Now comes the waiting game.
Former Summerfield Town Councilmember Todd Rotruck, members of the Guilford County Board of Elections and Town of Summerfield officials are now waiting for a decision from a three-judge panel of the NC Court of Appeals on whether or not Rotruck should be given back the Town Council seat he was ousted from over two years ago.
On Tuesday, Aug. 6, the latest court battle in the long and winding dispute took place before the three judges, with Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne arguing for 30 minutes and Marsh Prause, an attorney with the Winston-Salem firm of Allman Spry Davis Leggett & Crumpler, arguing for 30 minutes for Rotruck.
Rotruck, who was elected to the Summerfield Town Council in November 2016, was removed from that seat in April 2017 after a Summerfield woman filed a residency challenge against him, and the Guilford County Board of Elections agreed with her. The elections board ruled that Rotruck was not a resident of Summerfield.
Rotruck appealed the Board of Elections’ decision in court, and, when that wasn’t successful, he appealed the matter to the NC Court of Appeals.
The day after the Aug. 6 hearing Rotruck said it’s anyone’s guess when the ruling will come down.
“I think the earliest would be two weeks,” he said, adding that he hoped an answer came very soon.
A lower court judge asked that the state’s Court of Appeals expedite its decision since the seat that Rotruck once occupied is up for grabs in this year’s election – unless, that is, the Court of Appeals decides the seat does belong to Rotruck.
The state’s appeals court looked at the initial decision from the Guilford County Board of Elections and at the way the case has been handled in lower courts.
“They see if the legal standards and statutes were applied correctly – our argument has always been that they weren’t,” Rotruck said.
He also said he got no sense whatsoever, based on the questions the judges asked, as to how the court will decide.
“They give nothing away,” he said.
Summerfield Mayor Gail Dunham made the trip to Raleigh to witness the hearing, as did members of Rotruck’s family and Janelle Robinson, the woman who initially filed the challenge to Rotruck’s Summerfield residency.