11/16/2006Tennessee: Speed Trap Mayor Back on the Job
A judge found the case against the speed trap mayor of Coopertown, Tennessee was not sufficiently proved.
The Chancery Court for Robertson County, Tennessee yesterday reinstated Danny Crosby as mayor of Coopertown. Crosby had been suspended after a number of residents signed a petition to remove Crosby from office because he lowered speed limits to increase revenue. Witnesses testified this week that Crosby had also singled out political enemies, non-residents, minorities and U.S. soldiers for police attention.
The court found that the mayor did indeed instruct police to "ticket soldier boys" and target Hispanics, non-residents and enemies but the court did not have evidence that the police carried out these orders. For that reason, Judge Laurence M. McMillan, Jr. suggested that voters were the ones who should decide the question.
"This court has heard many instances of conduct attributable to the defendant which the state offers to support this court's exercise of its authority to remove him from office," McMillan wrote. "These instances could be labeled as and could be said to range from bigotry, sexism or utter foolishness to insidious discrimination or the purposeful violation of the constitutional rights of others. How much of the facts of this case can be resolved as small town politics and how much may constitute the actual misuse of power is a decision to be made by this court, but in the future may be made by the voters of the city of Coopertown."
McMillan ordered Crosby reinstated immediately. The full text of the ruling is available in a 257k PDF file at the source link below.
Correction: A previous version of this article misidentified District Attorney General John Carney who served as prosecutor in this case.