Alison Sosebee did not fix a DUI case in Ellijay City Court, this was the comment FYN received from Ellijay City Police Chief Larry Callahan.In District Attorney’s Joe Hendricks latest campaign mailer he accuses his opponent B. Alison Sosebee of fixing a DUI case in Ellijay City Court on June 26th. 2007. Hendricks’ mailer says quote
“Alison Sosebee broke ethics rules and fixed a DUI case, putting innocent lives at risk. Say no to DUI fixing Democrat Alison Sosebee.”
Hendricks also gives three City of Ellijay citation numbers, 9218, 9219 and 9220 for the DUI in question.
This is the second mailer where Hendricks has accused Sosebee of being a Democrat. During a live televised debate on Monday the 23rd FYN asked Sosebee if she was a Democrat to which she quickly replied
, she went on to say she is a republican and always has been.
Since fixing a DUI case is a strong allegation and implying that your family would not be safe if Sosebee is elected District Attorney, I felt I needed to look at the merits of the mailer. Not many people I know would stand for fixing a DUI case-this is serious business.
I started looking into the allegation by doing an open records request from the City of Ellijay for the file on the case. After reading the file several times, I called Sosebee and asked several questions. I still had no idea where to start on the story. I then called DA Hendricks and after a very lengthy conversation I still felt something was wrong and thought I was missing a crucial part to this story.
After reading the case file for about the tenth time, finally at 9pm- there it was – right in front of me; if Sosebee fixed a DUI case so did the City of Ellijay. You see on that night Sosebee was acting as Solicitor for the city of Ellijay, standing in for Amanda Mercier who was on sick leave.
Hendricks mailer makes the claim that,
” while Sosebee was the prosecutor for the City of Ellijay’s traffic court, Sosebee law partner represented a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit. Sosebee broke ethics guidelines and halted the prosecution of this repeat drunk driver. As a favor to her law partner, she let a serial drunk driver walk with his driver’s license.”
Chief Callahan gave FYN the following statement,
“No one fixed the case, and the case was not a favor to anyone. There were issues with the case. There was a problem with the field sobriety test. This would have been a hard case to prosecute. There was no arresting officer. We could not find the officer to serve a subpoena on (Officer David Bagley was no longer with the City of Ellijay). Everyone has the right to face their accuser and they could not get the arresting officer back for the case. We do not reduce DUI’s. The Mayor and I would rather transfer the case to Superior Court or try the case and lose it before we would ever reduce a DUI. The sentence that Mr. Worley received I approved. In a case that could have been easily dismissed we did not let that happen.”
The City of Ellijay did not seem very happy that anyone would imply that it would allow anyone to fix a DUI in its court room.
Sosebee maintains she does not have law partners. Hendricks claims that George Weaver, the defense attorney of record in this case, was a law partner of Sosebee and this violated a code of ethics. Sosebee maintains that she only wrote the order in the case per Chief Callahan’s instruction so as to not dismiss the case. Callahan maintained that nothing unethical took place in the court room.
We asked Hendricks to explain his partner comment. He stated Georgia Code 15-18-80 sub section E. He said he had Sosebee letterhead with George Weaver listed as counsel. He said this was clearly considered partnership according to Georgia Code.
Hendricks said he is the clear choice to fight crime and drunk drivers. The only thing clear in this campaign is that it has gone in the gutter. Negative, and as they say throw everything at them including the kitchen sink, this includes the toilet.