published Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Summerville, Ga., city manager won’t discipline police captain

Audio clip

Comments from Summerville Police Officer Tucker

A Summerville, Ga., police captain who was caught on tape telling a criminal defendant to pay an illegal court cost will not be disciplined.

City Manager Russell Thompson said Thursday that Capt. Harold Tucker was simply doing his job. Tucker serves as a liaison between the police department and the Chattooga County State Court.

Sometimes he works out plea deals on criminal cases that unfolded in Summerville, and he recommends these deals to State Solicitor Sanford “Buddy” Hill. The solicitor decides whether to accept this plea deal and then forwards the case to Judge Sam Finster.

In the end, Thompson said, Tucker was not the one who accepted a court payment for an unprosecuted case — a practice that was illegal in Georgia but common in Chattooga County State Court.

“In his capacity,” Thompson said in a statement, “Captain Tucker had no authority to dispose of cases, only make recommendations. Only the judge can dismiss or nolle prosse cases.”

Check the Times Free Press on Friday for more on this story.

Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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