GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - A Tennessee State Representative found guilty of reckless endangerment could have the conviction wiped clean.
Greeneville State Representative David Hawk must clear a few hurdles before his conviction is erased, but as we found out Thursday, it's not the outcome the defense and prosecution expected when they walked into court this morning.
The sentencing hearing for State Representative David Hawk took a surprising twist Thursday morning leading to a tougher sentence than many expected.
"Although we disagree with the jury verdict, we are certainly glad judicial diversion will allow this nightmare to end for my daughters and I," Hawk said.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys walked into court with a mutually agreed recommendation. Judge Paul Summers rejected it almost instantly. "Frankly, I don't think this is a stringent enough requirement for judicial diversion to suit this court," the judge said.
Under state law Hawk is eligible for judicial diversion, which means if he completes the courts requirements his record will be wiped clean.
Judge Summers didn't dispute the diversion request, but he wanted a harsher punishment before Hawk's reckless endangerment conviction is erased. In particular, he wanted a longer probation term and community service. "I'm not talking about your elected community service, I'm talking about something that will be out there that the community can appreciate," he said.
Within an hour, a new deal was on the table and accepted by the court. State Representative David Hawk was placed on probation for two years, must perform 150 hours of community service through an approved agency, must pay $1,500 in restitution to his now ex-wife Crystal Goan, and must pay court costs.
If he's successful, his record will be cleared.
Prosecutor Joe Baugh says he would would like to have seen a tougher conviction. "None of it is what I would want, but it is what is in the best interest of everybody, the victim in particular," he said.
Hawk maintains he is innocent, but says the agreement allows his family to move forward. "This has been a huge strain on my daughters, myself, and my family. I would not wish this scenario on anyone," he said.
Prosecutors say if Hawk successfully completes his probation the additional assault charge will be dropped.
During his trial, a jury failed to reach a verdict on whether Hawk assaulted his now-ex wife last March.
We asked Hawk's ex-wife and the victim in the case Crystal Goan for her reaction to the decision. She declined to comment.