Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sheriff Grady Judd's Policy on Recording Upends Justice System

Sheriff Grady Judd's Policy on Recording Upends Justice System

Published: Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 12:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 10:46 a.m.

Sheriff Grady Judd is very proud of the work his deputies do, and very, very confident that they don't make any mistakes. How else to interpret his glee that he is now being allowed to tape and review telephone conversations between jail inmates and their attorneys (full disclosure: I'm a Polk County attorney).

Was there really any reason other than meanness or obstructionism that caused him to stop the program that allowed private phone conversations between inmates and attorneys? Aren't those inmates "presumed innocent," by the way?

Not to Sheriff Judd, who, as reported in The Ledger, said "he isn't concerned whether inmates stay longer in jail while their cases are being resolved. "I'm never concerned when criminals can stay in jail longer," he said. "We're not overcrowded. We've got plenty of room."

As a voter, I am concerned when law-enforcement officials show such zealous enthusiasm for their power to lock people up that they lose any concern for the inherent fairness of our criminal-justice system. Sheriff Judd knows perfectly well that the probable cause that allows a deputy to lawfully arrest a citizen only requires about a 50.1 percent chance that he got the right guy.

Many inmates in the jail are men or women charged with domestic violence, who were falsely accused by spouses or partners who got in the first call to the Sheriff's Office, and therefore were able to maliciously lock them up.

A few months ago I happened to walk through the lobby of the Polk County Courthouse in Bartow, where James Bain had just been released from prison, where he had served 35 years of a life sentence for a Polk County crime that was belatedly but conclusively proved he had not committed. This is the kind of "criminal" Sheriff Judd has decided to cut off from phone contact with his attorney.


Highland City


B Anderson said...

Let the incarcerated meet w/their legal counsel face-to-face. I commend our Sheriff Judd for taking full advantage of the law and tape recording all his "guests" phone calls. Judd has done more for our county than the last 5 sheriffs before him put together. Quit your griping and get a life!

Anonymous said...

this is criminal intent,illegal wiretap, sedition & violation against supreme laws of the land...let him and the rest with his ilk be arrested for treason against the constitution of the united states.Let them serve out their time in a federal institute and see how they like the wait for due process....couple of years will do them and the rest of Floridas self rightous & worthless predators some time to think about their jobs & moral obligations to enforce the law and not spin the law to fit their egos ...and throw in a couple of attorneys ..those that will not defend the constitution...