Albemarle Judge to Review Signatures on Petition to Remove Dumler
An Albemarle County judge now has to review hundreds of signatures to remove Chris Dumler from his seat on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. Earl Smith, the man who collected the signatures, turned them in Tuesday morning.
In January, Albemarle County Supervisor Dumler pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery. Under Virginia law, people convicted of a misdemeanor crime don't necessarily have to step down from the Board of Supervisors. Despite a wave of calls for his resignation, Dumler says he will not resign.
The petition to recall Dumler is now in the hands of the court clerk.
Smith carried the envelope full of petition signatures into the Albemarle Circuit court clerk's office. Smith says he counted a final of 584 names on the petition. He only needed 372 to meet state law - which requires 10 percent of the total number of voters in the election for Dumler's seat.
Albemarle County Judge Cheryl Higgins will now review the petition and order the voter registrar to verify each signature.
"I'm confident. I went through when I reached the 372, and I still had almost 200 over. I'm confident enough. That's why I didn't want to drag it out," said Smith.
Smith and a handful of helpers collected the signatures over the past month after Dumler pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery in order to keep his seat on the board.
Judge Higgins was in trial Tuesday morning, but will get the petition sometime Tuesday to start the review.
"The statute is fairly simple and it gives a lot of discretion to the judge," said legal analyst Lloyd Snook.
State law requires the court serve Dumler a copy of the petition in five to 10 days.
"Here's the day - Chris Dumler - when you have to come in and be ready to explain yourself," said Snook.
That's the point of Smith's petition. He says the signatures show voters don't support Dumler to do work for the county.
"I'm not here to judge you. I'm here to do what's my right. I believe what I'm doing is right," said Smith.
If the judge decides to try Dumler for removal, state law requires it take precedence over all other cases on the docket.
Dumler had no comment about the petition being filed.
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