Resisting arrest charges against the son of a local city court judge were dismissed in a hearing this afternoon, but his charges of public intoxication and underage drinking were sent to the grand jury.
Zachary Paty, 19, son of Chattanooga City Court Judge Sherry Paty, along with Mark Harden, 20, and Alexander Card, 19, face charges related to a Jan. 4 arrest.
Card's drug possession, underage drinking and public intoxication charges were sent to the grand jury.
Drug charges against Harden were dismissed but his resisting arrest charge was sent to the grand jury.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy Donnie Myrick said he saw a dark-colored SUV backed up to a U-Haul trailer on the backside of a Day's Inn hotel on Lee Highway.
Myrick testified that he smelled marijuana and recognized the driver, Card, who he’d stopped two weeks before.
Card has marijuana possession charges pending in criminal court from a July 2012 arrest with a hearing date of March 8. He also has a separate marijuana possession charge in sessions court from a November arrest date.
Myrick handcuffed Card, searched him and found a bag of suspected marijuana and cocaine on Card. Those items are still being tested at the state drug lab.
While he searched Card, Zachary Paty got out of the back passenger side, stumbled and then got back into the car when told to do so twice.
Myrick smelled alcohol on Zachary Paty, noticed slurred speech and he was “rambling and raving.” Myrick handcuffed him.
Then Myrick asked Harden to get out of the SUV. Harden took two steps away and then ran.
Myrick chased him 20 yards before pushing Harden to the ground.
While Myrick and his partner wrestled with Harden, Paty ran toward the officers screaming.
Myrick put his hand on his weapon and told Paty to stop. He did.
Both Paty and Card are free on bond. Harden faces previous, unrelated charges of weapons possession and aggravated burglary. He is being held in the Hamilton County Jail.
Zachary Paty’s attorney, Martin Levitt, challenged whether Myrick had probable cause to approach the SUV in the first place.
“At the time you approached the vehicle you had no specific evidence that any crime had been committed,” Levitt said. “You just thought you’d look in and see what was going on.”
Myrick said he’s made drug arrests at the hotel and nearby areas. He said in the past three years there have been 500 calls for police to that hotel.
Levitt claimed Zachay Paty was yelling at Myrick to “stop beating this black guy, he’s not resisting.”
Myrick said all he heard was Paty screaming and he was worried about what the handcuffed teenager might try to do as he and his partner tried to get Harden detained.
The grand jury typically takes six weeks or more to return a decision on whether to indict.
Bledsoe County Judge Howard L. Upchurch oversaw the hearing because it involved a local judge’s relative. Ninth Judicial District Assistant District Attorney Bill Reedy is serving as prosecutor in the case for the same reason.
Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...