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Young heads back to circuit court; hopes to have rights restored

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By Susan Sharp

It has been over 20 years since David G. Young was convicted for attempting to possess marijuana.

And despite his belief he had paid for those crimes, others are not seeing it that way.

Monday morning, Young was in Campbell County Criminal Court, petition in hand, asking for his voting rights to be restored. In 1997, Young’s full citizenship rights were restored by a federal court, the court of conviction. However, a court order from a local court is also needed so Young can run for office, Registrar of Elections Dean Sexton said of the situation in a previous interview.

In May, questions about Young’s eligibility to hold an elected office began to swirl throughout the community. That is when he began the paperwork to tie up any presumed loose ends, he said.

Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton found the case in his venue after Circuit Court Judge John McAfee sent the case to him.

As Young stood before Sexton, he was not alone.

LaFollette citizen Robert Henson was also there. Last month, Henson filed a series of petitions with 25 total signatures. These petitions opposed the restoration of Young’s citizenship rights, according to court records. These people, along with Henson, made the objection because of “past illegal activities as well as a continued pattern by David G. Young to play by his rules rather than obey the rule of law as outlined,” the documents said.

But Sexton stopped the proceedings before they got underway.

Citing the absence of a transfer order moving the case to his court, Sexton declined to hear the matter.

“I refuse to accept it (the case),” the judge said.

The case had not been properly moved from circuit court therefore, it didn’t belong in criminal court, Sexton said. He continued by saying allegations had been made against the election commission and its staff, creating a possible conflict for him. The registrar of elections is a family member, Sexton said.

However, the judge cited the improper transfer as the reason he would not hear the case. “I am refusing jurisdiction,” he said. While Sexton said the presumed presence of a family member being named in the case could create a conflict, he was not allowing it to get that far. “There is no need to go there,” Sexton said.

Young attempted to explain the case was “a very simple case.” He further said it was a civil matter, not criminal.

Balking at Henson’s involvement, Young said he had no standing to object.

“It is not up to any citizen to say if I have my citizenship rights restored,” Young said. He then added McAfee had given the impression Sexton had approved the transfer of the case.

With what appeared to be a look of surprise, Sexton disagreed. The judge said he had told McAfee cases were sometimes transferred between courts but had not agreed to this.

Young contended to Sexton he had properly filled out the needed paperwork 12 years ago.

Sexton said the case was headed back to circuit court where McAfee would have the option of asking for a specially appointed judge to hear the case.