Saturday, January 23, 2010

“Politicians Are Like Diapers.They Both Need Changing Regularly And For The Same Reason”

Sharon Barnes Sutton should resign immediately.

In 1996 she pled nolo contendere to the charge of “Bad Check” in Gwinnett County. Fast forward to January 2008; Commissioner Sutton writes four (4) separate bad checks on the same day to Costco in Duluth. Each check was under $500.00. Was that just a coincidence or was it deliberate? Did she know if she wrote a single check for the total amount, that she would be commenting a felony? Costco attempted to get Ms. Sutton to make the checks good. When she failed to, Costco had criminal arrest warrants issued for her arrest.

On January 21, 2010 she is involved in a traffic accident. The responding officer does his job. During the course of his investigation he finds she is wanted. We can only assume Ms. Sutton tells the officer who she is and he contacts his sergeant, S. Henry. Sgt. Henry does his job and notifies his lieutenant, Tom Whittington.

Whittington has been around the block a few times and is not stupid. We have to assume he contacted his chain of command and there was some sort of documentation. Judging from the AJC article “
Judge dismisses warrants for DeKalb commissioner”, someone found it appropriate to forward a copy of the documentation to the AJC.

Because Ms. Sutton is a politician, not a very good one at that mind you, everybody, including us here at DeKalb Officers Speak, and others outside the loop got all excited because she was not immediately arrested. No one except the ones on the scene or in the chain of command knows exactly what was said and instructed. Ms. Sutton, being a liar, said she would take care of it that night when she was released, but failed to do so, waiting until the next day.

Everybody starts jumping on the bandwagon accusing Whittington and others of making the wrong decisions and showing favoritism toward Commissioner Sutton. Un-informed buffoons from the GBI and the Gwinnett Sheriff’s Office (click here for AJC article “GBI, sheriff question DeKalb handling of wanted commissioner”) jump in and give their two cents worth.

Small problem though. See, the warrants were issued on January 8, 2008. According to O.C.G.A. 17-3-1 (2009), there’s this little ole sentence that reads: “Prosecution for misdemeanors must be commenced within two years after the commission of the crime.” So, if Commissioner Sutton had been arrested, then that could have caused big problems for all involved. (Also see Pickens v Hollowell and Opinion of Thurbet E Baker, Georgia Attorney General).

Are we defending Commissioner Sharon Barnes? Far from it! Her actions would leave you to believe she is a thief and a liar, of course she is a politician after all. We started this blog to defend our department from Terrell Bolton and Vernon Jones. Now we are defending our department from the likes of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, who selectively prints ill gained police documentation to make our officers, supervisors and the department look incompetent.

We are defending our department from the likes of Terry Gibbons of the GBI who should know better. We are defending our department from the likes of Sheriff Butch Conway and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department. If the warrants were such a big deal to them, then why didn’t they serve them? They could have at anytime over the past 2 years. She’s easy to find. We are defending our department from Costco for using the criminal justice system as a collection agency.

DeKalb Officers Speak is the first to call out and criticize our department and others when we believe it is warranted. But we will also come running to it’s defense when it is warranted.


Anonymous said...

“Prosecution for misdemeanors must be commenced within two years after the commission of the crime.”

That means the warrant must be issued within that time frame. Once the warrant has been signed, there is no time frame for when they can be arrested.
If your statement were true, then any criminal with a misdemeanor warrant would just leave the state for two years from the day of the crime.

Anonymous said...

tThis prob wont be posted but Ill say it anyway. Your nor protwcting the department. Please..... Your protecting your bud Tom... Not saying that is wrong but just call it as it is please.

Anonymous said...

I have so much respect for the person that wrote this article. Now who is looking stupid? All of you morons that were so quick to kick the dept under the bus. .Stop being so judgemental until the facts are out..Way to quote law and cases that have set precedent....Now what idiots!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon #1, you're wrong. Read the case law summary, particularly the paragraph on page 2-3.

"The Rockdale County District Attorney subsequently dismissed the charges because she [the accused] had a valid statute of limitations defense. The misdemeanor offenses upon which the arrest warrants were based had a two-year statute of limitations, and Pickens arrest had occurred five years after the arrest warrants were issued."

Anonymous said...

Does not bad checks become a felony when they are over a certain amount? My understanding is these checks were in the four hundred to five hundred dollar range each. But the point is this woman is on the budget committee as a Commissioner and a teacher in our schools in business and that my friends does not make her a good role model to her students. Does she teach them to not balance checkbooks? Does she teach them it is okay if you write checks without making sure you have the money to cover them?

Anonymous said...

