Prosecuting Attorney Faces Misconduct Allegations
COLUMBIA - Fulton Public Defender Justin Carver made a motion Friday to dismiss probation violation charges and ask for a special prosecuting attorney for his client Tabisha Franklin because of prosecutorial misconduct.
Franklin was serving probation on assault charges from 2009 when she recevied a violation for driving without a license. The ticket was originally going through the municipal court, but when Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight saw Franklin's name pop up, he asked the city prosecutor to drop the charge so he could take it on as a felony.
When Franklin and Carver showed up to a probation hearing last month, officers took Franklin into custody for the felony charge. Franklin and Carver were unaware the offense had changed to a felony and that there was a warrant for her arrest. Carver says before Franklin was taken to the Boone County Jail, officers took her to the Columbia Police Department for questioning on the Aaron Hobson murder. Even though Carver has been representing Franklin, he was not informed the Columbia Police Department was going to question her.
Knight says information from witnesses proves Franklin tampered with the gun used to murder Hobson.
Carver believes Knight upped the charge to a felony as a way to punish Franklin for not talking about the Hobson murder, and as a way to get her to talk.
"I think the evidence would have shown here clearly today, that Mr. Knight was clearly punishing her for refusing to talk to him. Mr. Knight was clearly using coercive means to encourage her to talk more," said Carver.
But Knight disagrees, he says he did nothing wrong and he chose to charge Franklin with a felony because he feels due to her previous assault charges that she is a threat to the community.
"I am legally entitled to take those actions that we took. We have done absolutely nothing improper in this case," said Knight.
Judge Daniels did not take into consideration Carver's misconduct allegations, she said that would be up to the judge who hears Franklin's driving without a license case in January.
Carver says he will continue to fight the prosecutorial misconduct allegations.