A group of 40 Gloucester County citizens, upset at what they considered unjust real estate assessments, circulated petitions in 2008 to have county supervisors removed from their jobs. The Washington Examiner reported that a County judge fined them $2,000 each:
The 40 Gloucester residents circulated petitions in 2008 to have members of the county board of supervisors removed from office after several were indicted on charges of meeting in secret.I respectfully disagree with Judge Parker because, what "should not happen in America," is judges and elected representatives fining American citizens for daring to question their elected officials, as guaranteed in the First Amendment.
Substitute Circuit Judge Westbrook Parker dismissed the charges and the removal petitions and assessed the fines after ruling the residents were politically motivated. The fines are intended to defray the supervisors' legal expenses.
"I've never seen the judicial system abused so much for purely political ends," Parker said in his ruling. "This should not happen in America."
This is reminiscent of the real estate assessment battle currently going on in Augusta County where citizens and their lone pro bono lawyer are being crushed by the local government and sanctioned by a local judge ...
... where 600 citizens turned out on February 3, 2009, to hear how to fight back against high real estate assessments ... where 10,600 citizens signed petitions asking the Augusta Board of Supervisors to roll back assessments ...where over 1,000 -- the largest crowd ever -- turned out for a supervisor meeting on March 18, 2009, to protest those high assessments. They were met with arrogance and lectures from their elected representatives.
It would be good to see the 40 citizens from Gloucester successful in their appeal before the Virginia Supreme Court. It would restore their faith in government for many.