A Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order on the city council, keeping former councilman Herb Wesson from filling the vacant 10th district seat.
The order comes after a lawsuit filed by The Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California (SCLC-SC) that asked for councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas to be reinstated after being suspended by the L.A. City Council in October. Ridley-Thomas also served as executive director of the group for 10 years.
Ridley-Thomas was suspended by the council after allegations of being involved in a bribery scheme, but may return to the council if cleared of all charges.
The SCLC-SC argued that Ridley-Thomas should not have been suspended in the first place and will have to show cause for Wesson not to take over the vacant seat.
“Our day in court has arrived and with it another opportunity to defend voting rights and representation that is accountable to voters and equal protection and the presumption of innocence,” Pastor William D. Smart said in a statement. “These are the fundamental rights to which we, as Americans, are entitled and deserve. These are the reasons 10th Council District voters went to court against Councilmember Nury Martinez and the Los Angeles City Council.”
Michael J. Proctor, attorney to Mark Ridley-Thomas commented on the judge’s decision, saying the city council was not listening to 10th district constituents.
“For months one of Mark Ridley-Thomas’s primary concerns has been that Nury Martinez and City Council have consistently taken action without listening to the voters of District 10,” Proctor said in a statement. “Today, thankfully, someone—the court system—finally listened to their concerns. The lesson to District 10 voters? If you want to be counted, you need to fight for it.”
The council voted to temporarily appoint Wesson, and the former councilman was sworn in to fill the vacant 10th district seat.
The restraining order will expire at 1:30 p.m., March 17, a week after a hearing on the Order to Show Cause.