Sneedville TN police chief sentenced to 4 months after pleading guilty to giving 14yr old girl pot from evidence locker

(KNOXNEWS)   A former upper East Tennessee police chief accused of giving marijuana to a teenage girl and putting pressure on a juror pleaded guilty to criminal charges this week and was sentenced to four months in jail.

Former Sneedville Police Chief Charlie H. Dunsmore, 64, had been slated to go to trial next week on charges of official misconduct, theft, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and improper influence of a juror.

But during a court hearing Monday before 3rd Judicial District Criminal Court Judge John Dugger, Dunsmore pleaded guilty to all four criminal charges and was sentenced to four months in jail to be followed by eight months of supervised probation.

Court records show he also was fined $400 and must pay court costs.

The charges stem from an Oct. 15 incident in which Dunsmore allegedly gave a girl a marijuana cigarette that he had seized from an uncharged suspect and later “took from the safe at Sneedville City Hall,” according to court documents.

The girl was 14 years old, according to 3rd Judicial District Attorney General C. Berkeley Bell.

Dunsmore served as part-time police chief until his Feb. 4 retirement, which came just after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began looking into accusations against him, city officials said.

On Feb. 6, Dunsmore allegedly contacted a grand juror with the intent of influencing the outcome of the case, additional court papers alleged.

A Hancock County grand jury indicted him Feb. 14.

According to a court clerk, Dunsmore was slated to go to trial on all four charges Aug. 24.

Dunsmore’s Morristown-based attorney, Edward R. Sempkowski, could not be reached for comment.

Neither could Sneedville Mayor W. Dean Rhea to say who was hired to replace Dunsmore as police chief.


3 Responses to Sneedville TN police chief sentenced to 4 months after pleading guilty to giving 14yr old girl pot from evidence locker

  • 4 Months! Why so harsh? Clearly such an outstanding example of government service to the public should have been paid $400, not charged. And promoted. If ever there was a more clear example where a slap on the wrist should have been used, I have yet to see one. We have a Thin Blue Line in this country that must be maintained at all costs. Police are above the law and should never be subjected to it. If a police officer decides it is best for kids to use drugs, who are we to argue? And influencing a jury? Please! In every courtroom we give police the benefit of the doubt. We allow police to wear uniform and gun and badge in to courtrooms which is clearly fair to any defendant, so how could a little chit chat with a juror, especially if we are told it was for our own good, be a bad thing? Pay this poor man for his time, don’t charge him. And if promoting him makes him mayor, all the better.

  • One can only wonder what else he was giving her.

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