Tennessee Prosecutor Indicted In Sex-For-Leniency Case

Former Hawkins County (Tenn.) prosecutor Doug Godbee has been arrested on one count of official misconduct for allegedly offering leniency in exchange for sex with defendants or their mothers.

Godbee is named in nine complaints made by female drug defendants or mothers of female drug defendants including some that resulted in sexual contacts. Godbee previously resigned after allegations of sex with victim in a case. He was then reinstated when no criminal charges were filed. I am not sure why criminal charges would be the sole determinant in whether to retain a lawyer. After being reinstated by the prosecutor’s office, new victims came forward.

Godbee was hospitalized at the time following an apparent overdose of sleeping pills but recovered and faced this charge from a special prosecutor, Russell Johnson. There should be serious review of the handling of the prior allegation and the supervision of Godbee by the District Attorney.

Despite nine complaints (and civil lawsuits), the special prosecutor grouped them into one charge. He also decided not to bring them as separate charges because he believed that defense would move to sever the charges. That is a controversial decision since, not only could a court deny such a motion due to the pattern, but it would reflect more the gravity of the conduct in both the trial and any sentencing.

Nevertheless, official misconduct is a Class E felony with a sentence range of one to six years and a fine of up to $3,000. Johnson’s logic is that it is better to put everything on one count where he can likely use the full range of alleged conduct.

This type of alleged abuse is made more likely by the trend toward higher sentencing minimums and the elimination of parole. That trend has resulted in a huge increase in power of prosecutors who can dictate whether a defendant will serve two or twenty years through charging decisions. With most prosecution offices enjoying an 80 or 90 percent conviction rate, they can force plea agreements or, as alleged here, possible extortion. Obviously, the vast majority of prosecutors are appalled by cases like this — as are all lawyers.

Source: Times News and first seen on ABA Journal

9 thoughts on “Tennessee Prosecutor Indicted In Sex-For-Leniency Case”

  1. I am Shocked! Shocked! to hear that such a thing has been going on!

    Given the power that Prof. Turley says prosecutors currently enjoy (combined with the huge volume of criminal prosecutions in the US), I wonder if any of them are simply taking cash in exchange for prosecuting decisions…

  2. maybe the special prosecutor will give him the same deal he gave others.

  3. Perhaps he can argue that he was implementing, on an experimental basis, an alternative pre-trial diversion program for drug offenders.

  4. Stamford had it right. This guy needs to be worrying about dropping his soap on rope for several years at least.

  5. “I can only hope this scumbucket will be enjoying the same comforts soon …” – Stamford Liberal


  6. This story reminds me of the upheaval a few years ago in CT politics, particularly, the Mayor of Waterbury who was having sex with a prostitutes pre-teen daughter and niece. He’s now enjoying the comforts of one of our fine correctional institutions for the next 37 years …

    I can only hope this scumbucket will be enjoying the same comforts soon …

  7. Look at him….. He has to get it anyway he can….Hey…if the women don’t work….W.V. has sheeps or goats that need tending….

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