PITTSBORO — The Winnie Davis Chapter #259 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy have filed a notice to appeal the Dec. 4 dismissal of the case it filed against the Chatham County Board of …
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PITTSBORO — The Winnie Davis Chapter #259 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy have filed a notice to appeal the Dec. 4 dismissal of the case it filed against the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, Chatham for All and the West Chatham Branch 5378 of the NAACP in the removal of the Confederate statue that had rested on the grounds of the Historic Chatham County Courthouse in Pittsboro.
In the case, which was dismissed by Judge Susan Bray, the UDC argued that the statue should not be removed as it was a “gift” to the county. A state law passed in 2015 reads “A monument, memorial, or work of art owned by the State may not be removed, relocated, or altered in any way without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission.” The county disputed that the statue was a gift, arguing that a license housed in the N.C. Archives from the time of the installation of the monument in 1907 notes that it was an agreement for the county to house the statue, but it would remain the property of the UDC. The statue being privately-owned on public land means its placement is not subject to the law.
In October, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution rescinding the license and requested the UDC create a plan for the statue’s removal. When the UDC failed to come up with a plan, the county removed the statue in November and housed it “safely and securely” in a storage facility in Greensboro until such time as the UDC claims its property. The debate has sparked weekly protests at the site for months, typically on Saturdays.
Though the UDC filed the notice of appeal at the Chatham County Justice Center Dec. 30, the process from notice to oral arguments is a long one, according to N.C. Court of Appeals Deputy Clerk Eddie Sanders. Once the notice is filed, both parties in the case coordinate to determine when the “Record on Appeal” will be filed.
The Record on Appeal refers to the documents that will be presented to the judges who will decide the case and generally include all transcripts, exhibits and other items incorporated into the issue by reference for the case. The negotiations between the two parties on the Record of Appeal can often take about six months, according to Sanders.
Following the filing of the Record of Appeal, both parties will then file their briefs and arguments for the case. The process from the notice of filing, to the Record of Appeal then briefs to a court date for oral arguments often take up to a year, Sanders said.
Reporter Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.