Friday, September 16, 2005
Breaking NewsJudge wins over prosecutor in Floyd court dispute
Updated: 3:00 PM
The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that Circuit Judge Ray Grubbs, not Floyd prosecutor Gordon Hannett, gets to pick Hannett's replacement while the commonwealth's attorney serves in Iraq.
The Virginia State Supreme Court ruled today that Floyd County Circuit Judge Ray Grubbs -- not Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordon Hannett -- has the authority to name Hannett’s replacement while the prosecutor serves with the National Guard in Iraq.
Hannett, who left his job as prosecutor in May to train Iraqi National Guard infantry, appointed Christiansburg attorney Dennis Nagel to prosecute cases until he returns.
But before Hannett left for Iraq, Grubbs held court after hours -- without telling Hannett -- and appointed Floyd County attorney Stephanie Murray Shortt as Hannett’s replacement.
The Virginia Supreme Court blocked Grubb’s appointment on May 13 while it considered Hannett’s petition that Grubbs had gone beyond his authority.
Since then, Hannett has run the office by e-mail and telephone calls to Nagel. Hannett had argued that he would be more than able to do his job from Iraq with Nagel’s help.
In an interview this morning, Nagel said he has not yet been able to reach Hannett to inform him about the Supreme Court decision. Nagel said he will continue working in the office for up to two weeks to help Murray Shortt make the transition.
-- Joe Eaton