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Council approves pre-trial diversion program

The Atmore City Council approved an ordinance to establish a pretrial diversion program for the municipal court during its meeting Monday night.

The program helps keep infractions such as a criminal offense, including, but not limited to any misdemeanor, violation or traffic offense as defined by the Code of Alabama 1975, and or the Code for the city of Atmore, which was allegedly committed within the jurisdiction of the municipal court of the city of Atmore.

City Court Clerk Van Hughes said those interested in the program need to complete the program in order for the charges to be dismissed.

Hughes said the person’s criminal history is taken into effect when they apply for the program, adding that the offender is guilty of he or she doesn’t complete the program.

Participants in the program are taken on a case-by-case basis, and exclude those who have committed any violent crime involving a law enforcement officer, any offense involving eluding or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, and any offense involving violence where children under 19 are victims.

“Sometimes people slip up in life; this is for that,” Staff said.

Application fees are to be paid to the city.

In other business, the council:

• granted permission to Don Taylor to use Houston Avery Park for a Black History Month poster contest for children;

• proclaimed February as National Mentoring Month, and heard a presentation from officials from Big Brothers/Big Sisters;

• adopted a resolution to oppose legislation in regard to the Simplified Sellers Use Tax (SSUT);

• approved an ordinance to license and regulate used car sales and lots. “This goes along with the state regulations that used car lots have to follow,” Mayor Jim Staff said.

• and recognized Ben Odom, the recipient of the E.S.G.R. award, and Thomas Bailey of Johnson Ford, who nominated Odom for the award.