DeSoto County sheriff under investigation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto County sheriff under investigation

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - The DeSoto County Sheriff is under investigation, and spoke publicly about it for the first time Tuesday to Action News 5.

In a case that's now been turned over to the FBI, DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco may have shown leniency to a DUI offender who was charged with a felony - but that turned out to be the wrong charge.  

Jason Smith was arrested in March of 2008, originally on a DUI felony charge after being stopped by a DeSoto County sheriff's deputy. Smith was then released by Sheriff Rasco on a personal recognizance bond.

Rasco said his decision was a bad judgement call, but no laws were broken.

"Maybe it was a mistake on my part, but I've always said you make mistakes and you learn from them," Rasco said Tuesday.

Rasco said Smith was mistakenly charged with a felony when it should have been a misdemeanor DUI offense.   The sheriff said he welcomes any investigation, because he believes he has done nothing wrong or inappropriate.

Rasco said Smith is a family friend, and he believes the charges are coming from some former or even current members of the sheriff's department who don't like the fact he is cleaning things up.

Rasco also noted he will never again bail anyone out who is arrested on a DUI charge.

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