Local News

Criminal charges for two ex-troopers prompts questions from ticketed motorists

Posted October 24, 2019 7:10 p.m. EDT
Updated October 24, 2019 8:36 p.m. EDT

— One day after the State Bureau of Investigation announced that two former State Highway Patrol troopers are facing charges over a ticket irregularities scandal, lawyers for the accused ex-officers and motorists stopped by them spoke out.

Officers with the Highway Patrol are sworn to keep the streets safe, and they are also sworn to uphold the law.

The attorney for former Trooper Christopher Carter said Thursday that her client has been doing his job.

"Trooper Carter – Mr. Carter now – is a very well-respected member of the law enforcement community by his peers, by members of the prosecutors’ office (and) by members of the defense bar," said Parrish Daughtry.

Carter faces several charges, including obstruction of justice, failure to discharge his duties and making a false return of process.

The other former trooper, Jason Benson, is facing 15 charges.

Both men are accused of excessively ticketing the same people, often without their knowledge. The practice has led to drivers losing their licenses and even being arrested when they failed to show up for court.

"I received, if I’m not mistaken, like five or six tickets," said Willie Cain, one of at least 12 victims identified so far in the scandal. "First and foremost, you took an oath and obligation to protect and serve. And that’s not something to do."

Daughtry said she has not seen all of the reports from the investigation.

"We have not been made privy to the SBI reports," she said. "We do have a lot of the Highway Patrol information, but not the SBI [report] at this point."

Carter's attorneys say the case is still in the very early stages of going through the court system, but regardless of what happens in court, it does not bode well for their client's law enforcement career.

Carter resigned his position Monday.

"For all practical purposes, while this is his passion, he can probably never ever, ever serve again in law enforcement," said Gerald Hayes, an attorney for Carter.

Said Daughtry: "We do look forward to zealously representing him in court. "

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