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Legal action shuts down 'club' in Warren County where several criminal incidents have occurred

WARRENTON, Ga. - Warren County Sheriff Joe Peebles says it's a welcomed relief that he and his deputies apparently won't have to answer any more criminal-related calls to a club on the outskirts of Warrenton, known as Jessie's Place.

The reason: It's been shut down based on a civil order handed down by Toombs Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway, Jr. last Friday in Warren County Superior Court.

Later that afternoon, Sheriff Peebles, along with Deputy Joey Akers and William Doupe', senior assistant district attorney, went to the property off Pine Avenue where they posted a notice of the civil action on the door. The sheriff also taped off the area and had the locks changed on the doors.

The action was filed against Glenda B. Johnson, Jessie Johnson and Jamaal Johnson - all of whom were declared defendants in the case, according to court records.

A hearing to "show cause" is set for May 8 at 1:30 p.m. in Warren County Superior Court where the defendants will be allowed to state to the court why such a civil order should not be continued.

Sheriff Peebles said his office has received an assortment of calls to the club during the past several years - one of which led to a felony assault of Deputy Sheriff Joey Smith during an incident about two years ago. A beer bottle, which was thrown in the direction of the deputy, narrowly missed hitting him in the face.

In his order, Judge Dunaway said Jessie and Jamaal Johnson "are restrained and enjoined" from approaching within 1,000 feet of the property until further order of the court.

Toombs Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dennis C. Sanders and Mr. Doupe' appeared in court seeking the closure of the club in a civil complaint to abate public and common nuisance last Friday.

"This complaint is brought by information provided by Joe Peebles in his official capacity as Warren County sheriff," court records show.

Mr. Sanders said the case boils down to having discovered a possible way to deal with the criminal elements in neighborhoods where the safety of the public is jeopardized.

"We didn't have a choice; they don't have a license," Mr. Sanders said.

One of the last straws came about recently when three men - two from Warren County and one from Thomson - reportedly were assaulted by a group of men dressed in black clothing with high-powered automatic weapons.

"We can't let that go on," Mr. Sanders said.

Web posted on Thursday, April 30, 2009

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