The Washington Post incorrectly indentified the source of payment for the Attorney's fees for Arlington County Board member Ellen M. Bozman in its Friday editions. Sherman Pratt, who challenged Bozman's re-election in a case decided Thursday, was ordered to pay court costs. Bozman must pay her own attorney's fees.
Three Virginia circuit court judges yesterday ruled that an obscure state law did not disqualify Arlington County Board member Ellen M. Bozman form being re-elected to a second board term last November.
Bozman's opponent on the November ballot, Sherman Pratt, challenged Bozman's election based on a law dating back to 1936. The law prohibits local officials from holding certain offices simultaneously. At the time Bozman was chairman of a local Helath Center Commission, as well as a member of the County Board.
Several weeks after her election Bozman learned of the conflict and resigned from the Board and the commission.
But Judges Arthur W. Sinclair, who lives in Prince William County, William L. Winston, of Arlington, and J.N.H. Willia Jr. of Fredericksburg said after deliberating one hour yesterday that Bozman was qualified to run for office and that the law barring membership on other commissions did not affect her qualifications as a candidate.
At the time of her candidacy Bozman was "qualified to vote for and hold the office she was seeking," Judge Winston said. The restriction on holding dual offices was not interpreted to restrict her from seeking election, Winston said.
The judges dismissed Pratt's complaint and ordered him to pay Bozman's attorneys fees and all court costs.
Pratt, an attorney, represented himself in the Arlington Circuit Court yesterday, because he said the cost of him campaign made it impossible for him to afford an attorney.
Three judges were required to hear the case because it involved an election. Two of the judges had to be from jurisdictions not adjacent to Arlington, Bozman's attorney Lawrence J. Latto said.
Pratt told the judges he filed the complaint, "not as a disgruntled candidate," but "on behalf of the community and the 14,000 people who voted of me."
Pratt contended that Bozman's election was invalid because she was unqualified to serve as a member of the County Board at the time she was a candidate. Bozman was unqualified because she was a member of the commission, Pratt contended.
But Latto argued that according to state law the only qualifications for a Board Candidate are a residency requirement and rules such as age that qualify a person to vote and hold office.
After the hearing yesterday Pratt said it is doubtful that he will appeal the judges decision.
"I'm not greatly surprised by the outcome," Pratt said, "and I have no regrets."
Bozman said the decision "is one I expected," and that being taken to court is "a distressing kind of thing to do." She said she will take the oath of office for her new term today at 11 a.m.