By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
A Lewisburg lawyer and his associates are investigating Cornersville's police patrol of Interstate 65 to see if there's been a violation of motorists' civil rights.
Attorney Rob Dalton has been contacted by motorists about tickets written by town police, he said Friday. Saturday, Mayor Amos Davis said town officers stopped - sometime in the last few months - using the truckers' rest stop on I-65 as a place to conduct radar patrols to find speeding drivers.
"It's a great fishing spot," Dalton said at his Second Avenue office in response to state Rep. Billy Spivey's observation of Cornersville Police parked at the truckers' rest area.
Dalton and his paralegal associate, Jeff Payne, have been at Cornersville Town Hall in recent days this month with a portable electronic scanner to copy police tickets, Dalton and Davis said. Dalton praises town officials for their cooperation, openness and adherence to Tennessee's open records law.
"I don't think they're going to find anything that's out of the ordinary," the mayor said.
Dalton's law firm has a special interest in civil rights law, the attorney said.
Denials of a citizen's constitutional rights are at the crux of civil rights cases. Dalton is careful to point out that he has no case yet because the firm hasn't finished its investigation.
"Local governments have the right to control interstate commerce," he said. However, Dalton said it would appear that "Cornersville was out of their jurisdiction. They didn't have jurisdiction where they were" writing tickets outside the town limits.
Tennessee Highway Patrol officials last week renewed Cornersville's yearly permit to patrol I-65 and enforce the rules of the road when there are violations on the one-mile section of I-65 at Exit 27, part of I-65 that's in Cornersville.
Spivey insists conducting radar patrol from the rest area is police action beyond the town line.
See details at Page A3.