Ex-officer wants to withdraw plea in civil rights case

Published 5:36 pm Friday, May 30, 2008

Former Olive Branch police officer Adam McHann has asked a judge to let him withdraw a guilty plea in a federal civil rights case.

The U.S. Department of Justice is opposing the motion filed by McHann in federal court in Oxford.

In February, McHann pleaded guilty to a charge of deprivation of civil rights related to a 2003 arrest. McHann is awaiting sentencing.

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In court papers, McHann said he relied on faulty advice from his attorney to plead guilty. McHann said he is innocent of the charge.

The charge came from a March 8, 2003, incident in which prosecutors allege McHann violated a teenager’s civil rights by ordering a police dog to bite and maul him.

Two other officers had pleaded guilty to trying to cover up the incident and lying to the FBI about the cover up. They are awaiting sentencing.

McHann, according to court documents, contended his attorney told him that the other officers were prepared to testify against him and that if he pleaded guilty, he would receive probation and his record would be expunged.

The Justice Department said in a response filed May 23 that the advice McHann received from his attorney was competent. The government said McHann’s attorney would testify he discussed sentencing guidelines with McHann and did not give him false information.

Therefore, McHann knowingly and voluntarily entered his plea, the government said.

No date has been set for a hearing on McHann’s motion.