Everybody’s a comedian.

By now, I assume you’ve heard that the underage drinking and fake ID charges against Jonathan Ledbetter have been dismissed.  (Although Chip Towers is reporting that it’s unlikely that will lead to Ledbetter’s suspension for the opener being changed.)

Anyway, what’s a little striking about the decision is that the prosecutor felt the need to explain in detail why the charges were dropped by his office.  It sounds like something straight out of an episode of Law and Order:

Athens-Clarke Solicitor General C.R. Chisholm said while the evidence shows that the 18-year old Ledbetter was intoxicated “we would not be able to overcome a motion to suppress in the case. So we would not have been able to present that evidence if it had gone to a trial.”

… At issue was evidence against Ledbetter that appeared to have been obtained illegally.

According to the incident report, the officer wrote: “I could see the Georgia Driver’s License protruding from his wallet. I retrieved the license and observed the male’s date of birth to be (redcated) 1997.”

Chisholm said the license was grabbed before Ledbetter was under arrest and had not yet even engaged in conversation.

“Due to Ledbetter’s inebriated state and stature I asked him to step away from the entrance and I took possession of his wallet finding a fraudulent photo copy Georgia’s Driver’s License with Ledbetter’s information but with a date of birth of (redacted) 1992,” the incident report said.

Chisholm said a judge would not allow that evidence to be used in a trial.

Lenny Briscoe’s turning over in his grave.  Anyway, that leads to the comment of the day.

Chisholm watched video of the incident from the body camera of the Athens-Clarke County police officer and determined that the prosecution would have lost the case, based on two Georgia Supreme Court Cases, because of how the information determining Ledbetter’s age was obtained.

“It would have been a waste of court time to put that up,” Chisholm said. “I know how these cases look. Sometimes folks will think, ‘Oh, well, he’s a football player, he’s getting a break.’ The fact is this is one where it was a set of facts and we were not going to be able to survive a motion to suppress.”

Sometimes folks will think, ‘Oh, well, he’s a football player, he’s getting a break.’ ? In Athens, Georgia?  C’mon, mane.

Either that is eleven-on-a-scale-of-ten level sarcasm, or we’re being seriously trolled by a public servant.

 

36 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

36 responses to “Everybody’s a comedian.

  1. Jared S.

    A quick Google search reveals that Solicitor General Chisholm attended UVA and Syracuse. So I’m guessing he’s not being sarcastic.

  2. Puffdawg

    I’m just surprised to discover students in Athens have rights. Was that a part of Senate Bill 323?

  3. 81Dog

    Chisholm is absolutely right. The law is clear an officer cant just start digging in your pockets while he’s talking to you. That is clearly a search of your person. Ledbetter wasn’t under arrest, so when the cop fished into Ledbetter’s pockets, the cop was performing an illegal search: he had no search warrant, and there was no exception to the warrant requirement that would excuse the cop from getting one at that point. Nice to know the 4th Amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures still is recognized by competent lawyers.

  4. WarD Eagle

    I realize it’s of reasonable public interest, but it would be nice to see a DA not publicly accuse a kid of being public inebriated if he isn’t taking it to trial.

    Regardless of our personal beliefs or ideas of his guilt, it seems that we could cut the kid some slack in the public eye.

    And, yes, I know that asking a DA to not to grandstand is like asking water to not be wet.

    • PTC DAWG

      Agree totally….

    • 81Dog

      It’s an elected office, so I guess he was just trying to make sure the voters knew it was someone else’s fault that these lawless utes can’t be prosecuted. Still grandstanding, but looking out for number one with elected officials is usually job one, n’est pas?

      • Macallanlover

        Do voters in Clarke County actually approve of the “over the top” enforcement of nitpicky laws? I would think as a property owner and someone who is concerned more about safety of my family the idea of a college student with a beer, expired license, possession of a water gun, etc., being charged would have me downtown pointing out bigger areas of need for law enforcement’s time.

        • Probably not, but these generate revenue. Due to Clarke County being one of the poorest counties in GA, they’ve got to make up that revenue somehow. Since property taxes don’t generate enough revenue in the county as other counties typically generate, discretion is not used when it comes to enforcing the law.

          • JTP

            It’s also the smallest county in the state, with a large part of that property not on the tax rolls (UGA)

          • Tim In Sav

            The “poorest counties in the State”…..are you kidding me?

            • RandallPinkFloyd

              I’m not kidding at all. From a property tax perspective per capita, it IS the poorest county in the state. The University owns so much land that is non-taxable that they have to get creative to get revenue. Hence why Terrapin threatened to move to South Carolina at one point if Clarke County didn’t stop busting their balls on tax increases.

