LAWRENCEVILLE -- As promised, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter has formally filed a request with the Georgia Court of Appeals, asking it to reconsider its decision that threw out the indictment of former Commissioner Kevin Kenerly.
On July 6, the court dismissed the bribery indictment brought against Kenerly by a Gwinnett special grand jury last October. Its ruling found that the grand jury -- which had originally been designated to look into questionable county land purchases -- only had the power to investigate, not indict, Kenerly.
"There is no language under (Section 15-12-100 of Georgia law) giving a special purpose grand jury the power to return a criminal indictment," the ruling said. "... indeed the rules of statutory interpretation suggest otherwise."
Porter said at the time that he planned to ask the Court of Appeals to reconsider. He confirmed Tuesday that he had sent the formal request by mail on Friday.
In the request obtained by the Daily Post, Porter cited the Supreme Court case Allen v. Wright and argued that the Court of Appeals "may construe statutes to avoid absurd results."
Essentially, Porter argued that the court's strict interpretation of Section 15-12-100 is made invalid by the fact that the code itself is particularly vague in regards to specific details surrounding the formation of a special grand jury. In this case, he urged the court to consider special grand jury law an extension of laws governing regular grand juries.
A regular grand jury has the power to "prepare reports or issue presentments" based on its investigations.
"For all of the above and foregoing reasons, the ruling of this Honorable Court should be reconsidered and the ruling of the trial court should be affirmed," Porter wrote.
After the special grand jury's yearlong investigation, Kenerly was accused of accepting a $1 million bribe to facilitate a favorable price for a developer selling land to the government for a park. Kenerly resigned in November, shortly after the indictment was released in October.
Porter has said in the past that if the Court of Appeals denies his request, he will appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. The district attorney also had plans to present the case to one of two regular grand juries currently sitting in the county, with a decision expected to come soon.