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Murphy doesn't want county officials to fix ticket

By Sheryl Marsh
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2437

Morgan County District 3 Commissioner Kevin Murphy said he's not into the ticket-fixing business. Instead, he wants his day in court.

Murphy made the statement after receiving a District Court judge's order Wednesday, which allows him to agree or disagree with a motion the district attorney filed to drop a ticket that deputies gave him Nov. 4.

"My primary concern is to prove my innocence and show to the citizens of this county that I don't want anyone, the sheriff, the district attorney or judges to show me favor," Murphy said. "I'll go to court like others. Regardless if I win or lose, I have to pursue this to the end of the road."

Murphy went to check on paving that had come apart on Morgan County 55 during the early morning hours of Nov. 4. A flashing caution light was missing so Murphy went to a service station where he asked a Falkville police officer for help. He said the deputies were there, too, and overheard him telling the officer he needed law enforcement presence to slow traffic at the affected spot.

Murphy said the Falkville officer followed him back to the area and so did the deputies. He said he turned onto Hunter Francis Road, a gravel side road leading to one house, and that's when the deputies approached him and detained him before issuing a ticket. He said one deputy was caustic, referring to him as "Mr. Commissioner Kevin Murphy."

The Falkville officer stayed at the site about 45 minutes, Murphy said. The commissioner said he got a county truck equipped with a flashing light and remained until 6 a.m.

Both district judges, David Breland and David Bibb, recused themselves from the case, which is set for hearing Jan. 1.

District Attorney Bob Burrell filed a motion Monday asking the court to dismiss the ticket, which carries a fine of $145. He said he did so on a request from Sheriff Greg Bartlett.

Peace talks between Murphy, Bartlett and County Attorney Bill Shinn failed when Murphy said "no thanks" to an offer for a truce.

Murphy said Bartlett's deputies were retaliating for cuts the commission made to the sheriff's budget.

Bartlett contended that he had nothing to do with the deputies giving Murphy the traffic ticket and the deputies were not retaliating against Murphy.

Murphy considered charging the deputies with a Class A misdemeanor for interfering with a public official doing his job, but said he decided not to do so. However, he said, the County Commission will deal with the matter.

It will probably be next week before Murphy can file his disagreement with dropping the ticket.

Judge Bibb did, however, state in an order he issued Wednesday that the district attorney must file another motion to clarify whether he wants to dismiss the ticket with or without prejudice. After Murphy gets the documents he may notify the district attorney of his intentions to go to court.

"As soon as I get the documents from the district attorney I will file the proper document to disagree with dismissal of the ticket," Murphy said. "I'm only going by Greg Bartlett's recommendation from the first meeting we had, when he said it (ticket) needs to play itself out."

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