Verdict Reached in Lawsuit Against Wichita County

Published 08/22 2014 04:43PM

Updated 08/22 2014 04:45PM

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CHATTANOOGA, TN -- It took a nine person federal jury just one hour and twelve minutes to unanimously find in favor of the Wichita County defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit brought in the United States Eastern District of Tennessee.

The jury found that the Wichita County defendants did not violate the plaintiff’s civil rights or abuse the process. The plaintiff had claimed that the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office had her arrested without probable cause.

The plaintiff, a former Chattanooga photographer, Donna Johnson, stated she met Sheriff Duke at a convention in 2011 and she agreed to take photos of the sheriff's office staff. 

Duke says his department made payments to Johnson but never got the photos.

Then after repeated attempts to get them, theft charges were filed, which were later dismissed.

Johnson closed her studio shortly after taking the photos and took a new job.

She says she offered to send Duke some of the photos and continue working to finish the others at night after work, but attorneys for the county presented records showing she was still making withdrawals from her studio account to buy food and other personal items.

(Information from

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