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Jonesboro residents support councilman after arrest

Jonesboro City Councilman Joe Compton

Jonesboro City Councilman Joe Compton

— Several residents who follow Jonesboro politics closely believe one of their city councilmen deserves a second chance after he was arrested last week and charged with driving under the influence.

Councilman Joe Compton, 55, is facing DUI, striking a fixed object and making an improper lane change charges after he allegedly ran into a neighbor’s mailbox and ran his truck off the road last Wednesday. He allegedly had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.239 grams during the accident, which is three times Georgia’s legal limit of 0.08 grams. He was released from jail last Thursday on a $9,500 bond.

However, residents who attended a Jonesboro Neighborhood Watch cookout Monday night said they and their neighbors are supporting Compton, who has served on the council since 2009.

“People seem to be really upset with the media coverage of this, and the way the TV stations have really blown this up when they don’t pay much attention to anything else happening in the city,” said Jonesboro resident Beverly Lester.

Several residents and city officials said they don’t like the act Compton is accused of doing, but they still stand behind him as a person and as a city leader. That support will likely be needed as the case moves into Clayton County State Court, and as Compton deals with any impact the arrest will have on his personal life.

It is Compton’s second arrest for DUI. He was previously arrested in September 1982 and charged with driving under the influence and speeding-35 miles per hour or more.

“I haven’t heard anything but support for him,” said former city Councilman Billy Powell.

Jonesboro Mayor Joy Day and some of Compton’s colleagues on the city council declined to talk at length what they think may have prompted last week’s incident because they didn’t want to speculate on personal matters in his private life.

But, they are not yet ready to give up on their colleague.

“I would support him the same way I would support any other council member,” said Day.

Last week, police said Compton allegedly knocked his neighbor’s brick-encased mailbox off its foundation, lost control of his truck, swerved across the street and ran off the road before continuing down the street to his Arnold Place home. Jonesboro police allegedly found him lying in his driveway and unable to stand on his own.

Clayton County police were called in to handle the investigation because of Compton’s position on the city council.

His attorney, James Studdard, Sr., told reporters last week that Compton is “remorseful” about the incident, and colleagues who attended the neighborhood watch cookout Monday were not ready to cast any stones.

“I just think everybody deserves a second chance,” said Councilwoman Pat Sebo.

Compton did not attend the cookout because of a family emergency in Gwinnett County, his colleagues said.

Councilman Randy Segner said he believes his colleague has the full support of the six-member Jonesboro City Council. He said Compton, a plumber, is usually one of the first people to help a person out if a tree has fallen on his or her house, or if he or she is having a drainage ditch problem.

“I just hope he doesn’t quit and resign his seat over this because he really is a good guy,” said Segner.

City leaders, as well as some residents, said they believe in Compton in large part because of work he has done to help improve the city’s quality of life.

One of those efforts was when Compton served as the chairperson for this year’s Jonesboro Days committee, said Powell. Under the councilman’s leadership, it grew in one year from a small event at the Jonesboro Fire House Museum and Community Center into a small, one-block street festival.

In 2009, Powell ran for re-election as part of a candidates block which included Compton and former Jonesboro Police Chief Brad Johnson. Compton was the only member of that block who got elected.

“I just feel like Joe’s worked really hard to make this city a better place to live,” said Powell.

But for now, all Compton’s supporters can do is rally around him to show their support. They’ll then have to wait as a community to see how the fallout from his arrest shakes out.

“We’re sad to see something like this happen, but we’re hoping for the best right now,” said Lester. “We don’t think people should judge him by this one instance."

Comments

debsdoing 1 year, 6 months ago

This is the thing If Mr Compton had not been on the council no one would be standing there going he needs a second chance. Well we all need a second chance. I run a community service for DUI in Clayton county and no one gets a break. I don't care who you are the law is the law. If a common person in Clayton county gets his second dui they will get 240 hours community service plus fine plus having to drop to see if you had drank this is at random. you have to go to AA meeting daily plus mental evaluation. Family counseling plus having to pay for all the drops and evaluation. I have watched this program cause people to lose jobs and family. So if the people in Clayton county that are common have to go through the humiliation of what they have done then so should the officials. Then they can see how the law affects the rest of us. Just because you have a title does not get you a get out of jail free card.

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DE 1 year, 6 months ago

To all those who believe this person deserves a second chance, go ahead and give him one. What about the others who have been charged three, four, five times? I guess you believe they also deserve another chance? Just don't come back later asking why one of these "Second Chance" DUI offenders is involved in another accident where someone may be injured or worse, a life may be taken. It may even be a loved one of yours that is injured or killed by one of these "Second Chance or Repeat Offenders". DUI IS SERIOUS!!! The consequences not only effect the violator, but those of us who are on the road with him or her unknowingly. It's time that the courts start throwing the book at these violators. Maybe then, they will learn it's not worth the chance of getting caught and convicted.

