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Boone County attorney calls for Linda Tally-Smith's resignation over Dooley controversy

Posted: 5:11 PM, Apr 10, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-10 23:56:39-04

BURLINGTON, Ky. -- As a commonwealth's attorney, Linda Tally-Smith is in a high-profile office.

She's an elected official who ran for the job as a Republican. But now, there's concern among some members of the party about its response to information disclosed in court last month that Tally-Smith had an affair with former Boone County Sheriff's Office detective Bruce McVay.

McVay was the lead detective on the Michelle Mockbee murder case five years ago. Tally-Smith prosecuted David Dooley for killing Mockbee at the warehouse where they both worked.

McVay and Tally-Smith took the stand last month because Dooley's attorney is trying to get a new trial by raising doubts about whether detectives turned over all the evidence in the case. A surveillance video clip shows an unknown man at the warehouse where Mockbee was killed.

Tally-Smith testified McVay never told her about the video before the trial. But McVay testified he did tell her.

 

Boone County attorney Robert Neace said in a Monday night meeting of the Boone County Republican Party that he had twice asked Tally-Smith to resign over the controversy, which he argued undermined public faith in the county's justice system. She refused both times, he said, and he took his complaint to the attorney general. 

"I’m not going to get into who you believe or don’t believe in terms of the testimony and what’s been said, but Linda Tally Smith remaining our Commonwealth Attorney is untenable," he said. "Our justice system in Boone County has been damaged greatly, and it needs to heal. We need to resolve this and resolve it as quickly as we can."

Watch Neace's complete speech below:

 

Neace urged other members to move for her resignation, but the party voted to not make a statement on the issue.

David Miller, a member of the party, who is also an attorney in Ohio, said the accusations are serious enough for the group to take a stand.

"She could serve out her term, but there's going to be such a dark cloud hovering over her, I just don't see how you can continue to get anything done," Miller said. "I mean ... any motive in any case is going to be questioned."

Even if the Boone County Republican Party asks Tally-Smith to resign, the group has no official say in what happens next.

When a reporter asked county officials if any other cases could be affected by the information that came out in the Dooley case, they said it would be up to the attorney general's office. They confirmed that Tally-Smith is still the commonwealth's attorney for Boone and Gallatin counties.

When asked if there could be an ethics investigation, the Kentucky Bar Association sent back a response stating, "Disciplinary proceedings are confidential under Supreme Court Rule 3.150."

Tally-Smith provided the following statement:

"I was advised two weeks ago that the Boone County Republican Party was planning to discuss issues relating to my position as Commonwealth’s Attorney for Boone and Gallatin Counties at the regular meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m.  However, I have received calls from several party precinct leaders and members of the media indicating that a handful of members will be pushing for the party to vote on a request for my resignation at tonight’s meeting.

"Approximately two years ago, I made a number of choices in my personal life that I truly regret.  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.  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 twenty-three years, I have always believed that our Constitution should be honored, and its tenets preserved and cherished at all costs.  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."