Schickel joins Boone County GOP calls for resignation of Commonwealth Attorney Linda Tally-Smith

05/17/2017 10:12 AM

UNION – The Boone County Republican Party has called for the resignation of Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Tally-Smith, a Republican, who had an extramarital affair with the lead detective who worked the case which ultimately led to the conviction of David Dooley in the 2012 murder of Michelle Mockbee at a warehouse where they both worked in Florence.

On Friday, Boone Circuit Judge J.R. Schrand awarded a new trial to Dooley, because Dooley and his legal team were entitled to know about a surveillance video which shows an unknown man at the warehouse where Mockbee was killed. A video Dooley and his lawyers had not previously had access to.

During a hearing about Dooley’s request for a retrial, it also came out that Tally-Smith had a sexual relationship with former Boone County detective Bruce McVay, who was one of the lead investigators in the case.

State Senator Jon Schickel, R-Union, agreed with the Boone County GOP’s decision to call for Tally-Smith’s resignation because of harm he says has been done to the judicial system.

“I’ve been involved in the Boone County criminal justice system one way or the other for the past 40 years, as a police officer, as a jailer, U.S. Marshal, and now a legislator, and the sad part about it is that the reputation of the Boone County justice system was excellent, and the public’s confidence in it has been shaken,” Schickel said.

At the center of the controversy is an 18-page letter Tally Smith wrote to McVay, which Tally-Smith claims was not sent. The letter provides details into their relationship and the lengths she went to, or would have gone to, to protect her lover. Schickel says that letter alone is reason enough for Tally-Smith to step aside.

“When I look over that letter, I can’t come to any other conclusion that the right thing for her to do is to resign for the good of the Boone County justice system so it can begin to heal,” Schickel said. “It was a situation that spiraled out of control to the point where the reliability of the court system was, very rightly I think, taken into question.”

The only way for Tally-Smith, an elected official, can leave office is that if she resigns or is impeached by the state legislature.

If Tally-Smith does resign, the Governor would appoint a temporary replacement and then depending on when it was on the calendar, there would be a special election, or if it’s close to the regular election, that person would serve until the regular election takes place.

Schickel admits that even if and when Tally-Smith moves on, the damage is already done to the judicial system in Boone County, and it could take time to repair.

“The damage is to credibility and credibility is so important, especially in the criminal justice system,” Schickel said.

Tally-Smith released a statement following the Boone County GOP’s call for her resignation apologizing, but also saying that the mistakes she made affected her personal life, but not her work.

“Approximately two years ago, I made a number of choices in my personal life that I truly regret,” she wrote. “I am especially remorseful for the personal decisions that I made that caused pain to others, most particularly my own family. However, the personal mistakes made during a very difficult time in my life have not impacted the work that I have done as Commonwealth’s Attorney or the rights of any persons prosecuted by my office.

“During the hearing in March, I testified before Judge Schrand for over 7 hours,” Tally-Smith continued. “I have not made many public statements about this matter, as I believe that Judge Schrand should be permitted to render his decision without attempted outside influence. I have always made it clear, however, that I have not withheld any evidence in connection with the Dooley case, or any case for that matter. The evidence received by the Court during the hearing confirms that.

“As a Republican my entire adult life, and a prosecutor for more than 23 years, I have always believed that our Constitution should be honored, and its tenets preserved and cherished at all costs,” The letter continues. “The irony of this matter is not lost on me – David Dooley was convicted by a jury of his peers of Murder and Tampering with Physical Evidence after the Court ensured that he was afforded all Due Process and constitutional protections. Yet some citizens have concluded that he is not guilty based solely upon information gleaned from media coverage — even though they never attended a single day of trial, did not see a single item of evidence, nor heard the testimony of any witnesses. Likewise, some people believe that I am “guilty” of wrongdoing, even though no court or public agency has found that I have violated any ethical or professional responsibilities, and they have not heard all of the testimony or seen the evidence presented during the hearing in March. Justice and Due Process demands that the Court be permitted to render its decision free of outside influences or attempts by a few people with ulterior motives to somehow sway the outcome.

I am truly sorry that my actions have cause heartache for my family and others. However, my personal choices have had no impact on public safety or the work of my office. Since these allegations were first raised back in September, 2016, I have been doing exactly what I have done every day since I was elected in 2000 – my job. I continue to be a devoted public servant to the people of Boone and Gallatin Counties.”

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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