Five Guilty Of Violating Probation
KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor
Four persons pled guilty to Violation of Probation and one person was found guilty of the charge in Cannon County Circuit Court on Monday, Nov. 21.
Chancellor Robert E. Corlew presided over the court session, which marked the first appearance of new Assistant District Attorney General Nathan Nichols in that role in a Cannon County courtroom.
Nichols is a Cannon County resident, former deputy clerk in the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, a former county commissioner, and a recent graduate of the Nashville School of Law.
The only case on Monday’s docket on which Assistant DA Nichols and Public Defender Ken McKnight did not reach a plea deal involved Robert Michael Mason.
Mason was charged with violating his probation following a June arrest on a charge of DUI. Mason has requested a jury hear the case.
In defending Mason on the VOP charge, McKnight contended that it was not fair to hold him accountable prior to the outcome of the DUI case. He asked for a continuance, which Chancellor Corlew denied.
Woodbury Police Patrolman Brent Brock, the arresting officer, testified that when he stopped Mason on June 13 of this year, Mason did not adequately perform standard field sobriety tests.
Patrolman Brock said that based on his experience as an officer he felt Mason “was under the influence of some type of drug.” The officer said he did not smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage on Mason.
Mason, who suffers from psychological disorders and takes medication, had returned from the hospital earlier on the day of the incident, testified his mother, Imogene Mason.
Michael Mason refused to submit to a blood test following his arrest on suspicion of DUI, which is a violation of the state’s Implied Consent law.
Assistant DA Nichols, in summarizing the state’s case, said, “I think we (state) have met our burden of proof. It is more than reasonable to conclude that Mr. Mason was on something that night and shouldn’t have been operating a motor vehicle.”
Public Defender McKnight countered by stating, “Something was just not right (with Mason) that night but it wasn’t necessarily DUI. He wasn’t in the right frame of mind that day. He (Officer Brock) had probable cause to make an arrest, but we need more than probable cause here today.”
Chancellor Corlew ruled in favor of the state and found Mason guilty of violation of probation, citing his refusal to submit to the blood test as the main reason. Chancellor Corlew set sentencing for Dec. 19.
Chancellor Corlew also granted the state's motion to prohibit Mason from operating a motor vehicle until his next court appearance, but denied its request to have Mason banned from from government buildings in Cannon County during that time.
Nichols was substituting for Assistant DA Trevor Lynch, who was unavailable Monday due to a scheduling conflict.
In other cases Monday:
• Brady Cunningham pled guilty to violation of probation. He was ordered to serve 40 days in the Cannon County Jail and his probation period was extended for 2 years.
• Wesley Scott pled guilty to VOP. He was ordered to serve 90 days in the county jail and his probation period was extended for 10 months, 2 days.
• Terry Johnson pled guilty to VOP. He received a 90-day jail sentence and his probation period was extended for 15 months.
• Crystal McMahon pled guilty to VOP. She was ordered to serve her entire 3-year sentence.
• James Barrett was granted his request for an expungement.
• Theresa Certain petition for modification of court fines was accepted.