Whisky Dispute


The owner of some collector's edition bottles of whisky was recently charged for illegal possession and careless driving on Interstate 59 in Clarke County by a state trooper.

He pleaded guilty to careless driving, but the possession charge was dropped in justice court. Now he wants the whisky back and has a signed affidavit from a judge.

But Clarke County is dry.

"The situation that I'm faced with, that I'd be in violation of the prohibition law of Clarke County, Mississippi, if I release any evidence or illegal whisky, beer, drugs, or anything else, to anybody," said Sheriff Todd Kemp.

Justice Court Judge Tobey Bartee presided over the case Tuesday morning and signed an affidavit that was brought to him, he said, after the sheriff declined to release the whisky.

"I signed the warrant which was served and at this point that's what led us to where we are right now," said Judge Bartee. "As for making comments on the case I'd rather not because I feel personally that it's all a political campaign that didn't have to come to this point."

But Kemp, who was joined by several dozen supporters at the Clarke County Courthouse, said he sees the law as cut-and-dried. Plus Kemp said it could set a precedent for other cases involving confiscation of illegal items, if the cases are dismissed in a plea bargain or for other reasons.

Apparently, the law does not specifically address the transport of even sealed liquor from a wet county into or through a dry county. Kemp requested a hearing before another judge, but that hearing was not immediately scheduled.