IS A CHANGE OCCURRING IN EASTERN TENNESSEE?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 5, 2012) — Rex Peak, who turned himself in to Polk County authorities last June as a result of U.S. marshals having attempted to arrest him earlier this year, has had a $250,000 bond reduced to $50,000 by Judge Carroll Lee Ross and may be released from jail as early as this evening.
An eyewitness at a hearing held today in the Polk County courthouse on Peak’s case told The Post & Email earlier today about the bond reduction and that a trial date has been set for late March of 2013.
Peak told The Post & Email last spring that he was never charged with a crime following a motorcycle incident from May of last year which injured two acquaintances and himself. Peak has maintained that the $250,000 bond set by Judge Amy Reedy was entirely unreasonable. Reedy had issued a bench warrant for Peak while he was living in Florida despite no formal charges having been filed.
The Post & Email had attempted to gain access to documentation on the bench warrant from the U.S. Marshals’ Service but was eventually informed that an Open Records request would have to be directed to Judge Reedy as the requesting party.
Reedy eventually recused herself from the case, which Peak reported to us in a letter written in late September.
Polk County is part of the Tenth Judicial District, which The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported in August was under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), state Attorney General, and the state Comptroller’s office for allegations of misconduct on the part of prosecutors and members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
When The Post & Email asked the eyewitness if she thought the judge had treated the defendant respectfully, she responded, “I think he treated him pretty well.” However, she said that she was unable to hear Peak or his attorney; “only the judge.”
An attorney with whom Peak had consulted before surrendering to authorities had advised Peak not to turn himself in because Judge Amy Reedy would “hang” him, figuratively.
The eyewitness also said that while she was paraphrasing, Judge Ross stated in open court that “the court-appointed lawyer was a courtesy extended [to the defendant] and is loyal to the court.” She also said that Ross “had no idea why that bond had been so high.”
The Post & Email corresponded with Peak most recently on October 26. Peak has been incarcerated in the Polk County Detention Facility since June 18. A previous detention facility had been ordered closed by the fire marshal, who in reaction to the conditions he had found, declared that “Prisoners of war are treated better.”
Corruption in the Tenth Judicial District and other parts of Tennessee has been chronicled at The Post & Email for nearly three years.