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Lawyer charged with not returning diamond ring found in parking lot

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 12:33 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 1:31 AM
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An Augusta lawyer surrendered to authorities Tuesday morning on a felony charge in connection with a lost diamond ring.

Davis  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Davis


Alexia Dawn Davis, 31, surrendered at the Colum­bia Coun­ty Deten­tion Center on a charge of theft of lost or mislaid property, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris. Davis was booked into jail Tuesday morning and released after posting a $2,500 bond, Morris said.

Davis, an attorney in the Office of the Public Defender in Augusta, is accused of not returning a diamond ring she found in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel restaurant Feb. 7.

Jane G. Prater, 62, of Thomson, reported the ring missing Feb. 12. She told deputies that she lost the ring, worth about $10,500, in the parking lot about 7 p.m. Feb. 7. A server at the restaurant said a woman who was with Davis went inside and asked what to do if she found a ring.

“(The) woman opted not to leave it with Cracker Barrel with the manager in control of lost and found and made a comment that it would be reported to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office,” Morris said. “And it never was.”

Morris published surveillance video from the restaurant in hopes of identifying the woman Feb. 19. The same day, nearly two weeks after the ring was lost, Davis took the ring to Richmond County authorities.

A warrant was issued for Davis for theft of lost or mislaid property. The charge is a felony because the ring is worth more than $1,500, Morris said. He said that by law, when “a person comes into control of property that they know to be lost or mislaid, they must take reasonable measures to restore the property to its owner.”

“That did not occur in this case,” Morris said.

Katherine Mason, the public defender for the Augusta Judicial Circuit, said she’s not allowed to comment on personnel matters.

Tanya Jeffords, one of four attorneys representing Davis, released a statement on behalf of her client Tuesday:

“No matter what shadow the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s office tries to cast upon Ms. Davis’ impeccable reputation and her motives, the legal fact is that she did not appropriate the ring for her own use, which is the crime this statute is intending to cover. When she learned who the owner was through the postings online from the Sheriff’s office, she promptly turned it in. She knew it was valuable but she had neither sold it nor wore the ring as if it was hers.”

Paula Frederick, the general counsel for the Georgia Bar Association, said no disciplinary action will be taken against Davis unless she is convicted.

“If she is convicted of a crime, that is a violation of the rules of professional conduct,” said Frederick, who does not know the details of Davis’ case.

Frederick said that if Davis is convicted, the bar association will ask the Georgia Supreme Court, which has the authority to discipline lawyers, for an “appropriate discipline.” If Davis is convicted of a felony, Frederick said, the bar association would likely ask for Davis to be disbarred.

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David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/27/13 - 09:15 am
1
0
Case closed

National ban on jewelry

HAH Page 3 :banana:

seenitB4
93263
Points
seenitB4 02/27/13 - 09:57 am
2
0
Blinded by the light

She was blinded by the bright gleam of the diamond.....I have had that problem too......sometimes it causes marriage....haha

Anyway...I couldn't find this woman guilty of a felony...no way Hosea.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 02/27/13 - 10:10 am
3
1
Why is this woman's picture
Unpublished

Why is this woman's picture still posted on the front page? Shame on the chronicle.

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 02/27/13 - 10:56 am
3
0
Riverman

I am not aware of any requirement in our laws that says she has to turn it in to the police. I think I was pretty firm on that; however, one misconception non-lawyers assume about lawyers is that we know every single law about every single subject. We don't.
I'm hesitant to stake my "reputation" on something I have not thoroughly researched and say there definitely is not a requirement somewhere in the Code that she turn it in. Heck, there could be a section that says your local sherrif also serves as president of the lost and found, and if you don't turn something in, his sidekick will drum up some charges Barney Fife style. If there is such a law, I am not aware of it. If I were representing her, I'd make sure though. All I can tell you is the particular crime they charged her with isn't going to stick if all the facts are here. Nolle prosequi is my hunch.

Riverman1
89956
Points
Riverman1 02/27/13 - 11:56 am
3
0
Let's think about the other

Let's think about the other problems. She is an assistant PD, who is in court often, I assume, opposing the ADA's. Lots of conflict of interest here. I think she was probably trying to keep it, but she did turn it in. So there's not much anyone can do about it. Plus, if no owner was found, she had as much right as anyone to keep it.

She graduated from Tulane University Law School, which is rated highly in the top tier of law schools...number 51. The tuition is $44,000 per year. That sends me the message that the charges will be dropped or she will be acquited.

thauch12
6970
Points
thauch12 02/27/13 - 01:10 pm
3
0
1. I'm surprised noone's

1. I'm surprised noone's noticed the irony of a public defender having to actually TRY to defend someone (herself) for once! (lawyer joke, noone get their panties in a wad :) ).

2. Honestly, the poor lady probably had more important things to worry about than taking the time out of her day to go deal with a ring she found (which by the way she would have no idea if it was real or not). She is a working professional and the fact that this wasn't her highest priority is certainly not surprising.

