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Monday, November 2, 2015

Report: Crime down locally Morgan Sheriff says tough stance on drugs contributed to decrease - Updated

Franklin claimed no Homicides reported in 2015.  Duh! Sheriff Franklin must not realize that she is responsible for reporting homicides to Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.  That was as of 2015.  Perhaps things have changed since way back then.....

I apologize in advance for this long winded blog.  I have to admit that I regret wasting time on more Sheriff Franklin's long winded commentary when I really want to work on the many different versions of the Sheriff's Financial Ledgers.

Before I began discussing Sheriff Franklin's long commentary I would like to commend Police Chief Johnson, City of Athens and Police Chief Taylor, City of Decatur for their well thought out comments.  Police Chief Taylor's comments about high visibility in the neighborhoods and putting their focus on being seen is critical in fighting crime.  One of the most disturbing comments that Sheriff Franklin has stated time and time again is the fact that she only has four or five roving patrols on shift at any given time.  Throughout her tenure as sheriff, she has made that comment many times.  News Break.  Sheriff Franklin who do you think is listening to these comments in the news?  Can we all say criminals?

Last but not least, Chief Taylor said he believes many factors contributed to the city's decline in all crime categories except theft, which increased 3 percent.  Johnson agreed adding “One of the things you see with theft, especially shop lifting, is people who can't make it financially.”  He went on to say the decrease in crime may be because the area has been better off financially than it was immediately after the recession, in 2008-2009.  Chief Taylor I must commend you for the last excerpt that I intend to blog about in regards to you and Chief Johnson.  Taylor said “There are a lot of factors that influence crime rate.  We certainly would like to take the credit for all of it, but that wouldn't be accurate.  I am very proud of the men and women in our police department for the hard work they're doing.”

I would like to ask Chief Taylor and Chief Johnson how many hours a week they spend at their respective police departments.  This question is vital to solving some of the issues that are plaguing the Morgan County sheriff’s office.  I suspect these two Chief's spend many hours of hands-on management in their departments to ensure that they are on top of any emergency that may arise.  The only time anybody in the community sees Sheriff Franklin is when a camera is placed in her face or there is a horse to ride.

Sheriff Franklin!  Stop the media blitz.   Nobody is trying to take credit away from the hard working men and women who protect and serve the citizens of Morgan County.  They are the backbone of the Morgan County sheriff's office.  They must be because you are missing in action (MIA) or absent without leave (AWOL) week after week, month after month, year after year.
  
Sheriff Franklin, I believe that as of November 1, 2015 you have been in office for 1,747 days.  During this time frame, you have spent far more time out of the office than you have in the office.  In the past three weeks I believe you spent 1 and ½ days in the office.  Sending out directives at one and two o’clock in the morning to your secretary to send to all sheriff office employees doesn't count.  You cannot run the sheriff's office long distance. 

I find it interesting that the Daily reports on your tough stance on drugs contributing to a decrease in the crime rate.  This report comes after a blog in which you reportedly told the media that your drug task force had busted over 1,000 Meth labs in 2013 and 2014.  The bottom line is that that report was an absolute figment of your imagination.  You do not need to fabricate stories.  Did it upset you because you got caught fabricating a tall tale?  If you are really interested in my blog why don’t you respond to some very important issues like the inconsistency of your financial ledgers, your independent auditors compilation report, and the State Examiner’s audit.  How many sets of books do you have?  More to come today on the Sheriff’s Inmate funds.  I would like to focus on the Prisoner Jail Fund and the Federal Inmate Fund.  Yes Virginia there are two separate accounts and the beat goes on…….  Sheriff Franklin also noted in the Sunday edition of the Decatur Daily that according to the ALEA there were no homicides in Morgan County in 2014.  Sheriff, did you forget to report something to the ALEA?  Maybe you were out of town when at least two homicides occurred in Morgan County in 2014. Franklin was careful to blame the ALEA as stating there were no homicides.  Sheriff Franklin news break:  Did you report the homicides to the ALEA?  Guess Not!

