Port Wentworth mayoral candidate fighting complaint that he can’t run yet because of prison record

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PORT WENTWORTH, Ga. (WSAV) – A man who wants to be the mayor here promises to fight back against a complaint that says he’s not eligible because he has not been out of prison long enough.

Julius Hall told reporters Tuesday he has paid his debt to society and that in January he was granted restoration of his civil and political rights by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

“The reading, the wording and the meaning of this document is clear as day,” said Hall.

Hall said he read it carefully before submitting his application to the city of Port Wentworth and that he even called the Parole Board to double-check that he is eligible to run for office.

In a city qualifying city document signed by Hall on Aug. 16, he attests that his civil rights have been restored and that “at least 10 years have elapsed from the date of the completion of his sentence.”

That prompted a complaint from a citizen that Hall has not been out of prison for an entire decade. The complaint cited a section of the Georgia Constitution that indicated the 10-year period is required for a potential officeholder.

Hall told reporters he has been out of prison for just over eight years. He also said he is confident the Board of Parole document should be considered more important than the 10-year rule.

“Why should I have to wait two years for what? The law is clear,” said Hall. “Why should I still be paying for something that I already paid for?”

The complaint cites Hall’s crimes as a former Savannah Police officer almost three decades ago, which included interstate drug trafficking, indicating he went to prison in 1991.

“My life over the last 30 years demonstrates that I’m a changed person. You don’t see me doing any of the things that I did as a youth,” said Hall.

Hall promised to present his case Friday at a hearing which will take place at Port Wentworth City Hall.

He called the complaint political, saying the person who filed it works for the current mayor’s campaign.

WSAV contacted the complainant who told us via email that he does not work for anyone’s campaign.

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