3. Add the clown who charged her with a felony to the list of stupid cops in the area along with the one who arrested the guy after his house burned down and the Grovetown officer who cited the guy for shooting a gun in his backyard. Seriously, go fight some real crime guys.

PUPPYMOMMA
1367
Points
PUPPYMOMMA 02/27/13 - 01:34 pm
1
3
This article reminded me of

This article reminded me of something that happened years ago when my son was in kindergarten. A teacher relayed this info to me. My son found a nickel on the sidewalk at the school. He turned it in to the lost and found. The teacher told him that if no one claimed it within a week, he could come back and collect it. A week went by, no one claimed it and he came home with his nickel.
I know a $10,000 ring is not the same thing as a nickel but if it's not yours, it's not yours.

PUPPYMOMMA
1367
Points
PUPPYMOMMA 02/27/13 - 02:33 pm
1
0
Seriously, a thumbs down for

Seriously, a thumbs down for honesty?

AutumnLeaves
9393
Points
AutumnLeaves 02/27/13 - 04:38 pm
0
0
I suspect...

I suspect the lawyer could be a she, Riverman1.

Fiat_Lux
16200
Points
Fiat_Lux 02/27/13 - 04:54 pm
1
0
Knowing lots of lawyers,

I'd bet dollars to doughnuts she kept forgetting about that ring, even if she did have some vague idea it might have been valuable. And it wouldn't surprise me to find out that she actually had every intention of trying to reunite it with its owner.

Someone who puts out the effort, time and money she has to become an attorney and then chooses to become a PD deserves the benefit of the doubt until there is sufficient proof that removes doubt of guilt.

It's terrible that her picture still is up. How long did that yo-yo lawyer who gave his kids' babysitter marija-wanna and then had a ménage à trois with her and the little wife have his picture up for the pleasure of all and sundry? And what he did was downright reprehensible. Doesn't he even (eventually?) get to keep his license?

This is a nothing charge that feels to me more like targeting or payback.

daviddunagan
343
Points
daviddunagan 02/27/13 - 07:33 pm
1
0
To local lawyer

Regardless of what the law says, aren't attorneys supposed to have some sort of ethical standards in a case like this? Isn't she an officer of the court? Sometimes you should just do the right thing regardless if "you are required to or not". DD

Young Fred
19134
Points
Young Fred 02/27/13 - 05:24 pm
1
0
@Watermedic "Let me get this

@Watermedic "Let me get this straight. Ms. Davis is a public defender right? Why would you guys say she has no morals? She has to have morals to take on some of the cases she represents in court."

I hope that was said with tongue firmly planted in cheek!

thecraftman
115
Points
thecraftman 02/27/13 - 06:01 pm
0
0
on the table

It wasn't like the ring was laying on a table, and Ms. Davis walked up and took it off the table!! And why do you get 30 days to claim an item, but don't get 30 days to turn an item in?

bubbasauce
22957
Points
bubbasauce 02/27/13 - 08:07 pm
1
0
Find it. Next step: get it

Find it. Next step: get it appraised. See it on Ebay for a "buy it now" price of $10,000. What else is there to figure out? Oh yes I forgot about the ole "Pawn shop" trick.

Darby
28250
Points
Darby 02/27/13 - 11:03 pm
2
0
"They should be required to take an ethics class in law school.

Too late,they already do that. Maybe she was out sick that day...

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 02/28/13 - 03:11 pm
0
0
Daviddunagan

Yes, no one disputes that. But we are talking about charging her with a felony that could result in disbarment. Those are serious charges. Again, let's see how this plays out. I don't see how they got a warrant.

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 02/28/13 - 04:49 pm
0
0
Fiat_Lux

I totally agree Fiat. The life of a lawyer is busy. We are never caught up with work. My poor wife has to wait weeks for me to check off that honey do list. We basically put out the biggest fires first, and I am sure this atty had dozens of pressing issues as over-worked as they are at the PD Office. I probably would have taken the ring to CCSD, but I don't think this lawyer broke the law as written. I also think there is a chance this atty thought she was in Richmond County if she was at the Bel Air CB. That's on the county line and she is not a native Augustan. I think she is from Texas. That might explain the suspicion as to why she said she would call RCSD and report it, and she may have - the people answering the phones there aren't all that concerned with lost and found.

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 02/28/13 - 04:57 pm
0
0
Thecraftman

@thecraftman that's a good point - had she found the ring on the table or on the sink in the bathroom, it would then be misplaced property and not lost property (the question turns on where the item was found). Misplaced property would mean Cracker Barell, Inc. would be the rightful owner against anyone in the world except for the true owner. With lost property, unless the finder is a trespasser, the finder has the right to keep the property, but to avoid violating the criminal code section, they have to take reasonable steps to return the property prior to appropriating the property for personal use. Think of it this way, would Capt. Morris be able to arrest the Manager of the CB had she turned it in and he or she did not take reasonable steps to return it to the owner within 2 weeks? Absolutely not! That same logic must apply unless they can prove she waited too long or went ahead and began wearing it or tried to sell it.

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