Board seeks more inmate data

Published 8:02 pm Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, with a 4-3 vote along party lines, instructed the county manager and two attorneys doing work for the county to obtain more detailed information about inmates in the county jail from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Commissioner Hood Richardson said Sheriff Alan Jordan and his office are not providing enough details concerning jail inmates to the commissioners. Richardson said he’s been unhappy for several months because the sheriff’s office has not been providing commissioners with all the inmate-related information that he has requested.

“I want the board to authorize the manager and the two attorneys to extract the information using all legal means available — writs of mandamus, whatever it takes,” Richardson said.

Mandamus is a judicial remedy in the form of an order (writ) from a superior court to a subordinate court government, corporation or public authority to perform a specific act that that entity is obligated under law to perform. A write of mandamus cannot force an authority to do something prohibited by statutory provision.

“The information is on the location — as a monthly report — of all persons held by Beaufort County and who are on ankle bracelets or whoever are restricted in any way,” Richardson said.

The vote was along party lines. Republican commissioners Stan Deatherage, Al Klemm, Gary Brinn and Richardson voted for the motion. Democratic commissioners Jerry Langley (board chairman), Ed Booth and Robert Belcher voted against it.

Richardson accused the commissioners who voted against the motion of protecting the sheriff.

“Has he done enough favors to you that you can’t do something for him? What is he doing for you? What is the corruption in this? There’s got to be corruption in this somewhere,” Richardson said.

After the vote, Richardson addressed County Manager Randell Woodruff, County Attorney Billy Mayor and attorney David Francisco, who does some legal work for the county.

“Now, let me say this now that we’ve done this. You three guys are on the hot seat because I’m not going to let you off the hot seat. You better go do your job or people are going to be hearing a lot about you guys because these guys were slick enough to lay it on you. Understand? You’re it,” Richardson said.

Booth replied, “Do y’all understand that he don’t have the votes to do nothing to you?”

Richardson responded, “Do you understand that public pressure will do a lot more to you than anything that I can do? The public is concerned about this stuff. The public is tired of putting up with this.”

Brinn added, “We’re just beating our gums right now. That has been passed. They know their jobs. Let’s just leave it at that. There’s no need to discuss until they don’t come back with it. If they don’t come back with it, then we’ll discuss it again.”


About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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