9News Investigators: Springfield Police Chief, Mayor can resign and avoid trial

9News Investigators: Springfield Police Chief, Mayor can resign and avoid trial

SPRINGFIELD, LA (WAFB) - In Springfield, Police Chief James Jones and Mayor Charles Martin could avoid going to trial, but they have to resign from their current positions.

That's the offer the Louisiana Attorney General's Office has put on the table for the duo facing four felonies each.

In April 2011, a then Springfield police officer pulled over a woman named Tyra Jones for allegedly driving the wrong way along Hwy 22 in Livingston Parish. Records show Jones blew twice over the legal limit at 0.185. According to investigators, at the request of the mayor, the chief asked his officer to reduce the DWI charge to a lesser charge of reckless operation. Fearing retaliation, the officer reduced the DWI to a reckless operation citation.

A year later, in 2012, the two were indicted on four felonies -- obstruction of justice, criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice, injuring public records and criminal conspiracy to injure public records.

The two were slated to go to trial in March 2014, but due to an injury to one of the accused, the trial dates were pushed. Plus, the Attorney General's Office has given the two an option to avoid trial.

The chief and mayor can plea to a lesser charge of a misdemeanor and resign from their current in lieu of going to trial where they're facing four felonies each.

When asked if the chief would be taking the offer, he said no comment and referred us to his attorney, who did not return the call. The mayor said he "didn't want to expand on that right now."

Both have up till two weeks before their trial begins to decide. Jones' trial is slated to begin April 28th and Martin's begins June 15th.

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