Courthouse

The Lawrence County courthouse 

A Lawrence County judge said he will rule later on a lawsuit filed by a Volant area woman who sought county government documents under the state's right-to-know law.

The suit, filed by Carrie Hahn of Wilmington Township against the Lawrence County government, alleged that she had applied for multiple records including board of elections minutes and tax duplicates that she either did not receive or received in a format different than how she requested them.

Common Pleas Judge John W. Hodge listened to Hahn's position in a two-and-a-half-hour hearing Thursday, along with counter-arguments by Carolyn Flannery-Long, who was acting as the county's right-to-know officer and was assistant county solicitor when Hahn filed her requests.

Hahn argued that Flannery-Long had not answered her right-to-know requests while the courthouse was closed because of COVID-19, yet she answered a request from someone from another county. She also complained that tax duplicates she had requested was 263-pages long with five properties per page, when in previous years, the duplicates were condensed to one page.

Flannery-Long explained to the judge that during COVID-19, she had vacated her private office when former county solicitor Thomas W. Leslie took personal leave and  she was conducting county personnel matters for people who were off work as well as performing Leslie's job. She also was reading hundreds of emails of county elections director Ed Allison when former President Donald J. Trump filed a lawsuit against the county because of discarded absentee ballots that bared the names of the voters.

Hodge pointed out Hahn had received most of the information she requested, and he asked her, "what is it that you want?"

Elections director Tim Germani was called to the witness stand to testify about providing copies of the minutes of election board meetings.

Hodge said he intends to render an opinion in the case after he reviews the arguments and filings from both sides.

Hahn represented herself at the hearing and had no legal counsel.

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Reporter

Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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