Post II County Commission Democratic candidate Courtney Dillard has a history of facing serious charges - including possession of cocaine and battery of a minor - only to have them dismissed or arranged away, according to research by the News.
The incident involving the possession of cocaine charge occurred in July 2004, when Dillard was arrested and charged by Atlanta police.
According to court documents, Dillard failed to appear in Fulton County Superior Court on Sept. 20, 2004, for a plea entry and arraignment hearing. Fulton County prosecutors were supposed to submit a court-ordered bench warrant for Dillard within three days of his failure to appear, but apparently failed to do so. The Fulton County superior court dismissed Dillard's charges on Sept. 24, 2004, stating "Whereas, the State has failed to timely submit to the Court said Bench Warrant ... it is hereby ordered that the above-styled action is dismissed."
A Feb. 16, 2006 incident in Rockdale County led to charges of battery and two counts of simple battery after Dillard punched a 16-year-old that he was coaching during a basketball game.
According to statements from witnesses, the referee, and the victim, Dillard reportedly called a time out and grabbed the victim, who was playing, on the floor.
"The kid was frustrated and the coach grabbed hold of him. When the kid broke free from his control, the coach punched him in the face and then all hell broke loose," wrote one witness.
Another witness described Dillard grabbing the player by the jersey, the player pushing Dillard away in the head, and Dillard punching the player in the jaw.
Dillard entered a guilty plea to one count of simple battery and was able to have the other counts dismissed. After he finished his sentence of 40 hours of community service and conflict resolution class, a nolle prosequi was entered for the simple battery charge, effectively striking it from his record.
Dillard is involved in at least 24 cases in the Rockdale County court system, of which he is the defendant in 23 cases and the plaintiff in one case. Of those cases, two are adult criminal cases, seven are traffic violations, six are small claims cases, three are contract disputes, one is a paternity lawsuit, one is a title to land condemnation, one is related to failure to appear for jury duty, and one for failure to pay child support.
The paternity lawsuit was brought by Renee Johnson in April 2003, shortly after her son was born in January 2003. Dillard was ordered to pay $851 a month in child support and the $2,500 attorney fee.
Republican candidate and incumbent Commissioner JaNice Van Ness was associated with at least 11 cases in the Rockdale County court system. Of those, she was the defendant in four cases and the plaintiff in three cases. Four of the cases involved garnishment of wages, one was a traffic ticket and most seemed to involve financial or contract disputes, such as pricing for carpet cleaning services.
No criminal charges for VanNess turned up in Fayette County Superior Court, where she had lived for seven years before returning to Rockdale County.
William Brawley contributed to this article.