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.