Former Knox County Trustee John Duncan III is eligible for diversion, despite a state law.
Duncan pleaded guilty July 2nd to a felony charge of official misconduct and resigned from office. He was sentenced to one year of probation for giving more than $20,000 in bonuses to himself and other workers that he supervised. The bonuses were given for public administration coursework that was never finished.
Diversion means a conviction can be expunged from criminal records if a defendant serves probation without any further crimes. A law passed last year by the General Assembly prohibits diversion in cases where a public official is convicted of a crime related to service while in office. Duncan’s guilty plea is related to events in 2010, so that law does not apply.
In a formal legal opinion issued last year, Attorney General Robert Cooper said the law itself is constitutionally valid and the Legislature may properly set different conditions of sentencing for public officials than for others.
Duncan's father is Republican US Representative John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, Jr. The Congressman was present at the hearing.