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Motion Filed to Put Deschene Back in Race

December 30
17:30 2014
Chris Deschene

Chris Deschene

Chris Deschene may not be out of the picture just yet, with a new motion being filed in his defense to get him back on the presidential ballot.

On Monday (12/29), a motion was filed by Deschene’s attorney, Edward Hermes, against the decision made on October 9th by Chief Hearing Officer, Richie Nez of the Office of Hearings and Appeals.

Nez had originally issued a judgment against Mr. Deschene, which disqualified him as a presidential candidate under Navajo law evidently for not taking a test to determine his ability to speak the Navajo language fluently.

Navajo law states an individual must be able to fluently speak and comprehend the Navajo language, as well as read and write the English language to be qualified for the role of Navajo Nation President.

The motion against Nez was made on the grounds that Nez did not have the authority to preside over Deschene’s case and make a decision against him.  This notion was based upon Nez not being qualified to serve as chief hearing officer.

Nez’s qualifications were first brought to light when Myron McLaughlin, a former presidential candidate, filed an appeal with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court on December 3rd.  The appeal made reference to a section of Navajo law, which requires the chief hearing officer must be a licensed attorney not only by the Navajo Nation Bar Association, but also by a state bar association in Arizona, New Mexico or Utah.

President Shelly has since removed Nez as chief hearing officer, ruling he did indeed lacked the qualifications for the position.

The motion made by Deschene’s attorney, Mr. Hermes, states any such order made by Nez should be voided due to a lack of qualifications that would enable him to serve as chief hearing officer.

The final verdict on whether or not Mr. Deschene will be put back on the ballot will apparently now be put in the hands of the Office of Hearings and Appeals.

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