I have just left the Montgomery courthouse where Judge Roman Shaul heard the defense motions for dismissal in the Craig Pouncey law suit against former interim state superintendent Phillip Cleveland, state board member Mary Scott Hunter, and state department legal counsel Juliana Dean and two of her associates.
While there was a lot of legal talk tossed about, the three lawyers representing the five defendants all contend that their clients were simply doing their duties as they should have been doing and therefore have immunity from legal action. No malice intended by anyone. In fact, Lee Copeland, the lawyer for Mary Scott Hunter referred to her as “my little client.”
Kenny Mendelsohn is Pouncey’s lawyer and did a good job in summing up.
He pointed out that Mary Scott Hunter had received anonymous info about another applicant and did not act on it. Also pointed out that ALSDE legal department has had boxes of paperwork from Pouncey’s dissertation preparation for months and has never mentioned this.
(After Pouncey finished his dissertation, he gave all of his notes and paperwork to Dennis Coe, a recently-retired state department employee who was just beginning to write his own dissertation, to see if they might be of use to him. When the furor about the Pouncey dissertation made the news, Coe delivered several boxes of paperwork to the legal division of the state department.)
Mendelsohn also brought into question the fact that Mary Scott Hunter told legislators at a Business Council of Alabama meeting last summer that Pouncey was being investigated by the Ethics Commission, though this was not true. He questioned why those involved never tried to do an internal investigation or made any report to the state board about their activities.
Judge Shaul said that he will have a ruling by the end of the week.
So as they say on TV, “stay tuned.”