Jimmy Williamson’s sensitive side

Seth Emerson takes a rather thorough look at how the driving without a license criminal statute is enforced in this state here.  It’s a good read that backs up my initial driving-Mudcat’s-car take, but there is one side point I find to be of particular interest.

Yes, Briscoe was also charged with not wearing a seat belt. But that’s usually just a ticket. It was the lack of a driver’s license that sent Briscoe to jail, and re-ignited the question: Is that really necessary?

The UGA police appeared sensitive to the question. Attached to the Briscoe arrest report was an official opinion from the Georgia Attorney General’s Office – in 2008 – that anybody found driving without a valid license should be fingerprinted.  [Emphasis added.]

When’s the last time you saw “The UGA police appeared sensitive to the question in a story about a Georgia student-athlete?  Hell, when’s the first time you saw “The UGA police appeared sensitive to the question in such a story?

You may not think this means all that much, but the idea that the UGA police felt the need to explain their behavior in a proactive manner is an alien concept to me.  Baby steps, sure, but maybe Kirby has gotten through with his peace offering a little more than we gave him credit for doing.

60 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

60 responses to “Jimmy Williamson’s sensitive side

  1. JG Shellnutt

    Oh the times, they are a-changin’

  2. VoxDawg

    First, it was a bonehead move by Briscoe to get behind the wheel, fully knowing that his MD license had lapsed and that he actively failed the GA test. Next, it was even dumber for him to invite trouble by telegraphing the boneheadedness by not wearing his seat belt. That is an automatic visual cue for any sort of officer to pull you over and find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    That said, I agree with you on the issue of sterner forces at work behind the scenes, with UGAPD and ACCPD. To the point that ACCPD took to twitter and wanted to point out to fans that they weren’t the ones that booked Briscoe. Another unprecedented move. The logical response to that for me wa that there’s no way fans would automatically assume that Herr Willison’s cadre was responsible unless they had a long track record of looking for reasons to book UGA players.

    • Gravidy

      I agree with you completely. First of all, the boneheadedness by Briscoe is several layers deep. Secondly, the long track record between UGA players and the local authorities is widely known and resented by UGA fans, so this arrest was absolutely going to be viewed with skepticism no matter what – as will any arrests for the foreseeable future until/unless we see real change in that track record. And finally, the sudden PR awareness by the arresting agency (and one that wasn’t even involved) is a very new and surprising development.

  3. Athens Dog

    Baby steps ?

  4. The other doug

    Jimmy is feeling the heat, and I like that.

  5. Russ

    Good on Seth for asking these questions, though Pledge Trainer Shultz will probably but him on double secret probation for insubordination.

  6. DawgPhan

    Everyday he is employed is a day too long. He should have been canned the second he put students lives in danger by not following the current laws in Georgia.

  7. sniffer

    Here’s my question, are Attorney General’s opinions binding?

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Short answer is no, if by binding you mean like case law. The AG isn’t a Judge, Justice, and also isn’t the Legislature. But he or she is the head law enforcement officer of the state and is kind of the boss of all police. They should follow his or her policy until told otherwise by a higher authority.

  8. Atticus

    Kirby is the law now in Athens. Not the President, not the AD and certainly not the police chief. Laws are laws and especially the serious ones and certainly there should ALWAYS be discipline for any offense. The football coach and his success is the leading generator of revenue for the University AND for the city of Athens. He needs to meet with all parties and “come to an understanding”…….or people need to lose jobs. Especially the clown that runs the UGA campus police. It’s just that simple.

    • DawgPhan

      I am going to go with no way that football is the leading revenue generator for UGA or Athens.

      Also this kid was still arrested, still ended up in the paper, and probably still has to sit a game. I guess that can pass for CKS laying down the law.

      • Atticus

        The 6 days of UGA home games generate BY FAR the largest amount of revenue of anything else that happens in that city the rest of the year. Not even close.

        • The other doug

          The University is the largest source of revenue.

        • Gaskilldawg

          The economic output of the Athens-Clarke County metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was $6,256 million in 2008. The Athens Regional Medical Center generates about $750,000,000. The Caterpillar plant pays employees in the area about $57,000,000 per year total.

          While a UGA football gameday generates more economic activity on that specific day than anything else, over the course of the year UGA football gamedays, while very important, are not the biggest generator of local revenue.

          • Normaltown Mike

            yeah sure, but what about the economic impact on chicken wings and Bud Lite?

            How much does ARMC and CAT impact that?

