Gibson’s battles still continue

Posted By | March 31, 2008 12:00 am

District Attorney General Bill Gibson

The man who was voted into office as district attorney general for White and six other counties and has served in that capacity almost two decades is facing a battle with state legislators who want to remove him from office.
White County State Representative Charles Curtiss, along with representatives Henry Fincher, of Cookeville, and Frank Buck, of Dowelltown, are co-sponsoring a resolution to remove District Attorney General Bill Gibson from the office he has held 18 years.
Gibson, who was first elected in 1990 and reelected in each subsequent election, became the center of controversy almost two years ago when the TBI began an investigation about the professional conduct of the chief prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District.
Gibson’s law license was eventually suspended by the Board of Professional Responsibility. However, efforts to indict Gibson for official misconduct were unsuccessful. Former Assistant District Attorney General Tony Craighead was appointed to the position as chief prosecutor until which time the matter involving Gibson is resolved.
According to the legislators who are a part of the effort to oust Gibson, their concerns stem partly from Gibson still receiving his full salary as district attorney general. Reportedly, Craighead is receiving a salary the same amount as Gibson’s.
Gibson had reportedly written letters to Christopher B. Adams, between July 2004 and July 2006, while Adams was awaiting trial for murder and aggravated robbery. Adams had pled guilty to the September 2003 stabbing death and robbery of Lillian Kelly, 79, of Putnam County.
In a separate instance, Gibson reportedly developed a friendship with Tina Sweat, who pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault and possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale or deliver, which is a felony. Gibson had recommended Sweatt for an appointment as a director for a drug court team.
On Jan. 30, 2006, a petition was filed for Sweats post conviction relief. She and her attorney reportedly appeared before Circuit Court Judge John Turnbull about the matter. According to court documentation, Gibson did most of the talkingthat day, but did not inform Turnbull of his relationship to Sweat. On Jan. 31, 2006, Turnbull signed the order granting the post conviction relief petition and dismissed the matter against Sweat.
Gibson’s legal counsel filed a petition to amend or dissolve the suspension of Gibson’s law license. However, members of the BPR expressed concerns about allowing the reinstatement of his license, which would automatically place Gibson back in his duties as district attorney general.
The final words of the BPR were, the panel finds that the respondent [Gibson] continues to pose a threat of substantial harm to the public and respectfully recommends that his temporary suspension not be resolved.
The Legislature is reportedly the only entity with authority to remove a district attorney.



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