Alabama Sheriff, Mystery, and Blogger Who Cried Wrong
In Florida, a federal appeals court ruled in 2014 that detectives from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office violated an accused’s constitutional rights during what his lawyer had assumed was a privileged and private meeting. in a closed-door interview room in the sheriff’s office. Unbeknownst to lawyer Anne Marie Gennusa, detectives were secretly monitoring the conversation. When the client gave Ms. Gennusa a written statement, detectives rushed in, “forcibly grabbed her” and arrested him, attaching the statement to his arrest report, according to court records.
County governments have budgetary control over sheriffs, but nothing else. They may threaten to withhold money, but they face criticism that they are endangering law and order.
In Arizona, voters kept re-electing Mr. Arpaio despite his long list of misconduct complaints. And in Putnam County, NY, Sheriff Donald B. Smith has repeatedly and wrongly accused local prosecutor Adam Levy of protecting an undocumented immigrant during a rape investigation. Like Sheriff Franklin, Sheriff Smith appeared in the video campaign for tighter border control.
It took a libel lawsuit for Sheriff Smith to finally admit this year that he had lied; the lawsuit was settled with $ 125,000 in public funds. “Technically he responds to voters, but I would say he didn’t really respond to anyone,” said Michael Sussman, an attorney for Mr. Levy. In November, voters finally had enough and kicked him out of office.
Sheriffs may undergo voluntary state or national accreditation investigations, but their agencies rarely have their credentials stripped for rule violations.
Some sheriffs have been in office for so long that it is almost unthinkable to evict them, regardless of their records.
Public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson tells the story of his client in his book “Just Mercy” Walter McMillian, a black man with no previous felony conviction who was arrested by Sheriff Tom Tate and other officers in Monroe County, Ala., in 1987 and sent to the death row for shooting a store worker 18 year old white.