Technical problem thwarts court case to remove Agelasto from office
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 6/21/2019, 6 a.m.
Fifth District City Councilman Parker C. Agelasto gained a reprieve Tuesday from an effort to immediately remove him from the city’s governing body.
Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant refused on Tuesday to consider a former councilman’s request for a temporary injunction that would have ended Mr. Agelasto’s tenure before his planned departure on Nov. 30.
Judge Marchant ruled that the request by Sa’ad El-Amin could not be heard because of a highly technical flaw in the filing.
The judge ruled that Mr. El-Amin had not paid a filing fee and obtained a new case number for his requests for the injunction and for a declaratory judgment that Mr. Agelasto had forfeited his seat by moving out of the 5th District last year.
Virginia law requires elected state and local officials to live in the district they represent.
According to the judge, Mr. El-Amin, who initially brought his action under a statute that allows a court to issue an obscure writ to remove an elected official from office, could not use that case number for his new filings.
Mr. El-Amin objected to the decision, saying there was no legal precedent requiring him to file his latest requests under a different case number, particularly when he was dropping his request for the writ and replacing it with his new requests.
However, the judge told Mr. El-Amin his ruling would stand unless Mr. El-Amin could produce a positive decision showing that he could use the same case number.
“It doesn’t exist,” Mr. El-Amin said after a hearing he called “bewildering.”
Mr. El-Amin, who in the past represented the 6th District on City Council, said he planned to re-file and obtain a new case number later this week for his requests for the injunction and declaratory judgment. He said he would request a quick hearing.
Judge Marchant is scheduled to hear a separate request for a declaratory judgment to remove Mr. Agelasto from office that former 5th District Councilman Henry W. “Chuck” Richardson filed in February.
Mr. Richardson, who plans to be among the candidates that district voters will consider Nov. 5 to replace Mr. Agelasto, is scheduled to have his case heard Friday, July 12. There are expectations Judge Marchant could hear Mr. El-Amin’s requests at the same time.