Fullilove pleads guilty, avoids jail time - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fullilove pleads guilty, avoids jail time

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove entered a guilty plea Friday in Memphis in a case that followed a series of serious driving charges against her.

"I did wrong, and I have to suffer whatever the repercussion are behind that," Fullilove said during Friday's hearing.

But the repercussions for Fullilove will not include spending time behind bars.  She'll be on probation for the next year after an emotional promise in court to clean up her act.

"I don't blame anybody for any of those things but myself, because if I had not put myself in that situation, I would not be sitting here today," Fullilove said.

Fullilove was accused of fraud when she applied for a Tennessee driver's license after it had already been seized in Mississippi on a DUI charge.  Later, she was caught driving in Memphis with no license at all. And while on probation she was stopped again in Tunica and refused a breathalyzer test.  Prosecutors wanted Fullilove to serve 60 days in jail.

"She'd had a lot of times to where she was on probation, and a lot of times where she was given opportunities to correct her life," said Assistant District Attorney William Bright.

Fullilove said she began abusing prescription drugs and alcohol after she lost her job, suffered from back pain, and her husband suffered multiple heart attacks. 

"The most recent on was in October of last year," she said. "He suffered his fourth heart attack."

Judge Paula Skahan told Fullilove she'd made a lot of stupid decisions, but gave the city councilwoman a chance to stay out of jail and make smarter choices. 

"I just want to apologize again to the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County and just for your forgiveness," Fullilove said.

In addition to probation, Fullilove will be required to serve 150 hours of community service. Skahan said Fullilove is not allowed to have alcohol or drugs of any kind, unless they are prescribed by a doctor. She will also be required to join Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, and undergo random drug screenings.

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