Prichard City Council member Earline Martin-Harris resigns over residency dispute

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Prichard city council member Earline Martin-Harris resigned just moments before a trial challenging her residency Wednesday morning, May 21.

A pool of dozens of prospective jurors were lined up outside Judge John Lockett’s courtroom when the judge called the attorneys inside. He said the trial would not be necessary because Harris had resigned.

Assistant District Attorney Martha Tierney said the state was prepared with an abundance of evidence to show Harris does not live in the district she represented for years.

“I think you all know that she lives in Daphne. And that she had a mortgage on her house in Daphne and a deed to that property, and that her children are registered in the schools there. There’s a lot of information in the records that establish those general issues that are even more detailed, and the devil is always in the details,” Tierney said.

We wanted to talk to Harris, but she managed to avoid reporters.

Family and friends of Harris did not want to comment about the case either, but there were a number of Prichard residents in the courtroom who are very happy about the outcome.

“I’m so glad with the way it turned out. Maybe we can get some peace in Prichard now,” Joyce Soshay said.

“I think this sends a strong message to people that when they don’t live in the city of Prichard, or the city that they want to run in that they would think twice,” Alberta Young said.

FOX10 News went to Prichard City Hall to find out the city’s next step to fill the seat left vacant by Harris’ resignation.

“Actually, the mayor is not available and a statement has not been prepared as of yet,” city spokesperson Melanie Baldwin said.

The resignation also raises another question. If Harris didn’t live in District 2 how does that affect her vote on city business during her last term?

Some citizens said Harris should have to repay the salary she collected from Prichard’s tax dollars.

FOX10 News will follow up on the story to get those answers.

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