Prosecution started when the warrant was issued. Sharon Barnes-Sutton needs to take responsibility for her actions that seem to have a pattern. Who goes to any store 4 times in one day and spends over $1000.00 dollars and then acts as if it was an honest mistake, whatever. Typical bullsh-t.

Anonymous said...

The warrant was issued in January 2008. Whittington would not have known when the crime actually occurred. The odds are about 50/50 that the warrant was issued after or before the date of this incident. The two year rule may be his defense but the real truth is he and Henry were scared because she is a politician. The officer or someone he told about the incident leaked the story. The question is who else knew and when did they know. If this had been anyone else it would have been officer to sgt. warrant confirmed I am 10-15. If you believe otherwise you are lying to yourself.

Anonymous said...

It's already been confirmed the internal memo summarizing the incident was leaked to the AJC (they credit it in one of the stories). It's just a question of who did it. It could have been someone in PD or someone in Decatur.

Anonymous said...

Sad back peddeling.

The warrant is an order from a judge commanding that any peace officer SHALL arrest. This is not open for discussion. Confirm the warrant & make the arrest.

The best way for a supervisor to protect himself is to follow the letter of the law & treat everyone equal. Start being intimidated by people's positions & changing the rules mid-game & you become the problem.

Prosecution (getting the warrants) started within 2 yrs. Don't try to come up with some sad excuse that they didn't even come up with at the scene.

Anonymous said...

When you read some of these comments you have to wonder how we function on a daily basis.

Its like the first thing that comes to your mind you type it and send before knowing the facts.

Just read the articles ,the inserts and it spells it out.

GCIC entry has a date of warrant issue it. This is how the Dekalb Sheriff knows when to remove the entry after expiration dates on misdemeanor crimes.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, who is the idiot running this blog?? This rant is so riddled errors it is pathetic!

The "uniformed buffoons" the blogmaster speaks of happen to be 100% correct!

Lets take a look at this gem:
"Small problem though. See, the warrants were issued on January 8, 2008. According to O.C.G.A. 17-3-1 (2009), there’s this little ole sentence that reads: “Prosecution for misdemeanors must be commenced within two years after the commission of the crime.” "

The crime (Deposti Account Fraud) occurred in Jan 2007. Costco was apparently aware of it in Jan 2007. They took out warrants in Jan 2008. That's one year later. One year later is LESS than the two year limit to prosecute misdemeanors. It's true! For misdemeanors, you must press formal charges within two years of discovering the crime has been committed. They took out warrants in ONE YEAR. You don't get a "get out of jail free card" because you weren't arrested within two years. I'm still going to Recorder's Court for stuff from 4 years ago!! The citations (misdemeanors) were issued within two years of the crimes though!! Get a clue! Have you ever even arrested someone??

But here's the real problem with the blogmaster's uninformed rant: these were four FELONY WARRANTS! Yes, deposit account fraud is a FELONY! The civics lesson on misdemeanors is totally irrelevant!! The statute of limitation on a FELONY is 7 years!! That means Costco had until 2014 to take out warrants for her!!

The deterioration of the blog continues!

Anonymous said...

Using the references posted in the article:

In Pickens v. Hollowell, the court said:
"However, we believe that Williams makes clear that police officers have no responsibility to determine the viability of a statute of limitations defense when executing a valid arrest warrant. The existence of a statute of limitations bar is a legal question that is appropriately evaluated by the district attorney or by a court after a prosecution is begun, not by police officers executing an arrest warrant."

That means police officers serve warrants, not interpret the law. What if she had known about the warrants and left the state, suspending the statute of limitations? How does the responding officer know how long she was out of the state and how much time to add to the statute?

From Thurbert Baker's opinion:

"When prosecuting a misdemeanor, the prosecution “must be commenced within two years after the commission of a crime.” O.C.G.A. § 17-3-1(d). For criminal cases, the statute of limitations generally runs from the time of the crime to the time of indictment."

That means that as long as the warrants were issued within two years, it is a good warrant, and should have been served.

If nothing else, it will be great fun to see how this fiasco progresses.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the blog is coming to the defense of it's friend LT Whittington, but the fact remains he made a bad call and now he needs to answer for it plain and simple. I like Whittington but he choose wrong in this case and he needs to be cAlled on the carpet about it.

Anonymous said...

Why are we still debating the 2 year statute of limitation for misdemeanors? This was a FELONY!!! Wait, scratch that! This was FOUR FELONIES!!

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see these people commenting on interpreting the law. They should be somewhere they can make a change.

I should say clueless...........

Anonymous said...

