ROCHESTER – A state Appellate Court today rejected an appeal by the campaign of Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and the Oneida County Board of Elections to reverse another judge’s ruling that Michael Hennessy had enough valid signatures to keep Hennessy on the Democratic ballot line in this November’s election – READ FULL DECISION IN PHOTOS BELOW.It is unclear whether Picente will again appeal this second unfavorable court ruling, but Michael Hennessy has said that Picente is simply trying to distract him in legal fights by wasting money and time instead of focusing on campaign issues. “That is not how Democracy is supposed to work,” Hennessy has said, arguing that Picente is trying to take away the voters’ choice. Picente, however, has said in news reports that he has a right to challenge court rulings that they disagree with.

The Appellate judges rejected all of the legal arguments posed by the attorney for Picente’s campaign, such as the claim that someone must write their actual apartment number on a petition to get a candidate on the ballot, rather than only the apartment building’s actual address. In siding with the lower Supreme Court’s ruling favoring Hennessy, the Appellate judges also noted that the judge heard testimony from people who stated that they signed the petition and wanted Hennessy on the ballot, despite objections from the Picente campaign.

One issue that remains unresolved, however, is Hennessy’s complaint that Picente’s sister did not recuse herself as a potential conflict of interest as Deputy Elections Commissioner in evaluating Hennessy’s petition signatures at the time they were invalidated. Although Hennessy’s attorney attempted to bring up this point during oral arguments in Rochester today, the Appellate judges quickly stopped him because the issue of Picente’s sister had not been raised in the lower court.

That issue will have to be argued in another lawsuit, which Hennessy has said he plans to file this week alleging that his rights have been violated by this potential ethical lapse at the Board of Elections.

Lockwood Law


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