CHARGES AGAINST WATSON DISMISSED

Posted 1/11/18

The case on all counts against Sheriff Eric Watson has been dismissed, according to a press release this morning from District Attorney James B. Dunn.

Dunn was appointed District Attorney Pro …

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CHARGES AGAINST WATSON DISMISSED

Posted

The case on all counts against Sheriff Eric Watson has been dismissed, according to a press release this morning from District Attorney James B. Dunn.

Dunn was appointed District Attorney Pro Tem by order of the Circuit Court for Bradley County on July 1, 2016, due to a conflict declared by District Attorney General Steve Crump.

Dunn said he “will not proceed further with this case. Even though there may be technical violations of the law, the spirit of the law seeks to punish fraudulent conduct that deprives the stat of Tennessee of its lawful taxes and fees. Since Sheriff Watson rectified this failure prior to the seeking of the presentation, this case will be closed with a dismissal of the case on all counts.”

On July 19, 2017, the results of an investigation presented to the Bradley County grand jury, which returned a presentment against Watson charging him with six counts of violating T.C.A. Section 55-5-116. This law makes it a criminal offense to hold a document, such as an automobile title, that has been altered or forged. This presentation was superseded by a new presentation to fix a drafting discrepancy in the original presentation.

The state of Tennessee filed discover in late September 2017.

“The crux of the state’s case revolved around the state’s contention that Sheriff Watson, through his pursuit of the sale of automobiles purchased in Florida and brought to Tennessee for sale, made alterations to the titles of these automobiles and failed to pay certain fees and taxes required by law for the sale of automobiles purchased out of state,” Dunn explained.

On Dec. 29, 2017, counsel for Sheriff Watson provided documents showing the payment of the taxes and fees on Dec. 13, 2016. Dunn said his office had verified the authenticity of the records. He said since they were not in his office prior to Dec. 29, 2017, they were not presented to the grand jury.

The Office of the Controller for the State of Tennessee completed it audit of the Sheriff’s Office in early December 2017, and made no findings of any discrepancies.

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