Courthouse Perks

I promised to follow the Truth no matter where it leads which makes this one of the hardest articles that I have written. I was alerted to this story in a completely different context, but here I am. I have talked to several friends about this piece, and while I am not held to the traditional journalistic standards, I don’t want to write a hit piece just for the sake of attention… I want the Truth to have some news worthiness. So with some concern, I pen this piece about a Hall County (and maybe Gainesville City) employee that has been sideways with the law on a couple of occasions, but apparently did not warrant a trial. I realize that the graphics are bad; I took a picture from my cell phone off of the computer in the Clerk of the Courts office.

CJUS

Our first incident occurred way back in 2004 when the Gainesville Police department arrested the defendant for running a stop sign, no proof of insurance, and a suspended driver’s license. I went to the City to see what the disposition was and discovered that all charges were dismissed (nolle prosequi) by the solicitor. Considering the distance in time, I left that one alone.

2011FB_MugThe second incident seemed worth looking at. This occurred in 2011 when the defendant was charged with failure to maintain lane and driving under the influence of alcohol. As you know, DUI is a serious charge. In the incident report (pp4), the defendant gave her version of “Do you know who I am” when she pointed out to the officer that she worked for the county and the city court system. While it wasn’t the funniest “do you know who I am” question I have seen, it warrants attention.

Several things seemed to happen in very fast order, yes she was arrested, but then she was released in an hour and a half. After refusing to take the field breathalyzer, the record doesn’t show that she was offered the state breathalyzer, blood or urine test at the jail. Refusal of the state test could result in the suspension of your license for a year pending an administrative hearing. As it turns out, she was arrested on a day that Flowery Branch had court and the judge immediately rescued herself even though the actual court date for the offense wasn’t for over a month (9/13).

While the case is still open, two of my lawyer friends both said that the city had a weak case to start with (due to the refusal to take the breathalyzer) and since the police officer left the city shortly after the arrest (I have been told there is a story here too). But now that the statute of limitations may have expired, this case will most likely never be heard. I would imagine that after this article is read by our friends at the City of Flowery Branch, it may finally be dismissed: nolle prosequi.

The question that may lead to the Truth here is why has this Defendant been able to skirt through the criminal justice system so easily? Would we be this lucky? Is this a matter of just coincidence after coincidence? Does the Defendant happen to know the right people in law enforcement and the court system just because of her employment? Or does the Truth lead us to a conclusion elsewhere?

Your Friend,

Commissioner Chuck

  6 comments for “Courthouse Perks

  1. GT183
    August 6, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    On the 2004 charge, what was the suspended license for?

    • August 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Keep in mind that the suspended license charge was not prosecuted. It may be because the license wasn’t suspended. Unfortunately, getting the driving history from the DMV was going to be too much of a hassle assuming that they would even give it to me at all.

  2. PIRG
    August 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Releasing someone that soon is not an uncommon practice because the charges had bonds. All that needed to be done was to pay the bond at Flowery Branch PD. Chief Spiller’s should have that receipt for the Dept’s own record keeping. A supervisor is so supposed to sign any release sheet where an inmate is released from the Hall County Detention Center. There is not any supervisor signature other than some officer whose badge number is 4729. Jeff Schumacher is the Assistant Jail Commander and he should be able to educate you on why a supervisor didn’t sign the release. But, the refusal to take the breath test should have resulted in an automatic suspension of the Driver’s License. Chief Spillers should know this. The Clerk of Court should be able to give you a disposition on the case or Chief Spillers can tell you as well because I think they are linked to CJIS as well. I am not surprised she is keeping her job because I know of others who were arrested on Domestic Violence and are still employed. I, also, know of one who got involved in a Shower Stall bid that was wapsided. He was later terminated and now it appears he is back to work as an investigator. You have the AB sheet, so just drive up to the GSP Post and talk with the Senior Sergeant there.

    • August 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks for the input PIRG. I did talk to Chief Spillers and he was very helpfull. The case in Flowery Branch is still pending, but considering the statute of limitations (2 years for a misdemeanor), there may not be any choice but to dismiss the case.

      The real purpose behind the post was to ask the question on if there is favoritism provided to people that work in the court system.

      • PIRG
        August 7, 2015 at 9:46 am

        Stephanie Woodard should be able to help you in this even though it appears Flowery Branch City Court may have dropped the ball. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia can also find out why as well. The State Attorney General’s Office can probably help you as well. If the Defense Attorney has requested any delays, ask these people if that does not suspend the Statute of Limitations. I believe it does. If nothing else, Charles Baker needs to terminate her employment. Chief Spillers can run her name through GCIC and determine if her Driver’s License is suspended or not. A refusal to take a breath test is grounds for an immediate driver’s license suspension by the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Based on this arrest, you would think she should have some kind of progressive discipline administered at her department level. She was arrested in 2004 for Driving with her License in Suspension. That in itself will subject her to be classified as a Habitual Violator which is a felony if you get caught driving again. She was arrested again in 2011. GSP should be able to give you a copy of her license history if not Chief Spillers. It would be interesting to see if she was ever declared a Habitual Violator. After about five years, you can come off of the Habitual Violator status if you meet certain requirements. But, with this DUI arrest, she may find herself being declared a Habitual Violator again is probably why the case may not get prosecuted. If she is not tried because of the Statue of Limitations, she will not be declared a Habitual Violator again. It would be nice if I could have that kind of importance in the county. Chief Spillers has the professional responsibility to find out what has happened. The arrest was made by one of his officers and the charge will be tried in Flowery Branch City Court unless it was moved to Hall County State Court, where Ms. Woodard has a professional responsibility to administer justice. You have the major players there in front of you, take a trip to the FBI and ask them. Dale Russell with the I Team may like this one as well. Here is your opportunity to do something.

  3. PIRG
    August 7, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    We’ve talked about the 3rd State Court Judge before. I mentioned the revenues has not met the projections used to justify the 3rd State Court Position. Why? What does this girl do in the position that she has within the court system? Does she accept traffic fines at the window down in the Clerk’s Office in the Courthouse? She has a criminal history and it may be she is involved in more than poor driving habits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *