Coffee County resident Cindy Lowe this week filed a complaint with the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility against District Attorney Craig Northcott for an “Ethics Violation” in connection with an alleged domestic assault incident that took place in 2015, in which she believes Northcott neglected to prosecute her abuser because Joseph Floied was the brother of Manchester Assistant Chief of Police Adam Floied, and proceeded to maliciously pursue charges against her because she wouldn’t stop seeking justice.
This comes on the heels of over 300 Tennessee lawyers filing a complaint of their own seeking to have Northcott’s license suspended due to the statements The Holler surfaced back in June that clearly show he does not believe domestic violence laws should be used to protect people in same-sex relationships despite the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Northcott has been in the spotlight lately as the special prosecutor handling the case of civil rights activist Justin Jones, who is charged with assault for an incident with soon to be ex-speaker Glen Casada.
We recently outed Northcott’s open Islamophobia and homophobia, and his refusal to obey the supreme court’s marriage equality ruling, both of which which contributed to the decision by Jones to file a motion to have Northcott removed from the case.
That motion is still pending.
We’ve also reported on Northcott’s curious decision not have the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation look into whether or not Casada’s office falsified evidence to have Jones thrown in jail – even though the TBI has offered to do so, and Casada’s chief of staff has emailed Northcott encouraging him to do so as well.
Both Northcott’s unwillingness to respect the Supreme Court’s authority with regard to marriage equality and his refusal to call in the TBI speak to Northcott’s clear belief that District Attorneys are all-powerful and answer to virtually nobody. Northcott has even said as much in the past, where he told an audience:
“DAs have what’s called prosecutorial discretion. Y’all need to know who your DA is. Y’all give us a lot of authority whether you know it or not, we can choose to prosecute anything. We can choose not to prosecute anything, up to and including murder. It’s our choice, unfettered.”
The incident with Cindy Lowe may be yet another example. The complaint says the following:
“On May 24, 2015, Deputies from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department were dispatched to the residence of Cindy Lowe to perform a welfare check. Upon arrival the Deputies encountered Cindy Lowe and Joseph Floied in an apprehensive state. Deputies immediately noticed obvious injuries to Ms. Lowe. These injuries included blood on her face, bruising to her arm, and an unequivocal bite mark to her right arm. Due to the obvious and abundant injuries to Ms. Lowe, the Deputies encouraged Ms. Lowe to press charges against Mr. Floied.”
It goes on to say that Mr. Floied then told the deputies he was the brother of Manchester Police Department Assistant Chief Adam Floied, at which point they made a “courtesy call” to Adam, who came and picked his brother up and took him away without arrest.
Ms. Lowe says she “aggressively pursued justice with the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney Craig Northcott’s Office”, concerned that Floied would “evade justice” because of his connection to Manchester PD.
More from the complaint:
“During the early part of the investigation by Sgt. Danny Ferrell, Ms. Lowe was assured that it was clear to Sgt. Ferrell who the aggressor was and that based upon the evidence, she could not be charged. Later, after Ms. Lowe continued to aggressively pursue movement in the case, Sgt. Ferrell reversed course and declared that he would file charges against both Ms. Lowe and Joseph Floied. Ms. Lowe believes that she was only charged as a result of her unyielding determination to see that her assault would not go unpunished.”
She says that because of District Attorney Northcott’s handling of the case she tried to have him removed, but Northcott himself denied the request, and the subsequent motion to have him disqualified was also denied.
In July of 2016 the case against Ms. Lowe was dismissed. She then filed suit for Malicious Prosecution and violations of her 4th Amendment Constitutional Rights, but the the case was dismissed “without prejudice”.
Ms. Lowe contends that:
“District Attorney Craig Northcott has acted in violation of the Rules of Professional Responsibility and abused his position by: a) pursuing charges against her that were not supported by the evidence, b) pursuing charges against her despite that pursuit furthering an appearance of impropriety, c) misrepresentation in a legal tribunal to diminish the appearance of the impropriety.
As a result of these violations, Ms. Lowe reasons that DA Northcott has displayed a wanton indifference to his legal obligations as a prosecutor… a systemic abuse of discretion that is prejudicial to the administration of justice… she has been a victim of a miscarriage of justice perpetrated by a Prosecutor who has disregarded his prosecutorial obligations for personal and political purposes by abusing the broad discretion empowered upon him as prosecutor. Ms. Lowe asks this Board to weigh the evidence presented and to sanction Mr. Northcott accordingly.”
Lowes says that when the brother of the Assistant Chief of the Manchester Police Department is afforded preferential treatment in a domestic assault investigation, there is a strong appearance of impropriety:
“A courtesy call to Adam Floied as a member of the Manchester Police Department is a privilege not afforded to ordinary members of the public. The lack of an arrest in the face of the evidence at the scene is a privilege not afforded to ordinary members of the public. DA Northcott’s own admission that he informed Asst. Chief Floied, “I’m going to handle your brother’s case, or something like that, I’m going to go deal with that,” indicates a familiarity that is not afforded to ordinary members of the public.”
She says Asst. Chief Floied and DA Northcott have “an active and public social media friendship” which bring into question his impartiality and gives “the appearance of impropriety”.
“DA Northcott has recently demonstrated that he is willing to use his prosecutorial discretion for personal and political purposes. In a videotaped speaking engagement in 2018, DA Northcott made a proclamation at a gathering of religious leaders to explicitly announce that he would use his prosecutorial discretion for the sole political purpose of not prosecuting those who violate the law on Christian grounds. He stated, “So, to deal with that, you elect a good Christian man as DA, and you’ll make sure at least they don’t get prosecuted criminally.”
At that same gathering, DA Northcott revealed his reluctance to prosecute for domestic assault by stating, “There’s a subcategory of assault called domestic assault, But a domestic assault carries more punishment: You forever lose the right to own a gun under federal and state law, you have restrictions on your movement that you otherwise wouldn’t have under what we call ‘simple assault’ and there are other enhanced punishments.” The last statement indicates DA Northcott understands the ramifications of a domestic assault conviction and displays his hesitancy in applying it.”
Lowe contends these comments confirm DA Northcott abuses his position of power for his own political and personal benefit:
“DA Northcott has continued to make statements, without apology, about not applying the law or recognizing Constitutional protections to homosexuals or non-Christians. Ms. Lowe offers that in her case, it is not the promise to deny her full protection of the law, but it is the actual denial of the protections of the law. Ms. Lowe argues that this is calculated and intentional prosecutorial misconduct…
Ms. Lowe asks this Board to consider this complaint against the conduct of DA Northcott and to decide accordingly.