The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that former Delegate Tiffany Alston’s seat is vacant and can’t get it back despite her plea deal. The court, in a one paragraph ruling, also sided with Governor Martin O’Malley (D) that the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee could withdraw their previous nomination of Greg Hall. Following the ruling Tiffany Alston and Greg Hall both slammed the court and said it would damage the potential for local residents to decide their own representation.
Tiffany Alston was removed from her seat after being found guilty for paying her legal assistant through state funds. Alston later entered into a plea agreement for campaign violations after being accused of paying for her wedding dress with campaign funds. The agreement called for community service with the promise of later expunging her record. After Alston’s plea agreement the House of Delegates declared her seat vacant and the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee met and nominated Gregg Hall as her replacement. Hall who defeated committee chair Terry Speigner for the nomination later came under fire for a past that included drug charges two decades ago. News of those charges led Governor O’Malley to seek another replacement which initially was refused by the committee.
The Democratic Central Committee is expected to meet soon to formally withdraw Hall’s name. Should they do so O’Malley will be able to fill the vacancy with a choice of his choosing. Rumors about the replacement include former delegate Darrian Swain. Swain is an Assistant Vice President at Bowie State University.