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MD 1 year, 6 months ago

No second chance in politics! When you do this, you lose the voters trust. When you run for public office, you should know better. Wole Ralph is another one. He is finished also in politics.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 6 months ago

...."Second Chance" ?

Quote : "it was not Compton’s first DUI arrest. Court records show he was charged in September 1982 with DUI and speeding"

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OscarKnight 1 year, 6 months ago

.......Too many people ignore Automobile Causalities & Fatalities, caused by careless drivers, until it happens close to home.

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DE 1 year, 6 months ago

The next time he may hit a child on a bicycle or a pedestrian walking down the street instead of a mailbox.

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debsdoing 1 year, 6 months ago

He is a public official and he needs to have the book thrown at him harder. You are the people we look to that are to represent us in the community.

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Robert 1 year, 6 months ago

I may have read the article wrong but I believe the Second Chance that is being refered to here is talking about his elected seat on the council and not about him being given some sort of second chance about driving under the influence. The news media dredged up the fact about this being his second DUI with the first offense being thirty years ago. The DUI laws were a lot different thirty years ago than they are now. I'm sure there will be the usual fines, probation, AA meetings and community services that anyone else would have to agree to.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 6 months ago

......What part of "The Second Chance" do you not understand ?

.....Maybe we should look into giving all of The Elected Officials, in this county, "The Second Chance" option when they commit a crime.

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MD 1 year, 6 months ago

Who would reelect someone who did this? OPPS! This is Clayton Country. I forgot.

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JonesboroResident05 1 year, 6 months ago

To all of you critics- It's not like his supporters are saying his DUI should be erased- he will get the fines and probation like everyone else.

His supporters simply don't want to see the MEDIA ruin a GOOD MANS name all because they want RATINGS, they should be covering more important things!

This isn't a rich crooked politician we are talking about, it's a blue collar community volunteer.

When a tree falls on your house, and Joe Compton shows up with a chainsaw to help, will you turn him away because of his DUI?

A prior charge in 1982 is laughable and happened before half of us were even born- it's not like he's running for president people- he helps the community for free out of kindness and that counts for something.

You could "hit a child tomorrow" just as easily as Joe Compton if you want to start living in hypothetical fairly land. He hit a mailbox, not a child- end of story.

Joe Compton has my vote any day and I hope he doesn't let this ridiculous media coverage get him down.

Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.

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DE 1 year, 5 months ago

He ruined his own name by Driving Under the influence!! And this was not the first time. This speaks volumes about this mans character and judgement, or rather lack of it. I personally don't know this man from "Adams House Cat." But I do know and have seen with my own eyes the tragedy of someone under the influence has caused. He just got lucky this time it was just a mailbox. He obviously didn't learn from his mistake the first time.

And to think or state that a DUI charge is "Laughable", says a great deal about your own character. Your words, not mine. I applaud the police for getting offenders like this off our roads. My only wish would be that the police would step up there enforcement of DUI/DWI roadblocks.

I applaud and commend him for helping others when in need. My hope is that he doesn't drive to the location to render the assistance.

The next time he decides to get "3 Sheets in the Wind", or over the legal limit, I hope he's got your phone number. This way you can pick him up and drive him where he needs to go safely. And the rest of us will know there is one less speeding drunk on the road.

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JonesboroResident05 1 year, 5 months ago

Your rebuttal is off topic, my issue was the medias ridiculous order of priorities to gain ratings. A community volunteer getting a DUI is hardly criteria for front page coverage, while thousands of DUIs happen in Clayton County annually that are NOT covered. This guys name is being slandered for ratings in my opinion.

Realize who we are talking about here- if he was a mayor or governor or anyone with political significance I could understand news coverage.

Frankly I don't appreciate the media flooding my TV with Big Bird, Britney Spears, and Joe Compton... meanwhile millions of my tax dollars are being robbed.

Also to clarify- no one said DUI was laughable, I think it's a HORRIBLE practice- but to consider one DUI 30 years ago as a "repeat offender" is certainly laughable and an obvious spin to make the story more sensational.

We can make up hypothetical scenarios on what could of happened all day but I prefer to base judgement on facts.

As far as I know this guy has never hurt anyone on the road and he's been driving longer than I've been alive. Over half the drivers today have a worse accident history than Joe Compton, one mailbox in 40 years of driving is pretty good.

