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Judge denies motion for emergency injunction against McGraw

Judge Donna Keim

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Today Judge Donna Keim issued a ruling that denied a motion requesting an emergency injunction to prevent School Board Member Diyonne McGraw from voting in school board meetings. The request for the emergency injunction was made by local attorney Jeff Childers on behalf of plaintiffs Khanh-Lien Banko, Marlon Bruce, Thomas Cowart, and Richard McNeill.

In the ruling, Keim stated that there “appears to be a substantial likelihood of success on the merits… if McGraw does not live in the school district which she represents, District 2, she is not entitled to hold the seat for that district… By McGraw’s failure to reside in the district for which she was elected, the seat is considered vacant; McGraw’s failure to reside in District 2 violates Alachua County School Board Policy; and… Florida Constitution states that a vacancy occurs when the elected official fails to meet the residency requirement of their office.”

However, the judge found that there is a different adequate remedy at law: quo warranto. The arguments that McGraw’s attorney made yesterday regarding quo warranto and the plaintiffs’ attorney’s responses are described here. The judge further stated that the plaintiffs have requested “that any vote made by Defendant McGraw during that time was ultra vires and void… If the Court can declare McGraw’s votes ultra vires and void, including any votes that may occur while the Plaintiffs’ Complaint is pending, then a temporary injunction is not appropriate.”

The judge also found that there was insufficient evidence that allowing McGraw to continue voting would cause irreparable harm.

However, the judge found that an injunction “would serve the interest of the public as this would avoid questions as to the validity of the actions taken by the Alachua County School Board while McGraw’s status as a School Board member is in question due to litigation regarding same.”

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Since a party requesting a temporary injunction must establish all four prongs and Keim found that it only established two of them, the motion was denied. The case will now proceed on a non-emergency basis.

  • So the judge rules McGraw is falsely, (read illegally), representing a district she claims to live in and rules the seat occupied by McGraw is legally vacant but can’t find the legal merit to issue the TEMPORARY injunction. I’m sure many recall the hearing regarding the mandatory requirement of wearing face masks brought against the current liberal leadership and the decision rendered in that case. Yes, that decision was recently overturned.

    Sounds like the judge may be concerned about the current “cancel” culture running rampant throughout the country.

    • Reading Comprehension 101. She said “IF”. The judge is not ruling on that particular issue. This case was to determine if she should be allowed to vote…that’s all. The rest will come later.

      • I stand corrected. Although she has been declared by the Supervisor of Elections to be residing in the same district as another school board member, district 2. McGraw even acknowledged she resides at the address on her homestead exemption, once again in district 2. It really is unfortunate that although McGraw recognizes the merits of the case and realizes she does not reside in district 2, she lacks the character to step down without going though the process of the court actions being taken.

        It was nice of the judge to make specific reference in her ruling regarding all of the laws/regulations McGraw is violating wouldn’t you agree? She also said issuing an injunction “would SERVE THE INTEREST OF THE PUBLIC as this would avoid questions as to the VALIDITY OF THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE ALACHUA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD while McGraw’s STATUS AS A SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER IS IN QUESTION due to litigation regarding same.”

        By the way, it doesn’t matter to me which side of the political fence you fall on or straddle, the laws that govern the school districts are quite clear with respect to this situation.

    • You’ve established “all four prongs” of being right realtruth2020…Desantis needs to replace McGraw.

    • Medina Spirit won as well, legally and within the framework of the given rules I might add…NOT.

  • I thought quo warranto required approval from the attorney general. Did they get approval?

  • winknews (6/12/21): Pointing to privacy rights, a divided state appeals court Friday overturned a circuit judge’s decision last year that allowed Alachua County to keep in place a mask requirement to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    A panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 decision, said Alachua County Circuit Judge Donna Keim did not properly consider the privacy rights of plaintiff Justin Green before she rejected a request for a temporary injunction against the mask requirement.

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