Homicide #1 UPDATE: Suspect in custody in Morgan County homicide


Homicide #2  Somerville murder suspect turns self in to sheriff
Posted: Feb 23, 2015 5:32 PM CSTUpdated: Feb 23, 2015 10:10 PM CST

Sheriff Franklin continues by saying that inside my jail we have over 60 classes every week to help inmates make positive life changes.  Sheriff Franklin, I hope that is one of the statements that you have made that is actually true.  People who are incarcerated need positive reinforcement, education and training, mental assessments, parenting skills training, and counseling for domestic violence.  I hope that this statement has more truth to it than the article where you reported that you have a mental ward and qualified staff to run the ward 24X7.  I am pleased to report that the mentally challenged lady that was incarcerated in your jail from April 2015 – October 2015 has now been sent to Bryce State Mental Facility for proper treatment.  I could ask why the lady wasn't housed in your mental ward with 24X7 qualified caregivers but I already know the answer to that question.  The Morgan County Sheriff's Office Mental Ward with 24X7 qualified caregivers was another figment of your imagination.

Now onto the Sheriff's comments on bail and bonding.

Sheriff Franklin posted on Facebook last week that “a judge determines that the bond should be set higher – the judge can override the bond fee schedule and set the bond at a higher rate.  Our job, at the Sheriff’s Office, is then to house the defendant until which time he/she has made bond be set higher – the judge can override the bond fee schedule and set the bond at a higher rate.”

The Sunday edition of the Decatur Daily Franklin is quoted “Once they get in here, they’re staying if they need to" Franklin said.  “People ask me all the time why people who commit the same crime have different bonds set, and that’s because we take a lot of factions – like the offender’s history, their part in the crime at hand and their likelihood of being a danger to the community – into consideration when we request bond.”  Sheriff Franklin who is we?  Do you keep a mouse in your pocket?  Since when does the sheriff request bond?  I do recall stories of your ordering the DA as to what your desires are.  Do you think the DA and the judges are incompetent to perform their jobs.

The man charged with shooting three people at the Street Fury motorcycle club’s clubhouse on the Fourth of July filed a civil suit against the Morgan County sheriff this week, alleging his bail is excessive, court documents show.
Norris J. “Chopper” Guillot III is being held in Morgan County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail for three counts of first-degree assault in the shootings of Joshua Dewayne Kirkland, 26; Sharon Kirkland, 46; and Anthony Strong, 21, at the clubhouse at 703 12th Ave. N.W. shortly before 5 a.m.
Guillot’s attorney said the “excessive bail,” which, according to court documents was set by Morgan County Judge Jennifer Howell, violates the Eighth Amendment.
“Excessive bail is not permissible,” said attorney Thomas E. Drake II, of Cullman. “At this point he has a $300,000 bond, and he is indigent. A person who doesn’t have the means to bond out is entitled to a reduction in bail.”
Sheriff Ana Franklin and Judge Howell could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

I do not condone anyone shooting people and I can’t say what is and is not excessive bond.  Sheriff Franklin, why are you in the judge's knickers?  Don’t you have enough Federal lawsuits without sticking your nose in the bonding issues? On another note what is your relationship with Three Sisters Bonding?  I posted a blog in regards to your relationship with Three Sisters Bonding a week or so ago.  I believe that I posted that Three Sisters Bonding gets 50 percent of the bonding fees in Morgan County.  I stand corrected. The actual percentage is more than 60 percent.  Wow!  Can you explain how this is happening?

Sheriff Franklin continues her lengthy article by stating that when she took office the Jail housed between 235 - 250 inmates. Today the jail averages 460 – 480 inmates because for the higher push for higher bail and bond revocations.  Who’s pushing, you?

