Update: Superior Court judge declares dismissal of Davenport's charges 'null and void'

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 13, 2013 

Alicia Davenport of the Muscogee County Marshal's Office.

MIKE HASKEY — mhaskey@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

After an apparent miscommunication resulted in all charges against Deputy Marshal Alicia Davenport being dismissed in Municipal Court Friday morning, a Superior Court judge issued an order saying the lower court judge overstepped his bounds and declared his dismissal “null and void.”

Davenport was arrested Thursday and charged with felony Violation of Oath by a Public Officer and misdemeanor Reckless Conduct in connection with an October incident involving a Columbus Police officer.

She was released on a recognizance bond, which negates the need for a preliminary hearing. But Davenport and her attorneys requested a hearing, which is her right, according to Municipal Court Judge Steven Smith.

Because no one from the prosecution side appeared at the hearing Friday morning, Smith dismissed the case and the charges.

“This is not any kind of challenge to the authority of the superior court,” Smith said. “But nobody showed up for the state, so I had no choice but to dismiss the case.

“I don’t dismiss too many cases, but I do when there is no prosecution. That’s what I did today.”

Superior Court Judge Frank Jordan, who signed the arrest warrants against Davenport, disagreed. Friday afternoon, he filed an order stating that because bond had been executed, the case was remanded to Superior Court, so Smith had no authority to dismiss the charges.

“Upon execution of bonds and cases being bound over to Superior Court, and that all actions taken on Dec. 13, 2013 in Municipal Court is without jurisdiction and any ruling or motion(s) taken are null and void,” the order reads.

Davenport’s arrest stemmed from an incident in late October, when Davenport was the first to respond to a traffic accident at Forest Road and Wellborn Drive. Shortly after, CPD motor squad Officer Doug Dunlap also responded and began taking information from drivers and witnesses.

What then unfolded is described in a GBI statement on the incident:

“Davenport approached the Columbus Officer and told him that she had already collected much of the information. Davenport’s perception was that the Columbus officer did not acknowledge what she said and believed she was being ignored.

“Davenport stated she became angry and went to her patrol car to leave the scene. The Columbus officer saw this and began walking around the front of Davenport’s patrol car to speak with her. Davenport continued to leave the scene and drove through the path of the Columbus officer forcing him to quickly move out of the way to prevent himself from being seriously injured.”

A Columbus Police Department incident report describes the encounter similarly:

“Officer Dunlap had to jump out of the way of her patrol vehicle. In doing so, Officer Dunlap stated that the right front bumper of the Marshal’s Department vehicle bumped/brushed against his right leg two inches above the knee.”

After the incident, Marshal Greg Countryman asked the GBI to investigate. A GBI release said that its investigation concluded that “probable cause existed to believe that Deputy Marshal Davenport committed the criminal offenses …”

Jordan issued arrest warrants Thursday and Davenport was notified and agreed to turn herself in.

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