City seeks dismissal of charges against bail bondsman in case that could overturn Newsome conviction

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jun. 13, 2016 at 10:41 AM CDT
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The city of Dothan seeks to have a criminal court appeal against bail bondsman Rickey Stokes dismissed.

Special Dothan prosecutor Gary Maxwell said the city erred when the city manager appointed a special judge to hear the case. He seeks to retry Stokes in city court.

Stokes was found guilty in 2014 by Trussville Municipal Judge Carl Chamblee of unlawful imprisonment and sentenced to 10 days in jail. He was also fined.

Stokes was charged with chaining two fugitives to doors of the city courtroom. Stokes said he did it to bring attention to what he terms the ineffectiveness of the court system. He appealed the convictions to Houston County Circuit Court.

Maxwell said the mayor should have appointed the special judge. That also raises questions about many other cases heard by someone other than Dothan Municipal Judge Rose Gordon. Among them the recent conviction of city commissioner Amos Newsome on assault charges. Chamblee also presided over those proceedings. (Note: The author of this story was the victim in that case.)

Stokes’ attorney, Derek Yarbrough, said a class action lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court. A copy was not immediately available in public records but it’s believed the action could potentially result in all cases heard by special judges being dismissed.

Stokes is also a website blogger who often is at odds with the city and its legal department.