Charges against two Jackson County officials dropped

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email
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Early Thursday, a district judge dismissed the case against Jackson County Judge Executive William Smith and Treasurer Beth Sallee after a special prosecutor could not find enough evidence to move forward.

In January, Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman arrested both Smith and Sallee on a slew of felony charges, which included: abuse of public trust and engaging in organized crime.

Attorney Sharon Allen tells WYMT she was ready to defend her clients in court.

"He certainly had the authority to do it just no legal basis in my opinion," said Allen.

However, there was no need for that because a special prosecutor assigned to the case asked for a dismissal as soon as court was called to order citing lack of evidence.

"It was orchestrated for maximum exposure. It was on TV constantly. It was in the paper. I mean it speaks for itself what it was," said Allen.

Sheriff Peyman, who was silent in the courtroom, said despite Thursday's outcome, he has not finished fighting corruption in the county.

"It is far from over. I am still standing on what I believe to be the truth and the truth is there is corruption here and everybody knows," said Peyman.

The sheriff claims a 2011 audit shows both Smith and Sallee broke the law. As a result of that same audit, the county is suing Sheriff Peyman for money they say he owes the fiscal court.

The sheriff could potentially refile the charges against the judge executive and treasurer because the case was dismissed without prejudice.

Two Jackson County officials were told in court Thursday that charges against them would be dropped.

Jackson County Judge Executive William O. Smith and Treasurer Beth Sallee were arrested in January for charges that included abuse of public trust, falsifying business records and engaging in organized crime, among others.

WYMT is in the courtroom and will have more on this developing story later in our newscasts and here on
Bad blood between county officials in Jackson County boiled over Tuesday. That is when Sheriff Denny Peyman arrested Judge Executive William O. Smith and Treasurer Beth Sallee on a slew of charges.

A sign hanging outside the Jackson County Sheriff's Office read "closed for the fiscal court meeting" as Peyman led the judge executive out of that meeting in handcuffs.

"All I want from all of this is the truth, that is it," said Peyman.

Smith as well as Sallee face six charges each, including abuse of public trust, falsifying business records and engaging in organized crime, among others.

"There is going to be more charges. It is going to be interesting to see how this all pans out. There is nothing political about doing what is right," said Peyman.

The sheriff arrested the judge executive and brought him out the doors of the Jackson County Justice Center. He then took Smith to his cruiser, which is an old beat-up black Mustang. Peyman said he used that to send a message.

"This Mustang is what I was given to drive. That is what I arrest people in. That is what I haul people to jail in. That is what I work in everyday and you can see the condition of it. It is not hardly safe for anyone, but that is what I am given to drive by the Fiscal Court," said Peyman.

The sheriff and judge executive have bumped heads before, each filing lawsuits against the other. Several people gathered to watch the morning's events. Several in the crowd made it known they agree with Peyman's actions.

Both Smith and Sallee were taken to the Jackson County Detention Center, where they declined to comment on their arrest.

WYMT spoke with some folks, who did not want to go on camera, but they said the judge executive is a stand-up guy.

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