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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Monthly Editorial Review

BLOGGER COMMENTS:  The A P publishes a monthly roundup of interesting and important newspaper editorials.  The Decatur Daily made the cut with its editorial on Ana's legal issues.  In case you missed it, here it is again.  The link is for all three of the editorials.

Nov. 20
The Decatur Daily on the end of recent legal battles for former Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin:
When Ana Franklin was elected Morgan County sheriff in 2010, there was the hope she would restore the office’s reputation, which had suffered under her predecessor, Greg Bartlett.
Bartlett had spent a night in jail after violating a court order regarding the feeding and care of jail inmates. That was all part of a larger situation involving a state law that, at the time, allowed sheriffs to pocket money left over from feeding inmates as personal income.
Bartlett earned the nickname “Sheriff Corndog” for a period in which he fed jail inmates corn dogs and little else after getting a truckload of the carnival staple for a pittance.
After finishing a close second to Bartlett in the 2010 Republican primary, Franklin went on to defeat him in the runoff, winning 53.4% of the vote. She would easily dispatch her Democratic opponent in the general election.
Franklin’s first term seemed to go smoothly, and she won the 2014 GOP primary in a landslide, with 79% of the vote. She had no Democratic opposition.
It was then that things started to take a turn, and by the end of Franklin’s second term, her legal problems involved a bankrupt car dealership, lawsuits and a federal investigation. Ironically, it also involved violating the same court order that had landed Bartlett in jail, opening the door to Franklin’s successful challenge for the office.
Franklin did not seek a third term in last year’s election, and she was succeeded by Ron Puckett, but the book on her tenure as Morgan County sheriff didn’t truly close until the past few weeks.
That’s when Franklin settled lawsuits with a critic and her former jail warden for searches of their homes.
Glenda Lockhart, a Falkville business owner who ran a website critical of the Franklin administration, filed her suit against Franklin and deputies Robert Wilson and Blake Robinson, in October 2016. Leon Bradley, whose 13-year tenure as the Morgan County Jail warden ended in October 2016 when Franklin fired him for allegedly providing official documents to Lockhart, filed his suit in July 2018.
“The Lockhart case and the Bradley cases settled,” Franklin’s lawyer, William Gray, said earlier this month. “They settled through mediation, and the terms are confidential. Basically all I can tell you is there was no admission of liability and all claims and counterclaims were dismissed.”
Franklin also entered a plea agreement to end her federal tax case.
Franklin pleaded guilty to the federal misdemeanor charge of willful failure to file a tax return in January and was sentenced last month to two years of probation and 300 hours of community service. An Oct. 21 order outlined the terms of the probation, including the prohibition on her possessing firearms.
Franklin successfully argued last week to have the firearm provision revised so she can keep one gun at home for personal protection.
Despite the best of hopes, Morgan County has now had two sheriffs leave office in disgrace.
We hope Sheriff Puckett puts an end to that trend.

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