Calls for Anniston Municipal Court reform

Crime

ANNISTON, Ala., (WIAT) — Anniston city councilor, Ben Little, is calling for municipal court reform after some residents complained about widespread abuses within the system.

Over the years, an untold number of people show up at Anniston’s municipal court. On Wednesday, over two hundred defendants were on the docket. Most to be judged for speeding and other ordinance violations. But, the tables have turned. Anniston city councilor, Ben Little, and Anniston resident Rozetta Thompson are judging the prosector and judging the judge.

Rozetta Thompson says she was falsely accused of DUI arrest in 2016. However, records show she failed a field sobriety and was unable to provide sufficient breath samples for a breathalyzer test.

“I kept telling him I have asthma, I have asthma, I did repeat it several times,” said Thompson.

She claims to have several medical conditions including COPD, diabetes, back pain, and asthma and says Anniston police pulled her over after her car drove over a curb.

Thompson says her asthma did not allow her to pass the breathalyzer but was still taken to jail. Thompson was charged with improper lane change, no proof of insurance, no child restraint for a 3yr old child in the car. and a DUI under the combined influence of alcohol and a controlled substance.

But she says the assistant prosecutor offered her a deal by nolle proseque the DUI and No Proof of Insurance citations in exchange for Thompson’s plea’s on the Improper Lane Usage and No Child Restraint citations, but the agreement was not discussed with Jason Odom, the prosecutor.

Three months later, police showed up at her door and arrested her for a DUI.

Anniston city councilor Ben Little says he’s not questioning the validity of Thompson’s plea and says he was in the courtroom with Thompson when a deal with the assistant prosecutor was made. Little says that’s one reason why he wants to review the entire municipal court, citing an overflow of defendants every week and guilty pleas becoming to common.

“The prosecutor is a misusing his authority on doing some things on some rulings that took place and that’s definitely questionable,” said Little.

Thompson now plans to hire an attorney.


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