I hope this is not the future for Dekalb Police. The comment section leads us to believed that we cannot understand a ruling.

Anonymous said...

Did you say clueless , yes they do not know what they are talking about, four felony warrants.

This is a stupid department,

Anonymous said...

Department not stupid , it the comments that are stupid. I'm guessing people do not read the information.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for the blogmaster to explain the unnecessary civics lesson on misdemeanor charges when the commissioner was charged with felonies!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why everyone thinks its a felony. The news said 4 checks under 500.00 dollars , so it a misdemeanor. I'm not surprise that we are where we are today.

I hope we improve in our understanding of the law or .........reading.

Anonymous said...

I will say stupid , these are four warrants under 500 dollars. These are misdemeanor warrants. She wrote them 4 different time that day.

I guess you have to expect the Bolton recruits not to understand.

Anonymous said...

We are in a sad state of affairs when officers cannot read what is posted and in front of them.

Then these are not Bolton employees.

We would have this discussion to begin with.

Name the FELONY.

Anonymous said...

We ae very slow learners. We keep repeating ourselves.

Anonymous said...

I would say you do not know Lt. Whittington, That's all I have to say about him.

Anonymous said...

To Anon #11 who writes "With all due respect...", your comments are well put. I agree with you as it pertains to this matter. Just remember, statute of limitations for misdemeanors is two years, felonies are four years, serious felonies (violent crimes, ie: rape, kidnapping, etc.) are seven years, and there is no statute of limitation for murder.

Anonymous said...

My goodness. So many rambling comments back and forth about whether or not in this case these were misdemeanor or felony warrants. Don't guess or assume. Please, PLEASE, if you are officers, read and know the law, O.C.G.A 16-9-20, for Deposit Account Fraud, and the differences between what constitutes a misdemeanor and a felony.

When in doubt, you can always refer to the code in your handbook. If you are not carrying it with you, well now you know why you should. Don't guess in doing your job. Your job is to know.

Disappointed said...

Selective enforcement.

When we start selectively enforcing the law, we open a huge can of worms. Ethics and standards have gone by the wayside.

Where does it stop....we've started down this path and have been sliding down the slippery slope for a long time.

What ever happened to "we do it better, because we're Dekalb...we've taken an oath and our word/sense of honor is everything."?

Anonymous said...

I do not believe the decision to let Mrs Sutton go was Tom Whittington's but if it was his decision the punishment for malfeasance should go his way if it was higher than Him that is where the punishment should go. The fact that the warrant valid is factual as far as the charges being proven in a court of law that is up to a judge and/or a jury. It is not our job to try cases. Is there any doubt that Joe the plumber and anyone not a vip would have been enroute to Jail. No justice no peace,Know justice know peace.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of how old the warrants were, the officer should have had radio confirm the warrants. Once the agency who entered the warrants on NCIC/GCIC confirmed they were valid, the officer had a duty to arrest. It isn't up to a Sgt, Lt, Captain, or Major to say, "I think these warrants are too old to arrest her." They don't know the circumstances or details of the case. It isn't their place to make those kinds of judgments. If the warrants are valid, you're on your way to jail.

Anonymous said...

So true, the Gwinnett SO could have forward that warrant to Dekalb SO like they do so many other warrants to be served within the county. This seem to go further than the officer that responded to the fender bender. First of all she knew she had those bad checks out there but once again our local politican think they are above the law. We know next time, 99 that but cause it will be a next time.

Oh Me Oh My Oh... said...

omg. Prosecution is up to the district attorney or solicitors office. Not an officer. When the hit came back that she was wanted, the warrant should have been confirmed with Gwinnett to see if it was valid and if they would come and get her. If it was valid and they wanted to get her, she should have been transported to the Dekalb jail and placed on hold for Gwinnett to come and pick her up. UNLESS DeKalb also had charges. And in this case it seems there were none. This wasn't a DeKalb issue. No officer or supervisor would have been in trouble for following the law. If Gwinnett had been contacted, it would have been on them to confirm the warrant, and pick her up. The Gwinnett Solicitor (DA if they dont have a solicitor) would have then determined if he was going to proceed with prosecution, and the code section reffered to regarding two years is for that office. not patrol. You come across a wanted person you notify the agency they are wanted by. No if, ands or exceptions. If they do not reply or say they do not want them, and you have no charges on them, then they can go. This isnt complicated. Somebody nutted up, and its a simple error. Acknowledge it and move on. Commissioner Sutton on the other hand has some serious answering to do, and by jumping into the fray the focus is not where it should be. On her, the one who committed a fraudulent, criminal act.