Thursday, March 24, 2005

"It was all a big misunderstanding," Audrey Norton told Joplin Globe reporter John Hacker Tuesday. She was referring to her accusation that Southwest City Police Chief Toi Cannada had assaulted her daughter in November 2004. That accusation led to Ms. Cannada's arrest Monday on misdemeanor assault and felony burglary charges.
The charges were dropped Tuesday by McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Geeding, who said he had come across new information.
Mrs. Norton told the Globe. "She (Cannada) didn't grab my daughter, and I didn't want anybody to get in trouble for something they didn't do."
But on the same day the charges were dropped...the same day Mrs. Norton told The Globe it was all "a misunderstanding"... she filed a request for a child protection order in McDonald County Circuit Court. The request was rejected by Circuit Court Judge John LePage, according to court records.
Something appears to be missing here.
Ms. Cannada has been a lightning rod for controversy ever since she joined the Southwest City Police Department. According to articles by Globe reporter John Hacker, she was initially hired on a part-time basis. When her status was changed to full-time, the police chief at the time, Ron Beaudry, ran a background check and discovered that she had been arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2001 in Callaway County.
Beaudry fired her, but she was reinstated. By this time, her stepfather, Farley Martin, had been elected to the Southwest City Council. Eventually Beaudry was fired. Mayor Al Dixon said it was due to insubordination and that Beaudry had not cooperated with Martin when he was trying to find out about police procedures.
Ms. Cannada was promoted to police chief after Beaudry's dismissal. Meanwhile, Ms. Cannada was facing disciplinary charges from the Missouri Director of Public Safety. A complaint was filed against her on March 30, 2004, by the director. Ms. Cannada, in a letter received June 29 by the director, waived her right to a hearing.
The director said Ms. Cannada committed an offense under state statute which says, "A person commits the crime of 'driving with excessive blood alcohol content' if such person operates a motor vehicle in this state with ten-hundredths of one percent or more by weight of alcohol in such person's blood."
The state's Administrative Hearing Commission, during a July 26, 2004, meeting, found that Ms. Cannada drove with 1.14 blood alcohol content "because her guilty plea to that charge is an admission of those facts."
The Commission gave the Public Safety Director authorization to discipline Ms. Cannada.
According to state law, hearings must be held within 30 days after the Administrative Hearing Commission makes its decisions. Records from that hearing are not readily available, but it appears that Ms. Cannada did not not have her peace officer's license revoked or suspended, since she has continued to be on duty since her promotion to the chief position.
Former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, the biggest fish netted by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr during the Whitewater investigations, will try to convince a panel of the 8th District Court of Appeals next month that his conviction should be tossed out.
In a hearing scheduled for Thursday, April 14, in the Thomas Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis, Tucker's lawyer will argue that his client, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges, should be set free because the law he is accused of breaking was not in effect at the time of the offense.
Court records indicate this argument has been tried unsuccessfully by Tucker, but a certificate of appealability was given.
Tucker was governor of Arkansas when a grand jury issued a three-count indictment against him on June 7, 1995. Also indicted were Tucker's business lawyer John Haley and a former business associate William Marks.
The indictment alleged that between October 1987 and October 100-, Tucker and the others conspired to evade taxes through a fraudulent bankruptcy proceeding for a cable television company that Tucker partially owned.
Tucker claims the government misrepresented the charges, and that he is actually innocent of what the final charges turned out to be. He says his conviction should be thrown out. Both sides will be given 20 minutes to argue their cases.

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