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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What could happen to Alabama sheriff who used jail food money in crooked car lot investment?

BLOGGER COMMENTS:  The wheels of justice are slowly grinding forward as we count the days (7) until Ana's fate is determined.  Trackers in Vegas are not giving odds.  If the suspense is getting to you, just image how it feels to the sheriff.  "Shakin' like a leaf on a tree" as Elvis sang.  If it goes the way all of us believe it should, the next time she runs for anything, it'll be for the border!


BY ASHLEY REMKUS 

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said she's complied with court orders, met her constitutional duty and adequately fed inmates in the local jail. But a civil rights group in Georgia, one long since monitoring that jail, says she should be held in contempt of court for pocketing money meant for inmate meals and using it to finance a crooked car lot.
The case has been tied up in federal court. So what happens next? Does the sheriff face any penalties? Can she keep unspent inmate meal money?
U.S. District Judge Abdul K. Kallan has broad discretion in whether to hold Franklin in contempt for using the jail's food money to invest $150,000 in a crooked used car lot. Kallon has ordered Franklin to show cause for why she should not be held in contempt at a hearing next week at the federal courthouse in Decatur.

If Judge Kallon holds Franklin in contempt, the Morgan County sheriff could face a variety of punishments, including fines, fees, criminal prosecution or jail time, the Southern Center for Human Rights argues in court records.
For months, Franklin has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Atlanta-based Center because she removed $160,000 from the jail's food account and loaned $150,000 to a crooked used car lot. Click here for more information about the crooked car lot, which has filed for bankruptcy.

When she withdrew the funds, Franklin violated part of a 2009 consent decree that prohibits the Morgan County Sheriff from spending food money on anything other than inmate meals, Judge Kallon ruled during a previous hearing. Paragraph 22 of the consent decree covers the food account.

The sheriff could be ordered to pay damages, court costs and attorneys fees, the Center, which represents Morgan County Jail inmates, said in court records. The judge also could refer the sheriff to criminal court for prosecution, according to a brief filed by the Center's lawyers.

At the upcoming court hearing, Franklin is expected to argue why she should be able to keep as personal money any unspent food funds.  In general, Alabama law allows sheriffs to pocket excess inmate meal money. But, a consent decree, which resulted from a 2001 lawsuit, governs the food account in Morgan County because of past underfeeding of inmates and the profiting of a former sheriff.

A judge should not find Sheriff Ana Franklin in contempt for violating the consent decree if the court decides to terminate the provision, her attorney argues.
Before the Center filed a motion for the sheriff to show why she shouldn't be held in contempt, Franklin already had replaced the money in the food account.
Franklin wants Kallon to terminate Paragraph 22 of the consent decree because she argues that inmates can receive a constitutionally required, nutritionally adequate diet even if she makes a profit from the food money.
In Morgan County the sheriff receives $1.75 per day for the feeding of each Alabama inmate. For federal inmates, she receives $3 per meal.
The Center's attorneys argue in their brief that the judge can hold the sheriff in contempt and impose sanctions, even if he agrees to terminate Paragraph 22.
Although the sheriff has returned the money to the food account and says she is in compliance now with Paragraph 22, "the court may nonetheless impose retrospective contempt sanctions for her previous noncompliance," the inmates' attorney Sarah Geraghty wrote in court records.
Geraghty wrote that while civil contempt sanctions often are used to correct a defendant's violation of a court order, judges have the authority to require the complainants be compensated for losses sustained.
For example, court documents show, if the sheriff were required to pay one cent per inmate for each day the money was removed from the food account, Franklin would have to pay a nominal award of $3,424.50. That number is based on 342,450 inmate days, which was calculated using the number of inmates in the jail and how many days they were housed during the time the money was removed.
Franklin's attorney, Barney Lovelace, has argued, however, that if the judge terminates the paragraph, no sanctions should be imposed and Franklin should not be held in contempt.
Lovelace told AL.com holding the sheriff in contempt doesn't make sense because she has properly fed the inmates, which was the intent of the consent decree.
"All the cases I've cited in our brief state it would make little sense to hold someone in contempt in the purpose of the order in question has been complied with," Lovelace said. "We plan to present overwhelming evidence that the inmates were fed a nutritionally adequate diet. To me, that's the most important issue here."
The court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 at 10:30 a.m.


10 comments:

  1. First, Franklin said she borrowed the money from her retirement. Then she admitted that she took the money from the Inmate Food Fund, but that she was entitled to it in the first place. The bankruptcy attorney for the car lot plainly stated that Franklin was never paid back the $160K she "loaned" them. Yet Franklin repaid the $160,000 she took from the food fund, anyway. For one thing, Franklin has not only changed her story about this whole thing more than once and lied about it, but if she was legally entitled to that money she took to begin with (if it was really "hers," like she claims), then why did she feel obligated to pay ANY of it back, let alone the entire amount?! Also, where did the money she used to repay what she had taken from the food fund come from; after all, $160K is not the kind of money that most folks has just lying around and/or available at the drop of a hat. This woman is as crooked as they come and needs to be not only held in contempt of court, but removed from office and locked up ASAP.

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    1. $150,000 is only a small portion of the money taken by Ana.

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    2. Just how much money has she stolen? She the only one stealing?

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    3. If this is only a small portion, where was the big money stolen from? Seems like it would be difficult to hide that kinda money.

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    4. If the judge rules that it was her money all along, then it ain't nobody's business where it went. The constitution says she'll have to pay to feed the prisoners regardless.

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  2. You say she "paid it back", who did she pay back? Herself? As I understand it, the state pays the food money directly to the sheriffs,I guess the sheriffs have to deposit it into a personal bank account.

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  3. What if the judge rules with the state law, and not the decree?

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  4. Corruption smells very bad here. I hope the federal judge forces her to be jailed...eat some of her tasty jail food

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  5. Sorry Barney she visited your office before she even took office in Nov 2011...your retired father in law told her clearly she had to abide by Judge Clemons orders. You submitted that bill to the County Commission for payment and they rejected it. Do you not remember any of that? She asked and your father in law told her nope...cant touch it. So why are you making yourself look like a fool and still fighting for her...Money is good...I would honestly quit while you have money in your pocket.

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