DA: No Charges For Ridgetop Mayor/Vice Mayor
RIDGETOP TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – After a review of the evidence and the only law that pertains to setting ticket quotas for law enforcement in Tennessee, special prosecutor Tommy Thompson has decided that Ridgetop Mayor Tony Reasoner and Vice-Mayor McCaw Johnson will not face prosecution because what they did was not a “criminal act,” according to a letter released by the DA this week.
According to Thompson, the only real applicable statute (39-16-516) does address ticket quotas but only as a directive. “This statute does not create a criminal act but is simply a prohibition against the city in the form of a legislative directive.” – (Additionally) “The statute prescribes the conduct of the city only, and not any person in their individual capacity.”
Thompson reiterates this point a total of three times in the letter, “It is also noteworthy that the violator of this act is not any person in their individual capacity but rather the city collectively.” (In other words, the city might be guilty under the statute but no one person can be.) The third example was taken from the Court of Appeals Of Tennessee. You can read the insert in the DA’s letter below. – Thompson’s conclusion; “As such, criminal prosecution under the statute is impossible, violation notwithstanding.” In addition, Thompson says the statute never addresses punishment, so you have no crime and no assigned penalty.
The DA also looked at the possibility of official misconduct on the part of the Mayor and Vice-Mayor, however, to get there the DA would have to prove officials intentionally or knowingly intended to personally “gain a benefit or harm another.” According to Thompson, there was no evidence to that effect. A full unedited copy of the DA’s letter has been added to our story below.
According to Thompson, this is the first time in Tennessee that this statute has come under such scrutiny. Now that so many eyeballs are looking at the statute, time will tell if the law will be changed or if a new law will be put on the books to address ticket quotas. As a citizen, if you feel that ticket quotas should be illegal, this would be the time to reach out to your legislator. It’s also important to note that if the law is changed to address individuals and a penalty is attached, it would not apply retroactively.
“Special Prosecutor” Thompson was brought in to look at the case simply to avoid a conflict of interest with personal in Robertson County. Thompson’s assignment to the case had nothing to do with the merit of the case.
The future for Ridgetop…
The city of Ridgetop is now facing a precipice. Ridgetop Police Chief Bryan Morris has been with the Ridgetop Police Department for 9 years, 3 of that as Chief. Morris told Smokey Barn News that his working relationship with the city’s Mayor Tony Reasoner and Vice Mayor McCaw Johnson has soured in the last year and a half. Now that Morris has come out publically against city leaders and made it clear he wanted to arrest them, the question is, how can they carve out a future together. Again, only time will tell.
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