Prince George's County Circuit Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. ruled, Dec. 5, that a Maryland House of Delegates seat is vacant.
The ruling scuttles an effort to replace deposed state Del. Tiffany Alston (D) with delegate-hopeful Greg Hall.
Prince George's County Democrats, Gov. Martin O'Malley and House Speaker Michael Busch were being pressed to replace Alston, forced out by charges of impropriety, with Hall.
He also said the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee could withdraw Hall's name from the list of possible replacements, citing drug and gun charges against Hall 20 years ago.