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Questions Arise Regarding “Court Costs” in Lieu of Prosecution in Chattooga County

Summerville - Harold Tucker picThe Chattanooga Times Free Press reported over the weekend that a Summerville Police Captain encouraged a defendant to pay “court costs”, instead of having his case prosecuted – the problem is – that’s against the law.

The newspaper’s on-line article includes a recording that the defendant made of Captain Harold Tucker saying that the State Court Solicitor Sanford “Buddy” Hill would decline to prosecute the case if the defendant paid $1,000 in “court costs.”   The practice, which was routine in Chattooga County State Court until recently, is now illegal under Georgia law.

22 year old Koran Dyer of Summerville, said that he didn’t know that he was being asked to take part in something that was illegal when he was told that he could pay a fine and not have his case prosecuted. 

Under Georgia law, no one can be asked, or forced, to pay a fine without a trial and conviction.

Reportedly, the Summerville Police Department has refused to comment on that audio recording.

The practice of declining to prosecute a case, if that defendant paid “court costs” – recently came under scrutiny and State Court Judge Sam Finster says Chattooga County State Court isn’t doing it any longer.

Both Finster and Hill have said they didn’t know the practice was illegal.

You can read the entire article and listen to the audio recording of Captain Tucker here:

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/oct/12/police-captain-told-defendant-pay-illegal-court-co/?local

(AM1180/Chattanooga Times Free Press)

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