        • 81Dog

          I don’t know how much they approve of nitpicky enforcement, but it seems that prosecutors and judges always worry about being tagged as “soft on crime” by a challenger. So, when one of them can point the finger (especially, as in this case, with complete justification) at someone else in the chain of the case, you can pretty much count on them doing it. DAs love to present cases they want to dump to a grand jury; grand jury proceedings are confidential (other than the result), and they frequently just say “Hey, the grand jury decided not to indict the case,” when one of the reasons that happened was because the prosecutor laid out the case and basically suggested to them it probably shouldn’t be pursued. Cops (who aren’t elected, but still like good PR) will complain about prosecutors blowing cases, or judges letting criminals off the hook, DAs will complain about cops blowing cases or judges ruling against them, and judges will complain that cases are poorly constructed and/or presented. All of them will point the finger at a jury, should a jury acquit someone. And all of them may feel free to blame a defense lawyer for bamboozling the jury. This is not to say none of them have a point. Sometimes, one of the links in the chain did a bad job. Once in a while, someone may actually be wrongfully charged, but good luck getting any of them to consider that it actually happened in one of THEIR cases.

          The beauty of the adversary system isn’t that it’s perfect, it’s that it works better than any other system anyone has ever tried to implement. Me, I’m not looking to try out trial by combat.

        • The Bruce

          I know I don’t. In fact, it pisses me off to no end.
          I had a friend a few years ago who wanted to have a party with some bands at her house here in town. So she went and paid the county for a permit to hold such an event. The cops still shut the party down and wrote her a 200 dollar ticket for violating the noise ordinance. So she had to pay twice for having a party in a town where REM and the B-52s got their start playing parties.
          And that’s just one of many, many examples…

    • Russ

      Dammit WarD, we’ll have none of your logical arguments here! You’re an Auburn fan after all.

    • lakedawg

      Does enabling a kid for being intoxicated teach him the right lesson?

  5. ugadawgguy

    I don’t think that’s sarcasm or trolling. I think it’s a genuine lack of awareness of his surroundings. As others have noted, Chisholm’s apparently not from around here.

    On the other hand, it would take a certain degree of, um, subterranean living not to have at least a passing familiarity with the vast differences between football players’ public lives in Athens vs. every other college town I’m aware of.

    • Navin Johnson

      There’s more to the story than where he went to school. CR has worked in that office at least 15 years – first as an assistant, then as the elected Solicitor. Also, his wife use to work in the Athletic Department. So he very much knows the dynamic. None off that matters, though — he’s simply making the right call based on the facts and the law.

  6. 3rdandGrantham

    As far as I’m concerned, here is the key quote:

    “Chisholm watched video of the incident from the body camera of the Athens-Clarke County police officer and determined that the prosecution would have lost the case”

    Thank God for police body cameras — seriously. I find it ironic that many police officers despise it when they are recorded (and even wrongly threaten you with arrest for doing so), along with various police departments that are resisting the effort to equip their force with body cameras. Of course, that begs the rather logical question — if the police are acting in good faith and not doing anything wrong, shouldn’t they welcome the idea of body cameras?

  7. Hogbody Spradlin

    What folks will think that? In Athens?

    • 81Dog

      Clearly, Kirby Smart’s presence in Butts Mehre is causing ACC government to bend the knee. I can’t think of any other reason. He’s using mind control to bend them all to his will, unlike the former staff, who clearly was too incompetent to develop the telepathic skills a championship program requires.

  8. Fitz

    Butt is reporting the suspension will stand. Such completely disregards Ledbetter’s due process rights. How can an arrest–made without probable cause–be justification to suspend a player? Jere should understand that.

  9. Prosticutor

    Reading this reminds me of why I flipped to the other side about 7 years ago. Judges rubber stamping prosecutors that rubber stamped cops. Nothing more than cash register justice.

  10. Debby Balcer

    I read the suspension will stand. He broke the rules but with no charges how is thst right. I am sure he id not the only underage player on the team to drink this spring.

  11. Nothing like a Solicitor being SMART, LOL.

  12. 69Dawg

    I’m sorry but how does a cop think Ledbetter is not at least 30 years old. The cop knew who he was or knew some of the guys he was with. Nobody in their right mind would have looked at him and said, he’s not 21.

  13. Debby Balcer

    Someone should use the FOIA act to see the body camera footage.

  14. whb209

    He has been punished enough…