Judge dismisses ex-Jonesboro police chief's petition

A Clayton County Superior Court Judge has dismissed a petition by former Jonesboro police chief Brad Johnson, which sought to appeal his suspension and subsequent firing from the job.

Johnson was fired in May of last year, by Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox, who stated that Johnson had not successfully completed a probationary period. The mayor had earlier suspended Johnson for wearing blue jeans on the job, and for what Maddox called disrespect of the office of mayor.

The Jonesboro City Council upheld the firing, and the suspension, but reduced the suspension from five days without pay, to two and a half days without pay.

According to court records, on Dec. 22, Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield granted a motion to dismiss Johnson's petition.

The motion was filed by the City of Jonesboro in August. "The petitioner did not respond to the motion [to dismiss]," Benefield said in the ruling.

The order dismissing the petition did not address whether the city acted properly in suspending and firing Johnson. The order dealt with the manner in which the petition was filed.

"This court finds that it is undisputed that the petitioner did not file a bond or a certificate along with the petition for a writ of certiorari," Benefield said in the ruling. "As such, the petition is subject to dismissal," Benefield wrote. "For the foregoing reasons, the defendant's motion to dismiss is granted," Benefield said.

Johnson's attorney, Keith Martin, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

When asked about the ruling, Mayor Maddox responded, "The judge saw, and agreed with me and the council, that we were in the right."

To replace Johnson on a permanent basis, the city named a new police chief last month. On Dec. 3, the Jonesboro City Council voted unanimously to name Interim Police Chief, Major Tim Jessup, the city's police chief.