Mayor pardons repeat offender

Published 5:30 pm Saturday, July 12, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Mayor Cecil P. Williamson pardoned repeat offender James E. Bailey from his municipal convictions, effective July 1.

Williamson said Bailey had only two brushes with city police, but a check of municipal court records showed 11 charges and nine convictions on Bailey’s record from 1992 through 2003.

Bailey, 36, of 401 South Earl Street, Demopolis, has been convicted of speeding, third-degree theft of property, driving with an expired tag, driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, two counts of driving with a suspended license and possession of marijuana.

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A separate charge of driving with a suspended license was dismissed, as was a 1992 harassment charge.

Williamson issued the pardon after receiving a plea from Fred Moore, pastor of the Christian Chapel, to help get Bailey into public housing. With his criminal record, Bailey was ineligible for the move.

But Williamson&8217;s research was inaccurate, as a five-minute search for criminal records at the municipal courthouse showed.

Williamson&8217;s pardon is not a voting issue for the council. By law, all she has to do after issuing the pardon is to inform the council.

Other members of the council voiced their displeasure over Williamson&8217;s decision.

Councilman Melvin Yelverton agreed with Cooley.

A mayor&8217;s pardon is applicable to municipal charges only, and it cannot be rescinded.