By Becky Killian/Managing Editor
The drunk driving case against a former Whitley County jail employee was dismissed last week in error, according to Whitley County Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble.
Trimble has been named special prosecutor by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office in the case against Lloyd E. Davenport, 61.
Davenport was arrested May 9, 2010, by Williamsburg Police Officer Brandon White and charged with careless driving and driving under the influence.
The case was set to go to trial Dec. 7 in Whitley County District Court before Judge Fred White but court records indicate Whitley County Attorney Don Moses recused himself from the case. Then White ordered the case dismissed.
Court documents indicate that Paul Winchester, the former Whitley County attorney, failed to deliver evidence in the case to Davenport’s attorney, Jane Butcher.
Trimble said he plans to file motions in court today (Friday) that will include a signed certified mail receipt indicating the evidence was delivered to Butcher’s office and that the dismissal was based on an error. He will ask that the case be reinstated.
“We feel like we have the grounds to have the case reinstated and we will go from there,” Trimble said.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said he was told in August that Butcher hadn’t received the evidence, which is a video taken by the dash camera in the police cruiser when Davenport was arrested. Bird said he asked Winchester if the video had been delivered to Butcher and Winchester assured him it had.
Bird said he made another copy of the video and sent it by certified mail to Butcher’s office. He included a cover letter, indicating the case the video related to, why he was sending it and he also referenced his conversation with Winchester.
Bird said he was surprised to learn that the case against Davenport had been dismissed because when Moses recused himself — saying he was related to Davenport — the Commonwealth had no representation in the case so another court date should have been set.
Bird said arresting Officer Brandon White, who was in court on Dec. 7 for the case, said evidence had been delivered to Butcher. After White ordered the case dismissed, White tried to submit a copy of the letter indicating the delivery of the discovery, but Judge Fred White refused to enter it in the record. Brandon White was told to ask for a special prosecutor.
Although Bird said it isn’t the police officer’s duty to ask for a special prosecutor, he told Brandon White to call the Attorney General’s Office.
Bird also called the Attorney General’s Office.
Shelley Catharine Johnson, deputy communications director for the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office, said the appointment of Trimble to the case resulted from a call to that office by the Williamsburg Police Department.
When interviewed last summer for a story about the backlog of DUI cases in Whitley County, Bird cited Davenport’s case as one that had been repeatedly continued, forcing the arresting officer to make repeated appearances in court.
“I don’t understand what the big deal is on it. It’s a simple DUI,” Bird said after the dismissal.
Davenport’s arrest came after Brandon White saw him driving slowly and crossing the center line several times. After the stop, the citation states White noted “a strong smell” of alcohol on Davenport and that he had “red, glossy, bloodshot eyes.” The citation also states Davenport failed motion tests.
White recorded that Davenport refused a breathalyzer test. Davenport said “he would blow over the limit” if he did take the test, the citation states.
White also noted that he was told by Davenport that he (Brandon White) “would get what is coming to me” and that Davenport said he “would pay a visit” to White’s father, a comment White noted on the citation that he felt was a threat.
Davenport worked for the Whitley County Detention Center at the time of his arrest and continued to work there until late last year when he quit, according to Whitley County Jailer Ken Mobley.
While he worked for the jail, Mobley said Davenport supervised inmates who were picking up litter.
Although Mobley said Davenport didn’t transport inmates, Mobley did say Davenport drove a county vehicle and continued to do so after his arrest.
Bird also noted that Davenport’s license wasn’t suspended, as called for by Kentucky law in those cases where a driver refuses to submit to an alcohol or substance test.