If you're honestly concerned about safety, habitual accident offenders are your true danger regardless of DUI, texting, cell phone, bad driving, etc. Instead of raising their insurance premiums, suspend their licenses permanently for public safety. ( More than one violation per 30 years required of course). That would be a more honorable and important issue for news coverage.

So what do you propose- to remove this man from his position of voluntary community service while he serves his probation's mandatory community service? Please be logical.

Smart remarks like we "don't want him driving to help people" are pointless. If you knew the law- his license will be suspended for one year and then reinstated. You can't legally keep him off the road for any longer. Have I already pointed out most of you are worse drivers and more dangerous than him statistically?

Please I want to hear more relevant news. America will fail if we keep concentrating on such silly things. Don't be naive enough to think this story is even remotely important- the news couldn't even claim he's had a previous accident in 40 years of driving. Wake up people.

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DE 1 year, 5 months ago

He is an elected official. Even though it's small town Jonesboro, people expect better from their elected officials. They are held to higher standards. This is why I believe the News Daily reported it. Would you have preferred that they just kept quiet and swept it under the rug? That's what's wrong with our government today, from small town's like Jonesboro to the US Government. Too much is kept from the very people that elected them.

And the local paper has a duty to report on local issues in the community, good or bad, in an unbiased way. As I said earlier, he put himself in this position and has no one to blame but himself. From what I can tell, the News Daily has been honest and unbiased in their reporting of this issue. They have reported the facts and haven't judged him one way or the other. They have not slandered him in this article, just simply reported what their investigation has lead to. They obviously were able to obtain information regarding his 1982 conviction and deemed it necessary to report the facts of his driving record. The News Daily didn't make anything up. They just reported some relevant information that had also happened in the past which was similar as in this charge. This is our local newspapers job. So how can you have an issue with the News daily?

This man will have his day in court in front of a Judge and/or Jury of his peers. He will have his chance to explain his actions and accept any punishment our courts deem necessary to invoke for his lack of judgement. I make no bones about it, if found guilty, I hope the book is thrown at him. I have no tolerance for DWI/DUI for alcohol or drugs. Man or Woman, black or white, young or old, John Doe citizen or President. But I will also expect the News Daily to report the outcome of this case, no matter what. If they fail to follow up, they will have failed in their mission to report the news, good or bad.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 5 months ago

....JonesboroResident; Quit hitting the snooze button. This is an Election Official and The News Daily is our Clayton County Local News Organ. If you feel offended by the truth, take ashburn and call us tomorrow. ......Maybe this kind nonsense has been going on for too long in Jonesboro, and maybe it's been ignored, pushed aside, or brushed under the rug; but this kind of behavior is what has been giving this county the shame that it has earned.

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JonesboroResident05 1 year, 5 months ago

You said "reporting of this issue has been unbiased and only facts." What a joke.

Didn't you read the first story that claimed the police found Joe Compton passed out in his driveway beside his "mangled" truck ? Then the second story clarified that Joe Compton parked his truck in his driveway, walked to Deborah Glavin's house and sat by her mailbox until the police arrived. It doesn't get any more contradictory!

You said "And the LOCAL paper has a duty to report on LOCAL issues in the community, good or bad, in an unbiased way." With this I agree.

Apparently you aren't aware of 11 alive, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, WSBTV, CBSAtlanta, and Fox 5's coverage on TV. No one singled out The Clayton Daily except you and OscarKnight.

11alive and WSBTV claimed he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, this is a flat out lie. He wasn't charged with leaving the scene of an accident, the police only "initially responded to the call as a hit and run". The media routinely juices things up for ratings.

Channel 2's HEADLINE included "Councilman has been arrested for DUI in the past".

They substituted arrested once in 1982 with "arrested in the past" to paint the picture of a habitual offender for a shock effect. If you consider 2 offenses 30 years apart as habitual that's your own opinion, the law would disagree.

I think the critics on this forum are fed up with America's rampant political corruption and I can understand your frustration, but I'm not ready to crucify Joe Compton because of Bernie Madoff and Wall Street. This mans record indicates he's helped the community to a great extent and is remorseful for his mistake, lets not blow it out of proportion.

Furthermore, The Clayton Daily is the only organization who should be interested in this story. Apparently the rest of the metro area news stations couldn't find anything better to do.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 5 months ago

,,,,JonesboroResident; I have to salute your wholeheartedly efforts to support your councilman. Would you feel the same about elected officials, if they committed the same offense ?

.....Some has a closer bonds and ties to our city officials; I know about these long term bonds & friendships among city council members and residents. .

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OscarKnight 1 year, 5 months ago

......I form the same relationships with my Dogs and Cats.

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