by email at ken.pullin@house.ga.gov or by phone at 706.304.9300.

David Ralston has served as Speaker of the House since 2010. You can read more about Speaker Ralston on his legislative biography page and contact his office through the staff link.