Michael Shane Wilcher says he was wrongly accused and he wants to know who to blame.
Wilcher was served a warrant for harassment and was arrested on Aug. 14, 2012. According to Wilcher, his ex-wife took out a warrant against him on false charges.
Wilcher says his ex-wife is also a practicing attorney in Warren County. Because of that, Wilcher believes the judicial commissioner who issued the warrant did not properly check the facts and his arrest was unfounded.
Warren County Jail records show Wilcher was arrested at 10:36 a.m. and bonded out at 11:18 a.m. He spent 42 minutes at the jail.
According to records at the Circuit Court Clerk’s office, Wilcher went before a judge and the charges against him were dismissed.
On Tuesday night, Wilcher approached members of the county’s Policy and Personnel Committee to question commissioners about who should take responsibility for his false arrest.
However, county attorney Rick Stacy did not allow commissioners to answers Wilcher’s questions. Stacy asked Wilcher if he was being represented by legal council. Wilcher shook his head no. Stacy said, “I cannot give you legal council or legal advise.”
“I realize what happened to me might have happened because of who I am and who I once was married to,” said Wilcher. “But I think this affects everyone in Warren County. Anybody in Warren County can have anybody arrested. Why can that happen? I would like to know what evidence was shown against me to merit Mr. Griffith taking out a warrant on me.”
Wilcher was referring to judicial commissioner Jimmy Griffith.
“As citizens of Warren County, do you think it is not a citizen’s right to know what type of evidence is against them before they are arrested?” Wilcher asked the commissioners.
Wilcher had prepared a list of nine questions. The first asked about minimum requirements to be hired as a judicial commissioner?”
Stacy referred Wilcher to the Tennessee Code Annotated 40-1-111 which refers to judicial commissioners.
Question two asked training provided to judicial commissioners.
Committee chairman Ken Martin said, “The judicial commissioners go through a quite lengthy hiring procedure. We ask several questions, they must pass a blood test and they are trained more than they are required by law to train. We stress when we hire them that we have no influence on their job. If they have questions, they must contact the district attorney or the judge.”
Stacy said, “As far as I know, we are in compliance as far as training goes. I will refer you to TCA 40-1-111.”
Wilcher asked, “What is the process for filing a warrant?”
Stacy said, “You have to direct your questions to your legal council. Ask that of a licensed attorney. There are about 17,000 of those practicing in Tennessee today.”
“Can you answer anything, Rick?” asked Wilcher.
“I am not answering anything that may be looked at as adverse to the county. I am not answering your questions. That is what your attorney is for,” said Stacy.
Wilcher said, “I want to know was it her being an attorney that he based his warrant on. Nothing she could produce could ever have been produced for a warrant. What was the warrant based on? Her words? Or did she make up documents that I think I should have a right to see? And where do people go for answers who cannot hire an attorney?”
Commissioner George Smartt said, “The meeting between the judicial commissioner and the person asking for a warrant is secret and private. The information is between the two of them.”
Asked Wilcher, “I just want to know if the judicial commissioner stands alone if a lawsuit is brought against him, or will that lawsuit fall to the county? Do judicial commissioners stand on their own or do they have immunity?”
“Again, I’m prohibited by immunity rules to answer those questions. Ask your own legal council,” said Stacy.
Wilcher said, “I don’t like being arrested for something that an attorney claimed who should know the law. There is no claim on the county. I’m just saying, how would that make you feel as a citizen to be wrongly arrested? I am pretty upset about what happened.”
Stacy said, “I don’t know how this can be construed as anything except a threatened lawsuit against the county.”
Wilcher was joined in the meeting by his wife, Amy Wilcher, and his brother, Warren County Commissioner Blaine Wilcher. The three decided to leave the meeting when it became apparent Wilcher’s questions would not be answered.