Here is the law on releasing defendants:
Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 7. Release. Rule 7.2. Right to release on one’s personal recognizance or on bond. (a) BEFORE CONVICTION. Any defendant charged with an offense bailable as a matter of right may be released pending or during trial on his or her personal recognizance or on an appearance bond unless the court or magistrate determines that such a release will not reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance as required, or that the defendant’s being at large will pose a real and present danger to others or to the public at large. If such a determination is made, the court may impose the least onerous condition or conditions contained in Rule 7.3(b) that will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance or that will eliminate or minimize the risk of harm to others or to the public at large. In making such a determination, the court may take into account the following: 1. The age, background and family ties, relationships and circumstances of the defendant. 2. The defendant’s reputation, character, and health. 3. The defendant’s prior criminal record, including prior releases on recognizance or on secured appearance bonds, and other pending cases. 4. The identity of responsible members of the community who will vouch for the defendant’s reliability. 5. Violence or lack of violence in the alleged commission of the offense. 6. The nature of the offense charged, the apparent probability of conviction, and the likely sentence, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance. 7. The type of weapon used, e.g., knife, pistol, shotgun, sawed-off shotgun. 8. Threats made against victims and/or witnesses. 9. The value of property taken during the alleged commission of the offense. 10. Whether the property allegedly taken was recovered or not; damage or lack of damage to property allegedly taken. 11. Residence of the defendant, including consideration of real property ownership, and length of residence in his or her place of domicile. 12. In cases where the defendant is charged with a drug offense, evidence of selling or pusher activity should indicate a substantial increase in the amount of bond. 13. Consideration of the defendant’s employment status and history, the location of defendant’s employment, e.g., whether employed in the county where the alleged offense occurred, and the defendant’s financial condition. 14. Any enhancement statutes related to the charged offense. (b) BAIL SCHEDULE. The following schedule is established as a general guide for circuit, district and municipal courts in setting bail for persons charged with bailable offenses. Except where release is required in the minimum scheduled amount pursuant to the Rules of Criminal Procedure, courts should exercise discretion in setting bail above or below the scheduled amounts. BAIL SCHEDULE Recommended Range Felonies: Capital felony $50,000 to No Bail Allowed Murder $15,000 to $ 75,000 Class A felony $10,000 to $ 60,000 Class B felony $ 5,000 to $ 30,000 Class C felony $ 2,500 to $ 15,000 Drug manufacturing and trafficking $ 5,000 to $1,500,000 Misdemeanors (not included elsewhere in the schedule): Class A misdemeanor $ 300 to $ 6,000 Class B misdemeanor $ 300* to $ 3,000 Class C misdemeanor $ 300 to $ 1,000 Violation $ 300 to $ 500 Municipal Ordinance Violations $ 300 to $ 1,000 Traffic-Related Offenses: DUI $ 1,000 to $ 7,500 Reckless driving $ 300 to $ 1,000 Speeding $ 300 to $ 500 Other traffic violations $ 300 to $ 500 *$300 was set as the lower limit in compliance with Ala. Code 1975, § 15-13-105, providing that "in violation and misdemeanor cases the minimum amount of bail shall be $300 for each offense charged. (c) AFTER CONVICTION AND SENTENCING. (1) A defendant who has been convicted of an offense and who for that offense has been sentenced to punishment by death, by life imprisonment, or by imprisonment for a term in excess of twenty (20) years, shall not be released. (2) Any defendant who has been convicted of an offense for which the defendant has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment for twenty (20) years or less may be released on a secured appearance bond or on the defendant’s personal recognizance, (i) Upon application for release made concurrently with the filing of a notice of appeal, or (ii) If the application for probation is made, upon application for release made at any time before probation has been granted or denied. (d) DENIAL OF RELEASE. Release shall be denied after conviction and sentencing if the trial court has reason to believe that an appearance bond or conditions of release will not reasonably assure that the defendant will not flee, or that the defendant’s being at large poses a real and present danger of harm to any other person or to the public at large, or if at the time the sentence was rendered, the defendant filed a notice of appeal and elected to waive release and to begin serving the sentence. [Amended 11-30-93, eff 4-1-95; Amended eff. 5-17-95; Amended eff. 8-1-97; Amended 6-21-2007, eff 9-1-2007.] Committee Comments The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Art. 1, § 16, Alabama Constitution of 1901, provides: “That all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great; and that