Home News Local news Usie Richards to Appeal Judge’s Ruling on Senate Reprimand

Usie Richards to Appeal Judge’s Ruling on Senate Reprimand


Oct. 28, 2005 – Sen. Usie Richards won a partial victory with his lawsuit against the 25th Legislature for reprimanding him for sexual harassment.
Superior Court Judge Edgar D. Ross ruled last week that the 25th Legislature “is without authority to impose punishment on the plaintiff that exceeds the life of the 25th Legislature or otherwise punish the plaintiff after it adjourns."
However, Richards' attorney Jeffrey Moorhead is "disappointed" with the ruling. In his motion for declaratory judgment, he was asking the judge to remove the letter of reprimand from Richards' personal file.
Ross denied that request.
Richards' argument rested on the fact that the letter of reprimand was the result of the vote in a committee of six senators. He argued that the full senate needed to vote on the disciplinary action.
Ross wrote in his opinion that it was the internal rules of the senate that determined how it disciplines members, not statutory law, so it was legal for the committee to issue the reprimand.
The case began in September 2004 when a female senate employee wrote then-Senate President David Jones alleging Richards had made sexual advances toward her. The case grew as several more females came forward with complaints against Richards (See "Accusers Turn Up the Heat on Usie").
Named as defendants in Richards' suit against the legislature were Sens. David Jones, Lorraine Berry, Douglas Canton, Louis Hill, Norman Jn Baptiste and Almando "Rocky" Liburd.
Ross' opinion stated, "According to the subject reprimand letter, the Committee unanimously found that Plaintiff, on several occasions, created an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment for the complainants in violation of the Legislature's anti-sexual harassment policy."
It went on to say that the reprimand letter "rebuked Plaintiff for conduct the Legislature found to be illegal acts of sexual harassment and further advised Plaintiff that the Committee intended to place said letter in Plaintiff's Official Personnel File where it may remain for at least two years and not more than four years, depending upon Plaintiff's behavior and attitude."
Richards' attorney has told reporters that he intends to appeal Ross' ruling.
The judgment was dated Oct. 20. The clerk of the court certified it on Oct. 25.

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