Was prosecution personal? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Was prosecution personal?

Albany-- The lawyer for a former District Attorney employee claims she was prosecuted as political revenge, calling the case "A retaliatory prosecution."

A jury took two hours to decide that Alice Robinson was not guilty Wednesday on theft and false statement charges after she was accused of receiving almost six hundred dollars too much for payment of her daughter's dental repairs.

Robinson testified against D. A. Ken Hodges, her former boss, in an ethics commission hearing more than two years ago. Now Robinson's attorney says this trial was a waste of taxpayers' money and an effort to punish her.

Alice Robinson testified in juvenile court in February 2003 that she needed almost $600 for her daughter's dental repairs after the child was hit by another youngster. Robinson's ex-husband's insurance paid for the dentistry, and the mother was ordered to pay back the money.

Robinson's attorney Johnnie Graham said "It was a retaliatory prosecution by the folks that were inconvenienced, not happy, with her having to speak at an ethics hearing."

Graham, a former prosecutor who served as Robinson's lawyer, said prosecuting her was payback for her ethics commission testimony about Dougherty D.A. Ken Hodges. "I certainly thought there was some kind of vendetta, that was obvious."

Hodges said he turned the matter over to the Attorney General, and had nothing to do with the prosecution. Dougherty D. A. Ken Hodges said "I have no voice in the equation. She presented it to 23 citizens who comprise the grand jury here. Those citizens upon hearing the evidence decided the matter needed to go forward. I was not a part of the process at all."

The complaint against Hodges was that he forced his office to listen to a political speech from County Commission Chairman Candidate Jeff Sinyard.

Hodges denies it had anything to do with the criminal charges.  "The accusation is baseless and doesn't really even deserve an answer."

A special judge and prosecutor Cecelia Cooper were brought in to try Robinson's case, which Graham said turned out to a waste of taxpayer money.

Graham said "Being a good steward of public funds, those kind of things should have been considered."

The State Ethics Commission dismissed all five charges against Hodges in December 2003, saying the complaints were frivolous. Hodges fired Robinson in October 2002, and she now works in the City's Small and Disadvantaged Business Office.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com