| Municipal judge presides over lengthy
By Emily Williams
After the tedious trial Wednesday of a man charged with driving under the influence of a substance other than alcohol, Batesville Municipal Judge Bill McKenzie acknowledged that his ruling was the result of a tough decision.
"This is a troubling case from a proof standpoint," he said, ruling that Roy Jaudon, 13590 Hwy. 35 South, Batesville, was not guilty of the offense.
Jaudon was represented by defense attorney Helen Kelly for the DUI-other charge and for a no proof of insurance charge.
The "no proof" charge was dismissed instantly after Kelly proved he had insurance.
Lt. John Miller told Judge McKenzie that around 9:40 a.m. August 1, he was called to the scene of an accident on "Hwy. 6 East entering the Wal-Mart Shopping complex."
"I asked Jaudon and other passengers in the cars about their injuries, then I proceeded to investigate the scene," said Miller.
Lt. Miller said when he asked Jaudon what caused the accident, Jaudon couldn’t tell him.
"I have spoken to him previously and he was well-spoken and at the scene he was mumbling and there was a dramatic difference in speech."
Miller also said Jaudon admitted taking some pain killers earlier that morning.
He takes the medications for medical problems including a hip disease and nerve damage in his back, Jaudon later testified.
"He stumbled into traffic as I went to talk to the other passengers and the second time I had to sit him on the curb because I was scared he would walk back into traffic," Miller told the judge.
Defense attorney Kelly asked Lt. Miller, "Did he appear to be impaired? You don’t know if it was over-the-counter pain killers or a narcotic?"
"Do you know he has seizures?" Kelly asked.
"He refused medical treatment," Lt. Miller said. "If he would have received medical assessment I would have known he had medical conditions," said Lt. Miller.
Jaudon testified that he was diagnosed with seizures in 2001 and had a seizure July 26 at Hardees.
"I made an appointment with my neurologist," said Jaudon.
But Jaudon never made it to his appointment due to the wreck.
The city’s prosecuting attorney Parker Still said, "He shouldn’t be driving anyway if he knows he has seizures."
Still added, "By testimony from Lt. Miller and admitting to taking pain killers the night before and the morning of the wreck, he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
As Jaudon was on the stand he admitted he had taken five 10 mg. Lortabs (pain killers) that morning and two the night before and said he wasn’t impaired.
"I have been taking these medications since 2000."
The judge said, "DUI-other are always hardest for the court to decide because it is difficult to establish proof."
"It is difficult to punish someone for a medical condition, but how do we protect the public if he does have seizures? He drove to court today."
The judge said he would have felt better if Jaudon said he wouldn’t drive anymore due to his condition.
Judge McKenzie found the defendant "not guilty" but said he wasn’t happy either way.
Attorney Kelly mentioned to the judge after the ruling that Jaudon was aware that he doesn’t need to drive anymore.
Karen Hester, 212 Oakridge, Batesville, entered a guilty plea to DUI-other by driving while she was medicated on prescription Klonopin (nerve medication).
Hester’s sister spoke up and said, "We have a sister who had a bad accident and Karen has been on Klonopin for her nerves and she was going to get some food for our sister."
Hester expressed remorse and said she was stopped for not having a tag.
"When we are under the influence we don’t need to be on the road," explained the judge.
She was fined $726 and enrolled in driving school to help reduce the length of her license suspension.
Stop sign violation
A case which involved a stop sign violation ended with Alice Pitcock, 1067 Carlisle Rd., Courtland, saying, "I was here last time and I don’t feel that I am guilty, but I will pay the fine ($156) because y’all will find me guilty anyway."
"I don’t know anything about it," the judge responded.
Domestic violence-simple assault
Affiant Amber Pettit told the judge that her husband Dean Pettit, 409 Tocowa Rd., Courtland, assaulted her while she was at Tri-Lakes Hospital with her son who was a patient there. She said the child had an i.v. in his arm and she was trying to rock him to sleep when she asked Dean Pettit "to turn down the t.v. so my son could go to sleep and he (Dean) said I was running my mouth and kicked me in the leg."
The judge asked Pettit, "did you go to jail?"
Pettit responded, "yes."
"Well, did you learn a lesson?" the judge asked.
Amber spoke up and said, "He said he played cards the whole time (he was in jail) and had fun."
Pettit was fined $355.
Holly Bolen Smith, 118 Dickey Dr., Batesville, admitted hitting Steven Smith with her fist and grabbing him by his throat at the Chevron station.
"I wanted to say I am sorry," said Smith.
"We are in the process of getting a divorce."
"Let’s learn something and not let this happen again. Good luck and I hope you get your problems straight," the judge said.
She was fined $355
Jeremy Parttridge, 103 Johnson St., Batesville, had a domestic violence-simple assault charge dismissed after the affiant, Officer Charles Tindall, failed to appear.
Kiffyni Houston, 181 Alred, Batesville, had a simple assault charge dismissed after the affiant, Paris Green, failed to appear to prosecute.