excessive bail shall not in any case be required.” See also Ala.Code 1975, § 15-13-2, and -3, for right to bail as a matter of right. Assuming that the offense is bailable, Rule 7.2 is based on the presumption of innocence of the accused and the policy that a defendant should be released pending trial whenever possible. The defendant is eligible for a recognizance release unless the judge determines that the defendant’s presence would not thereby be reasonably assured or that the defendant poses a real and present danger of harm to others. The list of factors to be considered is taken from the ABA, Standards for Criminal Justice, Pretrial Release 10-5.1 (2d ed. 1986). Section (b) recognizes that after conviction the defendant is no longer presumed innocent and is not entitled admission to bail as a matter of right. If the defendant’s sentence is for twenty (20) years or less, he can be admitted to bail, in the judge’s discretion, unless the judge has reason to believe that bail will not reasonably assure that the defendant will not flee, or that there is a real and present danger to others posed by the defendant’s being at large, thereby modifying Ala.Code 1975, § 12-22-170, which unconditionally allows bail if the sentence does not exceed twenty (20) years. Under Rule 7.2(b)(2)(i), a convicted defendant may apply for release on an appearance bond or on his personal recognizance at the time of filing a notice of appeal. This changes former practice whereby application for release had to be made with the filing of notice of appeal at the time sentence was rendered (i.e., at the time sentence was pronounced), an unduly restrictive, unfair, and technical trap for the unwary practitioner. See Ex parte Downer, 44 Ala.App. 77, 203 So.2d 132 (1967); Ex parte Rogers, 53 Ala.App. 245, 298 So.2d 665 (1974); Ex parte Pennington, 57 Ala.App. 128, 326 So.2d 656 (1976). For “Appeal as of Right—When Taken,” see A.R.App.P., Rule 4(b). Cf. Fed.R.Crim.P., Rule 46(c). Rule 7.2(b)(2) allows some discretion to the trial judge in releasing the defendant on bail or on the defendant’s personal recognizance. If the defendant has initially filed a notice of appeal at the time sentence was pronounced but elected to waive release and to begin serving the sentence, and thereafter requests that the sentence be suspended, whether to grant bail is left to the discretion of the trial court. There are no cases on this point, and there has been some question whether the trial court retains jurisdiction over the defendant, because the defendant will have already begun serving sentence. However, it is preferable that the trial court make the release decision, because that court is more familiar with the case, because the record is usually still with the trial court, and because any witnesses would be more readily available to that court. Rule 7.2(b)(2) conforms with the Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure. Rule 9(b) of the appellate rules provides: “Release after judgment of conviction shall be governed by Title 15, §§ 368 and 372 [Ala.Code 1975, § 12-22-170].” Committee Comments to Amendment to Rule 7.2 Effective April 1, 1995 Rule 7.2(a) applies to pretrial release and is based on the presumption of innocence of the accused and the constitutional and statutory right of a defendant charged with a noncapital offense to be released on bail pending trial. The 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, “Excessive bails shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The Constitution of Alabama includes the additional guaranty that all defendants charged with noncapital offenses have an absolute right to bail prior to conviction. Article 1, Section 16, Alabama Constitution of 1901, provides: “That all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great; and that excessive bail shall not in any case be required.” The allowance of bail as a matter of right prior to conviction is also recognized in Ala.Code 1975, § 15-13-2, and has been held to apply to defendants charged with noncapital offenses who are subsequently arrested for failure to appear on their scheduled court dates. The provisions of Rule 7.2(a) authorizing judges and magistrates to release defendants charged with bailable offenses on their personal recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond are based on the presumption of innocence of the accused and the policy that a defendant should be released pending trial whenever possible. A defendant charged with an offense that is bailable as a matter of right is eligible for a recognizance release unless the judge or magistrate determines that the defendant’s presence would not thereby be reasonably assured or that the defendant poses a real and present danger of harm to others. As used in this rule, “personal recognizance” means a release of the defendant without any condition of an undertaking relating to, or deposit of, security. Such release is distinguishable from release conditioned on the posting of bond or other security. Subdivision (a) lists certain factors the court may consider when setting bail. This list incorporates the factors previously included in Rule 2, Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, and is taken from the ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Pretrial