A state representative from Buford is calling for Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston to resign from his leadership position after an investigation by two Atlanta news organizations reported that he used his legislative position to delay court proceedings for criminal defendants he represents as an attorney.
Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge, asked judges to reschedule court cases at least 57 times in the last two years, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV. Some of the defendants who benefited from the delays include men charged with child molestation, assault and drunken driving.
State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, introduced a resolution Friday formally asking Ralston to step down from his role as Speaker of the House in light of the media reports.
“We do know that for these victims they have continued to live with the trauma they experienced and cannot move on because Speaker Ralston abused his privilege as an elected official and an officer of the Court,” Clark said in a Facebook post. “I am speaking out in large part because I cannot imagine my daughter being treated the way these victims have been treated.”
Georgia law requires judges to reschedule hearings and trials that conflict with legislative responsibilities of attorneys who also serve in the Georgia General Assembly.
Clark’s resolution asks that Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones, R-Milton, step into the role of Speaker of the House.
“All parties involved deserve to have their day in Court to put these horrible days behind them. And we deserve to remove this cloud from our chamber,” Clark said on Facebook.
State Rep. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, said he would reserve judgment until hearing Ralston’s response.
State Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gainesville, said he was awaiting more information and planned to speak to Ralston at some point.
“Right is right, wrong is wrong and the truth will always come out and always win,” Dunahoo said. “But for me to allow the media or a radio personality to lead the charge and fire me up, I’m not going to go down that path. I will do my due diligence. I will research this, as the facts are definitely the facts.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.