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Athens Commissioner’s DUI case headed to trial

Ovita Thornton

By Joe Johnson

An Athens-Clarke County commissioner will be having her day in court more than a year after she was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence.

District 9 Commissioner Ovita Thornton was arrested in February 2023 after her car struck

a curb and utility pole near West Hancock Avenue and North Harris Street.

She reportedly told police that she was had been on her way home from a restaurant where she had consumed alcohol.

The responding officer noted in an incident report that Thornton had an odor of alcohol, her speech was slurred, and she resisted attempts to handcuff her, kicking him in the chest when being placed into a police car.

Any indications that the 72-year-old commissioner had been intoxicated from alcohol were actually due to a medical condition which will be argued before a jury, said defense attorney Douglas Lenhardt.

Before the case could go forward to a trial, however, the matter of who would prosecute it needed to be settled.

Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General Will Fleenor had tried to "self-conflict" himself from the case that involved a fellow county official, but he was denied by the state Prosecuting Attorneys Council on the basis that there was nothing about the situation that rose to the level of a conflict of interest.

Lenhardt then filed a motion to have the solicitor's office disqualified on the grounds that a conflict existed because Fleenor's office was dependent on funding that was overseen by Thornton in her capacity as county commissioner and also by when serving as mayor pro tempore during commission meetings.

After holding a hearing on the matter, State Court Judge Charles Auslander III on Oct. 23 ruled that a conflict did exist and that he would request that the solicitor's office be removed from the case.

The Prosecuting Attorneys Council subsequently removed Fleenor and appointed in his stead Gwinnett County Solicitor General Lisamarie N. Bristol.

Auslander scheduled Thornton's trial to begin in his courtroom on the morning June 10.

1,169 views7 comments


I thought she got two back-to-back DUI's last year.


Ovita Thornton was arrested in February 2023 for DUI, Before the case could go forward to a trial,

Why was a DUI going to trial ? Cause she was a District 9 Commissioner ?? This was a year ago.


Too funny. What an effing train wreck.

Show us the video, please.


Did her so called "medical condition" cause her to SMELL like Alcohol? Did her so called "medical condition" cause her to say "she was on her way home from a restaurant and had consumed alcohol"



The commissioner's medical alignments will not be made public because of confidentiality laws so you will never know what drugs she is prescribed. The question is she should be driving at all while taking these prescribed drugs that affect her lack of restraint of her behavior's and her driving abilities. Be wary of how often the commissioner has driven under the influence without any entanglements. If commissioner Patrick Davenport has any influence on the decision of this case, she will be found without any fault.

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