Charlene Drew Jarvis, fighting to hold on to her seat on the D.C. Superior Court yesterday and insisted that she had been a resident of the District of Columbia for the required one year prior to her election on May 1.
Jarvis, who was the final witness in three days of hearings, testified that she moved from Chevy Chase, Md. into the District in October 1977 and has lived in upper Northwest Washington since.
But Norman Neverson, who was a losing contender for the Ward Four council seat Jarvis won, has charged in a court challenge that Jarvis was not eligible to run for office in the District because she maintained numerous residential ties to Maryland.
Four other losing candidates in the city council race in Ward Four -- located in the upper 16th Street area -- also came to court to testify against Jarvis. They testified that Jarvis was seldom at or near the house she said she owns at 1789 Sycamore St. NW, that she often drove a car registered in Maryland, and that one of her two sons continued to attend a Maryland school after she moved into the District.
Neverson filed a petition with the D.C. Court of Appeals on May 25, asking the court to unseat Jarvis and either declare him the winner of the election or order a new election.
The court then directed that hearings be held this week to allow Neverson to present evidence that Jarvis did not meet residency requirements at the time she was elected.
Judge James A. Belson, who heard the evidence, said that his written opinion based on the facts would be forwarded to the appeals court sometime next week.
Payroll records presented by Neverson were designed to show that Jarvis continued to have Maryland taxes withheld for seven months after she moved into the District. He also contended that Jarvis did not inform Montigomery County public school officials of her new D.C. address. As a result, Jarvis son, Ernie, attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School for a year without paying an out-of-state tution.
In addition, Neverson said that Jarvis waited for six months after she moved into D.C. before she registered her late-model Chevrolet and waited a full year before she obtained a D.C. driver's permit. This, he said, indicated that she did not consider herself a ful-time resident of D.C.
In response to Neverson's charges, Jarvis -- who was employed at the National Institute of Mental Health prior to her election -- testified that after she moved to D.C., she requested that D.C. taxes be withheld from her pay. She said it took seven months for this tax withholding to begin.
Jarvis testified that she was not aware of any regulation requiring her to obtain a new driver's permit after she took residence in the District. Jarvis said she received a D.C. permit a year after she moved to the city, but kept her old Maryland driver's permit also.
In final arguments, James H Craddock, Neverson's attorney, said that Jarvis' testimony "consisted of so many inconsistencies and fragile explanations that nothing she has said is to be believed."
"council member Jarvis has done everything one can do to establish residence in the District of Columbia," said Jarvis' attorney, Curt Ritter. "What has been shown in this hearing is that it is nothing more than human nature to forget some things. If it was a civil trial, we would ask for a summary dismissal." CAPTION: Picture, Charlene Drew JARVIS . . . facing court challenge