Athens-Clarke County commissioner's DUI case headed to trial


District 1 Commissioner Patrick Davenport

By Joe Johnson

Athens-Clarke County District 1 Commissioner Patrick Davenport is taking to trial a DUI case that stemmed from his arrest last month.

According to court documents, the case was transferred for trial from Municipal Court to State Court on Sept. 21.

The commissioner’s attorney, Jeff Rothman, declined to comment on the pending case.

However, according to Athens defense attorney Morris “Mo” Wiltshire, Davenport’s case could not remain in Municipal Court because as a county employee who was nominated by the mayor and approved by the County Commission, the court’s judge is essentially subordinate to Davenport.

He said a Municipal Court judge from another jurisdiction could be brought in for the case, but since Davenport’s court filings indicate he has demanded a jury trial, Municipal Court does not conduct jury trials like State Court does.

A trial date had not been scheduled as of Friday.

When Davenport was arrested on Sept. 18, he had nearly three times the amount of alcohol in his system than is legally allowed for driving, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.

After he was found lying back in the driver’s seat of his disabled SUV, Davenport was administered a breath test that indicated his blood-alcohol concentration was .216 percent, according to the report.

The maximum legal limit for driving is .08 percent.

Davenport admitted that he had been drinking, but did not remember how much, according to the report, which noted the 42-year-old commissioner was unable to maintain balance during a roadside sobriety test that the officer stopped out of concern for Davenport’s safety.

When the officer responded shortly after midnight to a report of a drunk driver at the U.S. National Poultry Research Center on College Station Road, he saw the that both tires on the driver’s side of Davenport’s SUV had been “popped,” according to the police report.

Davenport has not commented about his arrest and referred questions to Rothman, his attorney.

“Mr. Davenport is presumed to be innocent,” Rothman said soon after his client was arrested.

“We will be conducting an investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding his arrest and will have more to say when that investigation is complete,” the attorney said.

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