From: Tim Nunnally <> Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 2:24 PM To: Miguel and Allison Aranda <akaranda@lldf.

org> Cc: Jimbo Woodson <>, "Christopher J. England" <>, Steve Anderson <>, Glenda Bumpus <> Subject: The incident involving Mr. Paul Lake

Ms. Aranda, Thank you for your letter of November 4, 2013. As I’m sure you are aware, decisions regarding probable cause and issuance of arrest warrants are made by neutral and detached magistrates who are not under the control or direction of city attorneys or the police. Therefore our office and the Tuscaloosa Police Department do not possess the power and authority sufficient to meet your demand that an arrest warrant be issued in this case. This does mean it is improper for a magistrate to consult a city attorney on the question of probable cause, because it is the prosecutor who must carry the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a criminal conviction. Such a consultation is in the discretion of the magistrate, who is granted broad powers to make probable cause determinations, and who remains neutral and detached in the process. My advice to a magistrate would be to never let the demands or status of the police, prosecutor, a complaining witness such as Mr. Lake, a potential defendant, or anyone else, affect the magistrate’s independent judgment. If an arrest warrant is ever issued, then the prosecutor would ethically be required to exercise independent professional judgment as to whether there is sufficient evidence to continue with the prosecution, and would be vested by law with prosecutorial discretion as to the proper course of action. I take the suggestions in your letter very seriously and in my opinion all City officials involved have followed the proper procedures while upholding the highest level of professional integrity and conduct. I respect the right of you and your client to disagree with City officials, but decisions concerning the filing of criminal charges are always taken very seriously and are based only on the evidence and applicable law.
======================================== Tim Nunnally -- City Attorney Office of the City Attorney

City Hall Building 2201 University Boulevard (35401) P. O. Box 2089 Tuscaloosa, AL 35403-2089 (205) 248-5140 (205) 349-0328 (fax) <The views and opinions expressed herein are mine and not necessarily those of the City of Tuscaloosa>

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