          • The other doug

            The University brings in $155 million per year in federal research grants.

            Atticus, should we continue?

      • Sanford222view

        Doubt Briscoe will miss a game. One of the basketball players had a similar violation and didn’t have to sit. I don’t think UGA suspends players for traffic violations.

        • DawgPhan

          I could be wrong. That wouldnt be new, but I was always under the impression that an arrest means sitting 10%. That is why the whole suspended license, emerging from alleys and not middle name arrest were so bad. They went public and the kids sat for 2 games (looks like Kirby will round down, CMR rounded up).

          But could be wrong and I would like to see a little less policy and a little more common sense in handling these types of issues.

  9. My grudge against Jimmy remains intact.

    • As does mine. You know he just loves these headlines. I say make him the headline. Let’s get a petition together for his removal.

      Let the AJC ask him “Why do you think so many people would sign a petition supporting your immediate removal?”

      Or wait–that might not be embarrassing enough to the school for the AJC to cover.

  10. reality check here

    “In Georgia — not just UGA — no driver’s license means jail ”

    That’s the headline. How does AJC come up with that when the article ends with this quote:

    “You could be given a ticket for that,” Croy said. “Our criminal justice system gives tremendous discretion to police officers, and that includes the discretion to take them in and fingerprint them for something like this. But they did not have to. They could absolutely have said: Here’s your court date.”

    I am a former police officer. My responsibilities focused on some of the most dangerous and violent areas of Atlanta. Violence can and does occur in Athens but by comparison it is a country club atmosphere.

    Judgment and discretion were some of the most important tools we used. I am not buying what the UGA police are selling and I do not see any logic in the AJC’s conclusions

    • Jared S.

      I wish newspapers could be fined for having headlines that aren’t factual. I wouldn’t want the government to fine them, but couldn’t there be an industry-funded watchdog group? And the funds collected could be used to prop up failing print news media? lol

      • 202dawg

        Same goes for TV stations that broadcast ‘NEWS’ when, in actuality, it is 80-90% opinion. The American public at-large is not smart enough to differentiate without it being done for them.

    • Will (The Other One)

      I think the AJC’s put 3x the work in defending reporting on Briscoe’s arrest. I know they don’t need too much manpower to cover the three thousand strong at Tech’s scrimmage, and it’s a slow news period for college football, but good grief.

    • Irwin R. Fletcher

      I thought this was the best quote…

      “As with all traffic arrests, officers usually have some discretion,” Pickard said. “The predominant factor to determine whether to arrest or not is governed by the likelihood and the ability of the subject to appear in court. Out-of-state drivers will require arrest to post a bond.”

      Is there really anyone in Athens that thinks a kid on full scholarship is going to flee the state to avoid traffic court?

    • Russ

      I doubt Seth writes the headline. Probably Shultz or Bradley. Seth’s article was pretty balanced, I thought.

  11. Okefenokee Dawg

    Would the UGA police’s action been the same if it had been the University President?

  12. PTC DAWG

    Not having a valid license and not having your DL on your person are not the same thing. Stupid is as stupid does in this case.

  13. HVL Dawg

    There’s finally a football coach who the community can fear.

  14. Normaltown Mike

    I’m a little disappointed that Kirby hasn’t already appointed one of those football non-coaching guys to “Director of License and Insurance”. I hope that this teaches him the lesson that no infraction is too small in Athens.

    I’m not kidding either.

    • DawgPhan

      good grief, not that I want to turn into another chat about CMR, but didnt he do that at one point when the license issue got so bad? Seems like I remember something like that, and the license issue did sort of go away for a while.

      • Normaltown Mike

        you might be right.

        but in either event this should be a walk-up call that Athens is not T-town, whatever the competing merits are of either.

        • DawgPhan

          no doubt.

          could be even why smart had a blind spot for it. He wasnt used to dealing with it because either Bama had someone on it, or the police helped out.

          Either way, you dont know what you dont know.

          • Well–if Kirby thinks the Open Records request law would help recruiting…getting rid of Williamson would help recruiting just as much if not more.

            You know he is a huge part of the negative recruiting pitch for every other SEC team. “If you are never going to make a mistake Athens might be the place for you. Here–we are a family and understand that mistakes happen. Our family won’t let a little mistake take you to jail or make front page news. We take care of each other here.”

            • DawgPhan

              I am sure it gets talked about. I remember, when Meyer was at Florida, reading an article that mentioned something like 10-15 players at UF had tickets for driving on a suspended license. At the time UGA was experiencing it’s own issue with that.