Defendant Latoya Fondren, 20 Earnestine Turner, Sardis, and affiant Paris Green failed to appear to answer simple assault charges. The case was dismissed.
Contempt of court
Elizabeth Pinkston, Tocowa Rd., Courtland, was released on her own recognizance after Pinkston told the judge she could sell her car to pay for her old fines of $1,870 that have been due since January 2004.
"I just got a car and house and got my feet on the ground," said Pinkston.
Her brother supported her, saying, "I can get her to work and we can sell the car."
The judge told Pinkston to come back Wednesday with the money or she will serve 90 days and still owe the fine.
The judge continued the case of Timeka Johnson, 4429 Old Panola, Batesville, charged with contempt of court for old fines of $609 due since December 2005.
"I paid the fine in February," said Johnson.
She said she couldn’t find her receipts, but she could look again.
Renee Hubbard, municipal court clerk, had records that Johnson had paid $265 in June 2005, but had no other records proving she paid the rest.
"I don’t want you to pay twice," the judge said.
McKenzie told Hubbard to double check her records and had the case continued for one week.
Russell Fondren, 1269 Tom Cooper Rd., Batesville, paid his fines of $760 that have been due since March 2005 in full prior to court.
Stacy Pruett, 218-J Broadway St., Batesville, entered the city’s work release program for 20 days instead of paying old fines of $780 that have been due since April 2006.
The city’s work release program is an option for defendants who cannot pay their fines.
Misty Loftis, 173 Henry Heafner Rd., Sardis, faced contempt of court-old fines of $432 that have been due since May 2006.
The contempt charges were for fines for two counts of no child restraint.
"Well, what do you want to do?" asked the judge.
"I can’t work it off because I am pregnant," she answered.
"Part of this is to learn how to straighten this out," he said.
The judge told her to sit down and think about what she was going to do.
Loftis called her husband during court and he brought her the money to pay the fines.
Eric Smith, 114 Dora St., Batesville, had old fines of $418 that have been due since April 2006.
The docket stated that this was the second warrant issued to get him to show up for court.
"Can I work it off?" asked Smith.
Court clerk Renee Hubbard told the judge he has been assigned the work program in the past and never showed up.
"We are not going to hear this case again!" said the judge.
"If you don’t work every day you will serve 90 days in county jail!"
Alexander Ray, Hwy. 51 South, Courtland, had old fines of $2,429 that have been due since April 2005.
"I’m working now and I can pay it off in 90 days," said Ray.
Since Ray has a suspended license, the judge told him to sell his car to pay the fines.
"I have a son and one on the way and I might need the car."
"Well if you don’t have every red cent paid in 30 days you will serve six months in the county jail!" the judge said.
Eddie L. Fondren, 311 Greenbriar, Courtland, entered a guilty plea to DUI refusal, no driver’s license, no proof of insurance, but entered a "not guilty" plea to possession of paraphernalia by having a crack pipe in the vehicle he was driving. He was fined $1,590 for the other charges.
He will have a trial Wednesday for the paraphernalia charge.
Malcolm Benson, 124 Martinez, Batesville, had a petit larceny charge dismissed after the affiant, Noletha Jackson, failed to appear.
John Roberts, 240 Marlin Dr., Slidell, La., paid his cash fine of $659 in full prior to court for possession of paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
Ellis Hyatt, who said his address was in Corinth, said he was riding the freight train and was hitchhiking when he got charged with public drunk at Weaver’s Auto.
He served five days in jail and the judge credited the sentence toward his fine and released him.
Randy A. Brassell, 9718 Hwy. 51 South, Courtland, was fined $356 for driving while license suspended.
Mary Talbert, 309 Arizona Batesville, had an expired license charge dismissed after she provided a valid license.
"In the old days they used to send notice and I just tell everyone on their birthday to get their license renewed," said McKenzie.
Johnny B. Woods, 1291 Tom Cooper Rd., Batesville, was fined $184 for expired tag.
"Park that car until you get your tag," the judge said.
Terrance O. Morgan, 14989 Eureka Rd., Courtland, had a no proof of insurance charge dismissed and was fined $156 for a stop sign violation.
Lydia Allie Dungan, 214 College St., Batesville, was fined $281 for no driver’s license.
"I have my permit, but I was going to school to pick up my sister and go home," Dungan said.
Her step-father said, "It’s our fault because we (his wife and he) both work, but I just wanted to keep it off her record."
"The law applies to you and me," the judge said.
Daniel Lee Burns, 614 Carlisle, Courtland, was fined $1,070 for no proof of insurance, loud music ordinance violation and driving while his license is suspended.
Tadrez Q. Washington, 310 Quitman Ave., Crowder, had a driving while license suspended charge continued.
"I paid a fine in Sardis," said Washington.
"Well, it could just be a reinstatement fee," McKenzie said.
Earnest Lee Gleaton, 180 Gleaton Rd., Pope, was fined $512 for driving while license suspended and running a stop sign.