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Case dismissed against Lincoln County Sheriff

http://66.225.205.104/JR20100208a.mp3

A judge Monday dismissed the case against Lincoln County Sheriff Tim Daugherty who was charged with obstructing justice and lying about his role in helping a prominent doctor avoid drunk driving charges. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: Lincoln County Assistant District Attorney Gwynn Radeker told the judge that he received new information over the weekend that changed his case against Sheriff Daugherty. Radeker asked for more time to investigate. The judge refused. So Radeker says he had no choice but to drop the charges. That's partly because prosecutors say the sheriff's former deputy sent word through his attorneys that he would testify Sheriff Daugherty knew nothing about the drunk driving case the night it happened. Previously the chief deputy said he would not testify at all. The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners who had hoped to use the case as grounds to suspend Daugherty and end the controversy. Now Commissioner Jim Klein says they have nothing to justify suspension. "The way he has handled this case and the controversy around it is certainly not in his best interests and has cast a pall over the whole department, but I don't believe - because of the make up of the people in the department being as good as it is - I don't believe the safety of the public is compromised in anyway," says Klein. With the case against him dismissed, Sheriff Daugherty is free to remain in office and even file for re-election if he chooses. But Klein says the upcoming budget process will be difficult for Daugherty. "It would be difficult for the sheriff to ask us to provide new money for anything that's long-term," says Klein. The Lincoln County District Attorney's office says Sheriff Daugherty is still under investigation, but prosecutors will have to file a new case if they bring charges again.

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