              Quick googling finds this article with CMR talking about suspended licenses and following up with traffic tickets.

              Also note the fact there was variation with the punishment. Vance doesnt get suspended though it is his second time, Cuff does miss time.

              http://savannahnow.com/sports/2009-10-29/georgia-lineman-vince-vance-has-legal-issue#

              Seems like at UF you would almost never miss time for a suspended license, probably only get a tickets and it could be handled quietly. At UGA you would be arrested, announced as such in the paper of record, and possibly miss playing time.

              I can see how that would be important to some people. I also know that college kids think they are bullet proof so why would they care what happens if you get caught.

              • Russ

                At UF (at least under Corch), a player only missed time if the victim died.

                • Actually died–the threat of death was no big deal.

                  • DawgPhan

                    You can’t even really say that.

                    Hernandez is thought to have murdered someone while at UF and I am not sure he missed time for it.

                    I think he did get the fake walking boot once he had failed several dozen drug test, but not for the murder.

              • I still think it has been too much of a black eye for waaaaay too long. Its just frustrating to read this shit every single week. I get that kids are going to screw up–but why is it the UGA PD think they have to throw the book at every single offense–regardless of the severity? A lot of this garbage is on Adams. He is gone–so why is Williamson still protected? Adams didn’t want us to call it the Cocktail party because it reflected poorly on the University–but the constant jokes about UGA practice being held at the county jail and the new uniform memes showing players in jail stripes reflect a totally positive image…Good call Mike!

      • That’s correct. It fell under Eason’s/ Van Halanger’s administrative roles. There was a string of no/expired/suspended license episodes so the staff started keeping up with the status of every players license. It seemed to work, so I’m sure it will be revisited.

    • THE PROCESS has gone off script (again)

  15. AusDawg85

    Hmmmm…”Kirby Smart has taken control…” for the new meme???

  16. Semper Fi Dawg

    how do you fail the test???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  17. One break he got was the cop let Bryant Gantt drive his car home instead of impounding it and letting the tow company get its cut of the action. Probably wouldn’t of happened with the ACCPD. Here’s where the discretion could have been used. Gantt was acting as the responsible authority figure, so the ticket should have been issued and Biscoe released to Gantts’ custody. Like someone said above, no way in hell the coaches would have him miss the court date. Common sense should have told the officer that.

    • This is not a “break” . Arizona v Gant 129 S.Ct . 1710 says that if there is a licensed driver at the scene there is no reason to search the car unless there may be fruits of some other crime in the car which the cop has articulable suspicion to believe he’ll find in said car, ( i.e. I smell pot).. You only impound now if there is no other driver or the car contains evidence.
      The break I would like to have seen is pull up next to the kid and tell him to fasten his friggin seat belt. For those who are not old enough to know or just forgot the legislature promised us when they past the mandatory seatbelt law that violation of this law would never be used as the underlying probable cause for other offenses I believe that promise lasted 1 to 2 years.

  18. BarneyDawg

    Didn’t Williamson get a recent judgement for wrongful dismissal of a subordinate employee who was upholding the actual law? He must have pictures of a lot of people ala J. Edgar Hoover. Meanwhile, true public safety suffers.

  19. WarD Eagle

    When I first moved to Cackalacky, I was pulled over for a minor moving violation. Since I still had an Alabama driver’s license, and Alabama was non-reciprocating state, I was cuffed and taken to visit the JP.

    The trooper apologized the entire way, but he didn’t really know who I was*, because Alabama didn’t share information. And, a moron sitting in the front seat of a trooper’s cruiser had recently tried to take the trooper’s gun and gotten himself shot/killed(?).

    It helped that my future BIL was a federal judge, but I was very much headed to the pokey for at least a brief visit.

    *Don’t you just love our ideas of freedom?

    • Dog in Fla

      It would have been a lot cooler if you had her in the car with you

      • shane#1

        How many miles are on Mudcat’s Impala? Damn thing should have been on the scrap heap years ago. CMR did not suspend for traffic arrests, except for DUIs, unless there were extenuating circumstances. I believe it was Ealey that was suspended for leaving the scene and driving without a license, but he had been told by the staff not to drive. Mouthing off at the cop would also cost you a game.

        • Dog in Fla

          I miss fun things like Mudcat’s vintage Impala and Washaun Ealey’s We Run the Parking Lot Adventures