Release, 10-5.1 (2d ed. 1968), written to ensure that judicial officers not give inordinate weight to the nature of the present charge. The term “community” as used in subsection (a)(4) shall be liberally construed and not limited to the court’s jurisdiction. Section (b) of the rule provides a bail schedule for trial courts and magistrates to use in setting bail for persons charged with bailable offenses as set forth in this rule and Rule 18, Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. The bail schedule, previously contained in Rule 2, Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, has been revised to reflect legislative changes in the maximum amount of bail for municipal ordinance violations and the incorporation of drug offenses into the Criminal Code and, in some instances, to recognize the increased penalties now authorized for the certain enumerated offenses. Upon recommendation of the Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Rules of Judicial Administration, the Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure recommended this amendment to Rule 7, Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, to incorporate the bail schedule (as amended), which was previously included in Rule 2, Rules of Judicial Administration. It was the consensus of both committees that, with the adoption of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the bail schedule should be included in Rule 7 of the criminal rules rather than continued in a rule of judicial administration. Except where release in the minimum scheduled amount is required by law, see, e.g., Rule 4, Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, the bail schedule should be regarded only as a discretionary guide. The bail schedule is based, in part, on the offense classification system established under the Alabama Criminal Code. The “capital felony” category is intended to cover those offenses provided in Article 2 of Chapter 5 of Title 13A, Code of Alabama 1975 (“Alabama Criminal Code”), and amendments thereto. Municipal ordinance infractions are included within the discretionary bail schedule to assist municipal courts and district courts having jurisdiction over municipal ordinance cases in setting bail for persons not released from custody and comports with § 12-14-5, Ala.Code 1975, establishing the maximum bail authorized for municipal ordinance violations. Because drug-related offenses are now included in the Alabama Criminal Code, these offenses are not itemized separately. Although custodial arrest is not authorized for most traffic offenses, see Ala.Code 1975, § 32-1-4, these offenses are listed within recommended ranges for bail, to serve as a guide in instances where the defendant refuses to sign the promise-to-appear portion of the Uniform Traffic Ticket and Complaint. Section (c) recognizes that after conviction the defendant is no longer presumed innocent and is not entitled to admission to bail as a matter of right. If a defendant’s sentence is for twenty (20) years or less, the defendant can be admitted to bail, in the judge’s discretion, unless the judge has reason to believe that bail will not reasonably assure that the defendant will not flee, or has reason to believe that there is a real and present danger to others posed by the defendant’s being at large. Thus, Section (c) modifies Ala.Code 1975, § 12-22- 170, which unconditionally allowed bail if the sentence did not exceed twenty (20) years. Under Rule 7.2(c)(2)(i), a convicted defendant may apply for release on an appearance bond or on the defendant’s personal recognizance at the time of filing a notice of appeal. This changes former practice, whereby application for release had to be made with the filing of a notice of appeal at the time the sentence was rendered (i.e., when the sentence was pronounced); that former practice presented an unduly restrictive, unfair, and technical trap for the unwary practitioner. See Ex parte Downer, 44 Ala.App. 77, 203 So.2d 132 (1967); Ex parte Rogers, 53 Ala.App. 245, 298 So.2d 665 (1974); Ex parte Pennington, 57 Ala.App. 128, 326 So.2d 656 (1976). For “Appeal as of Right—When Taken,” see A.R.App.P., Rule 4(b). Cf. Fed.R.Crim.P., Rule 46(c). Rule 7.2(c)(2) allows some discretion to the trial judge in releasing the defendant on bail or on the defendant’s personal recognizance. If the defendant initially files a notice of appeal when the sentence is pronounced, but elects to waive release and to begin serving the sentence, and thereafter requests that the sentence be suspended, whether to grant bail is left to the discretion of the trial court. There are no cases on this point, and there has been some question whether the trial court retains jurisdiction over the defendant, since the defendant will have already begun serving the sentence. However, it is preferable that the trial court make the release decision, since that court is more familiar with the case, the record is usually still with the trial court, and any witnesses would be more readily available to that court. Note from the reporter of decisions: The order amending Rule 7.2(b), effective September 1, 2007, is published in that volume of Alabama Reporter that contains Alabama cases from 957 So. 2d. 

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