Mayor pleads guilty to misdemeanor

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 21, 2008

LINDEN &8212; Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing governmental operations in Marengo County Circuit Court Thursday morning. The original indictment was downgraded from theft of property in the first degree to the lesser charge.

Just four days before she was scheduled for trial, Williamson and her defense attorney reached an agreement with the district attorney, which was heard in court Thursday.

After waiving her rights to an appeal by pleading guilty, Williamson read the following statement before the court:

Email newsletter signup

After hearing her plea and waiving her right to pre-sentencing, presiding judge Eddie Hardaway sentenced Williamson to a six-month jail sentence, which was suspended to a six-month term of unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to pay a $500 fine and court costs, in addition to restitution, which has already been paid by the mayor.

After leaving the courtroom Williamson &8212; accompanied by her husband Wayne and attorney Steve Shaw &8212; did not give any verbal statement, but did offer this written statement to the press:

When asked about the outcome of the proceedings, District Attorney Greg Griggers said he was satisfied with the agreement. Griggers said his primary objective, which he feels he accomplished, was to get a public acknowledgement from the mayor of what her actions were and represent that to the court.

Although this misdemeanor charge is classified differently than the charges she was first indicted on and plead not guilty to, Griggers said it fits perfectly with her actions.

The Code of Alabama defines the charge as intentionally

obstructing, impairing or hindering the administration of law or governmental function, or intentionally preventing a public servant from performing a governmental function.

According to Griggers, the case is closed in respect to his office. Any other legal actions would only be initiated by the mayor or her attorney.

Griggers also said Williamson&8217;s case was handled in accordance with other cases he has tried involving first degree theft and first time offenders. He said he had chosen to plea bargain numerous cases in lieu of a trial due to the circumstances, and the mayor&8217;s case was treated no differently. Furthermore, he pointed out in many cases restitution had not already been paid back, as the $15,672 was by the mayor.

Thursday afternoon, Williamson was back in Demopolis to preside over the city council meeting. She made no comments on her appearance in court and also made no statements regarding the future of her position with the city.