A judge has ruled that Gail Williams is a legal resident of Adair County and is qualified to be commonwealth’s attorney.
A lawsuit was filed in Adair Circuit Court after Williams was selected by the Republican Party as a candidate for commonwealth’s attorney. The position was vacant after incumbent Brian Wright withdrew from the candidacy to run for a different office.
Williams was the only candidate on the November ballot for commonwealth’s attorney in Adair and Casey counties but has not been certified awaiting the outcome of the lawsuit.
In a 15-page opinion, Special Judge Mark Rosen wrote Friday that the “narrow issue” in the case is simple: “Does a candidate surrender (or forfeit) a lengthy ‘actual’ residency in a jurisdiction simply by selling his home and failing to establish another ‘actual’ residence within the jurisdiction for a short period of time (three weeks) during which time he alleges he was visiting family and vacationing?”
Rosen writes that the case is unique because they do not have a candidate who is attempting to establish a residency to run for office but rather, according to the Movant (Casey County resident Ronney Hatter), appears not to have an “actual residence” at the time of his filing for office.
Williams and his wife sold their Adair County home and were vacationing in Florida when he received the nomination. They had also rented an apartment in Boyd County that Williams said was intended to give them a place to stay when they visit family there.
Williams still maintained bank accounts in Adair County, his driver’s license was registered in Adair County and he continued to see clients here.
Judge Rosen ruled that the Movant had failed to meet the burden of proof that Williams either legally or factually surrendered or forfeited his status of being an “actual resident” of Adair County. The case was dismissed.
Mike Harris, a local attorney who represented Williams during the case, said there is a five-day window for the case to be appealed.