Clayton Co. commissioner pleads not guilty to DUI

by: Mark Winne Updated:

Wole Ralph
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —

Documents obtained by Channel 2 Action News show Clayton County Commissioner Wole Ralph has asked for a jury trial over a long list of charges including DUI.

In a document titled “Waiver of Arrangment and Demand for Jury Trial,” Ralph’s lawyer, James K. “Skip” Sullivan, said Ralph is pleading not guilty.

Ralph was arrested after being pulled over on Metropolitan Parkway in southwest Atlanta in February 2011. According to a police report, officers “could smell an overwhelming odor of alcohol coming from Mr. Ralph’s (breath) as well as his person.” Police said he refused all related DUI testing including field sobriety as well as a Breathalyzer.

Fulton County Solicitor General Carmen Smith has filed charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, less safe; failure to maintain lane; reckless driving and two counts of obstruction of an officer.

In October, an Atlanta senior assistant solicitor confirmed a deal dropping DUI charges had been on the table for Ralph, but the solicitor’s office and a judge decided to avoid any appearance of impropriety because of Ralph’s relationship with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. The case was sent to a Fulton County court instead of Atlanta Municipal Court.

The assistant city solicitor said her office had offered to let Ralph plead guilty to reckless driving in return for dropping other charges, subject to a judge’s approval, but Ralph had not accepted yet and Fulton County prosecutors were not bound by the offer.

The charges brought by Fulton Solicitor General Smith were filed on Jan. 31.