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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Attorneys: Franklin's use of jail food money didn't harm inmates By Keith Clines Staff Writer Apr 5, 2017

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How does Barney know if lack of food money has harmed the inmates?  Has he been to the jail and conducted an inspection?  For months Barney and Sheriff Franklin refused to allow a non-appropriate organization out of Tuscaloosa entrance to the jail to inspect the well-being of mentally ill inmates.

Perhaps the lack of food funds didn't harm the inmates.  Perhaps it was lack of food that harmed the inmates caused by misuse of inmate food funds.  Maybe it was from lack of food because Sheriff Ana Franklin would not allow the corrections officer to purchase food such as fresh meats and vegetables, fruits, real milk, juice, and grains to sustain the inmate's weight. 

Why is Barney so insistent that the sheriff should not be required to use ALL inmate food funds for feeding the inmates?  Is it because Sheriff Franklin has already spent more money out of the inmate food funds than she claimed to have spent?  Maybe Barney should ask the judge to set up a special slush fund for Sheriffs.  He could call it “Sheriff Slush Funds”.  Hey! I thought there was already a fund set up such as that.  It’s called Discretionary Funds.  Franklin could have used the Discretionary Funds for just about anything.  Why did Franklin take the legal chance of getting caught with her hand in the cookie jar?  Greed.

Attorneys for Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin contend in a court filing that Franklin’s withdrawal of $160,000 from the jail inmate food account for other purposes did not cause inmates to be underfed and that she should not be found in contempt of a federal consent decree.
The response filed late Monday said a 2009 amended consent decree requiring inmate food money be spent exclusively for that purpose applied to then-Sheriff Greg Bartlett, but not to Franklin.
“Nothing in the record — now, or in 2009 — supports any findings, explicit or implied, that the only way to provide a ‘nutritionally adequate diet' to inmates is to spend all the money in the food account on feeding the inmates,” the response filed by Barney Lovelace and Mark Maclin said.
U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon has scheduled a hearing for April 14 at 1:30 p.m. in the federal courthouse in Decatur to hear arguments why Franklin should not be found in contempt of the decree.
The Southern Center for Human Rights, which was assigned by the court to monitor the lawsuit, asked for the show-cause hearing because Franklin removed $160,000 from the account in 2015 for other purposes. Franklin loaned $150,000 of the money to a now-bankrupt used automobile dealership.
The court in 2009 found Bartlett in contempt of the 2001 decree that the sheriff provide inmates with nutritional meals. Bartlett cleared himself of contempt by proposing that all money received for feeding inmates be spent to feed inmates.
“More importantly, this court, in 2009, did not find that the retention of excess money received by Sheriff Bartlett for the feeding of inmates violated a federal right of the inmates to be fed a ‘nutritionally adequate diet,’ ” Franklin’s attorneys wrote.
They said that restricting the use of inmate food money was “punishment” of Bartlett for his actions and personal only to Bartlett.
The Southern Center for Human Rights has said in court documents that the consent decree applies to Franklin because federal rules of civil court procedure made her a defendant when she succeeded Bartlett.
Franklin’s attorneys last week filed a motion asking Kallon to drop the requirement that the sheriff has to spend all the money received to feed inmates be used only for that purpose. The consent decree gave Franklin the right to ask that part of the 2009 amended decree be dropped after two years.
The Southern Center for Human Rights noted that Franklin never asked that the spending requirement be eliminated until after it asked for the show-cause hearing.
Franklin’s attorneys argue that inmates were fed properly from when she removed the $160,000 from the food account in 2015 to when she replaced the money early this year.
“In other words, there is no correlation between the withdrawal of funds by Sheriff Franklin and any violation of the inmates’ constitutional right to be fed a ‘nutritionally adequate diet,’ ” her attorneys said in their response to the center’s show-cause motion.
Franklin’s attorneys have argued that the 2009 amended consent decree requiring the money be spent only to feed inmates does not apply to Franklin because it was done only to clear Bartlett from contempt.
They have said that former U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon erred when he amended the original decree without a finding that “the relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the federal right … .”
Franklin and her attorneys also have noted that Clemon did not find unconstitutional the state law that allows her to keep leftover food money. Franklin’s annual salary is $68,000.
Lovelace declined to comment on Monday's filing.
Sarah Geraghty, managing attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday. or 256-340-2438. Twitter @DD_KeithClines.

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