A state legislator sent this to me as a heads up: The Brunswick News is reporting that two candidates have withdrawn from the ballot to protest a Magistrate Judge’s “good behavior warrant” against a political consultant, essentially restraining him from ‘harassing’ opposing political candidates.
Judge Steven Morgan issued the warrant to restrict the political consultant. The Brunswick News reports that the warrant is a good behavior warrant and is “most typically issued in domestic cases, such as a divorce.”
Failure to comply can result in jail.
Republican candidate Tashawanta Wells had faced Glynn County Commissioner Robbie Tucker in a Tuesday Runoff.
Dee Rogers, a Republican challenger for School Board, had already won the Republican nomination to face incumbent Democrat Venus Holmes in November. The challengers have withdrawn.
The warrant was issued against the Rev. Ken Adkins, the consultant worked and advised both candidates, after Commissioner Tucker reported “fear of my safety – well being” following alleged postings on Facebook by the consultant.
Holmes, the Democratic School Board member, reported “I have high blood pressure, and this attack (purportedly by Adkins) is weighing heavy on me. He (Adkins) has also ask(ed) for my (resignation) from the school board so his candidate can win. I say, ‘when pigs fly,” according to Brunswick News reporter Meghan Pittman.
In withdrawing, Wells, the challenger for the County Commission, said “I’m upset with the ruling. It’s unconstitutional and it is against his First Amendment rights.”
Both Wells and Rogers withdrew their candidacies in protest.
Anyone know more? Can Facebook postings count as ‘contact’ if they come up in the news feeds of the incumbents? Can going to public debates or events as an attendee be considered a violation? I assume that in a divorce case, these could be considered violations of good behavior warrants, but I don’t know that for sure.
Can any attorneys weigh in? Especially attorney Holly Mannheimer, attorney with Georgia’s First Amendment Foundation — we’d like to read your comments if you’re out there. Any Glynn County or coastal area folks? Political consultants?
This seems like a slippery slope but I don’t pretend to know all the details.