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Enough is enough with former sheriff trials

Staff Report • Jul 12, 2013 at 9:28 AM

We urge District Attorney General Tony Clark to go with his first instincts on whether to prosecute former Unicoi County Sheriff Kent Harris on remaining charges. After a judge dismissed six official misconduct charges against Harris on Tuesday, Clark said he would most likely not pursue trials on three other charges.“At this point, I don’t see those going forward,” he said. “I think the people of Unicoi County are tired. ... I don’t foresee me pursuing any of the rest of these charges.”Yes, the people of Unicoi County are tired. We are all tired of this case. The supporters of Harris are tired of what they characterize as Clark’s vendetta against the former sheriff. Meanwhile, those who believe passionately that Harris is guilty of the charges against him say they are tired of seeing justice subverted in Unicoi County.Given Clark’s track record in prosecuting Harris, we also don’t see any point in pursuing the remaining charges. Two earlier trials (which combined are estimated to have cost taxpayers $20,000) both ended with hung juries. The third came to a halt this week when Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ruled the prosecution failed to provide sufficient evidence to merit felony charges against Harris.We are not calling for Clark to “throw in the towel,” as one of our readers recently commented. This is not a boxing match. We are talking about justice, and it’s painfully obvious that Clark has been unable to make his case against Harris.We’re all tired of this matter. It’s time to move on.

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