Owens files counterclaim against former Stanford police officer

November 11, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - A counterclaim against a former Stanford police officer has been filed in Lincoln District Court, stemming from a long-standing feud between the officer and the local businessman previously convicted of assaulting police.

Tommy Owens had served time in jail for fourth-degree assault after police answered a domestic violence complaint at the Owens residence and said he became combative during arrest.

Last month Owens and ex-police officer Mike Southerland had a confrontation outside Durham's Grocery, Lancaster Street. Soon after, Southerland swore out a summons against Owens for menacing.

This week, Owens bypassed the county attorney's office and filed a counterclaim against Southerland.

Lincoln County Attorney John Hackley said the move was legal, but he will not file counterclaims from his office. In essence, the first party to file takes precedence. This prevents the county attorney's office from having to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, conflicting stories for the same case.


Opposing parties are only allowed to file documentation with his office, said Hackley. Parties may approach a higher authority, however, to file a counter suit.

"Apparently you're allowed. You can directly approach the judge and get one," Hackley said.

Hackley said he understood the summons against Southerland was signed Monday by District Judge William Oliver.

As of Wednesday, the subpoena had yet to be served by the sheriff's department.

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