NATHANIEL RYAN ROBINETTE
ROGERSVILLE — The former Bean Station police chief’s son who was arrested a year ago after detaining a motorist and identifying himself as a police officer received a judicial diversion Tuesday in Hawkins County Criminal Court.
Nathaniel Ryan Robinette, 21, 664 Heck Hollow Road, Rogersville, was arrested on Dec. 14, 2012, after detaining a motorist in the Rogersville Walgreens parking lot and searching the vehicle while identifying himself as a police officer and brandishing a badge.
Robinette was indicted on charges including misdemeanor criminal impersonation and false imprisonment, as well as felony possession of a prohibited weapon for an automatic rifle belonging to the BSPD that was found in the trunk of his car.
Tuesday afternoon, Robinette pleaded guilty to both misdemeanor charges, as well as a reduced count of attempted possession of a prohibited weapon, which is also a misdemeanor.
Judge John Dugger approved Robinette’s request for a judicial diversion, which will allow his record to be expunged after he completes a year of probation.
That was the same plea deal that the attorney general’s office and defense attorney Jack Marecic had reached in Sessions Court, but was rejected by Sessions Judge J. Todd Ross.
Robinette is the son of former Bean Station Police Chief Phil Robinette, who resigned the day after his son’s arrest. Phil Robinette was also a former detective with the Rogersville Police Department.
Aside from having a Bean Station police badge, Nathaniel Robinette also had a fully automatic M-16 rifle and SWAT gear from the Bean Station Police Department in his vehicle at the time of the bogus traffic stop.
In arguing for the judicial diversion Tuesday, Marecic explained to the judge that Nathaniel Robinette had his father’s permission to have the rifle so he could repair it. Marecic noted that no firearms were brandished at the time of the traffic stop.
Marecic also noted that Robinette was a highly decorated Eagle Scout with letters of commendation from President George W. Bush, President Ford, Vice President Dick Cheney and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, among others.
Robinette admitted to the court that he’d followed and detained the driver of a vehicle that he had observed involved in a “road rage” incident on Route 66 just south of Rogersville.
“Nathaniel is an outstanding young man with a bright future ahead of him,” Marecic told the Times-News after the court hearing. “He made a mistake, but we fully expect him to successfully complete the court requirements. He plans to go on to college and get on with his life.”