More cases delayed by House Speaker's legislative leave

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

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ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned of new developments in the story of a top state lawmaker facing accusations of overusing his position to delay court cases.
  

Reporter Tony Thomas first broke this story last week on Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat.

A north Georgia woman said the case against a man accused of killing half of her family in a car accident is being delayed by the suspect’s attorney, Speaker of the House David Ralston.
 
The law in question is called legislative leave -- state lawmakers are excused from court and other activities when they have legislative duties to attend to. 

But some, including Amanda Mosher, are questioning when that law is used to stretch a case over several years.
  
"It's really hard to explain, but I want him to go to jail," Joshua Truelove said.

He and his mother, Amanda Mosher, survived the 2005 Gilmer County crash that killed his father, Joey Truelove, and sister, Hailey Truelove.

Walter Layson has been charged with vehicular homicide in the accident, but he has never faced a trial.

"I'm just tired of going to court and it being continued," Mosher said.
 
For more than three years, Layson's attorney has been Ralston. The speaker has used legislative leave to ask for delays several times.

A prior lawyer for Layson also asked for several delays as well before Ralston took over the defense.
 
"If you’re going to be a legislator full-time, then be a legislator full-time, not be an attorney and a legislator so your cases never go to court. I'm sure I'm not the only victim," Mosher said.
 
Channel 2 found court records showing that Mosher is not the only person waiting for their day in court.
 
In an unrelated case, a judge demanded Ralston list where he was going to be when he asked for legislative leave.

Normally, lawmakers do not have to give specifics about their schedule to the court when asking for the leave. 

Here's what Ralston answered for one week in June last year:
 
June 7, 2011

Civic Luncheon in Ocilla
Speaking on behalf of the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

June 7-9, 2011

Georgia Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council
St. Simons Island, Ga
Speaking to the conference on two occasions, as well as meeting with House Committee Chairmen regarding budgetary matters as well as the upcoming Special Session of the General Assembly for redistricting.


June 9-10, 2011

Georgia Automobile Dealers Association
Amelia Island, Florida
Speaking on two occasions and be a part of a panel discussion on legislative issues, including proposal for tax reform in Georgia.


June 12-13, 2011

Republican Legislative Conference Committee
Naples, FL

June 13-14, 2011


Georgia Beer Wholesalers Association
Savannah, Ga
Speaking and participating in a panel discussion on legislative issues.

June 14-16, 2011

Georgia Healthcare Association
Amelia Island, FL
Speaking to the group, and also participate in meetings with committees from the group on tax reform, medicaid, and budget related issues.

Thomas spoke to Ralston about the concerns by phone on Friday.

"I don't think there has been any unusual or different treatment of this case in terms of legislative leave from other cases in which I'm involved," Ralston said.

For Mosher, she just wants her case to be heard.
 
"It's hard. It's hard to answer (my son’s) questions about where they're at and what happened, and how he misses them," Mosher said.