A pre-trial in the case of the State of Alabama vs Michael Saulsberry was held last Thursday morning, June 30th with a motion for Judge Collins Pettaway to recuse himself from hearing the trial for ex-commissioner Saulsberry.
The reason for asking Pettaway to step down was that Pettaway was appointed to the position of County Attorney in 2011 on a recommendation by Chairman Saulsberry. On May 9, 2011 Saulsberry made a motion to hire Pettaway as County Attorney.
The Commission voted with a vote of two for hiring Mr. Pettaway and two against, two abstained, so the motion died.
Commissioner Saulsberry made a motion on May 23rd, 2011, to hire Pettaway as the County Attorney. When brought to a vote it was three for and two against. The motion passed.
It was stated in the pretrial that the position of County Attorney went from a $36,000 a year job to a $100,000 after Pettaway was awarded the contract.
The previous lawyer for the county was George Fendley who served in that position for 26 years. The lawyer for Saulsberry, Brandon J. Wooten, of Selma, made a statement that Mr. Saulsberry has only been charged but not yet convicted of anything. Judge Pettaway, in closing, said that he would take it under advisement, and would let the court know of his decision. The trial for Michael Saulsberry was originally scheduled for July 11th but has now been moved to September 19th.