Gadsden Residents To Governor: Keep Sheriff Young

Sep 2, 2015

Local officials and sheriffs deputies gather on the Gadsden Courthouse steps in support of Sheriff Morris Young.
Credit LHatter / WFSU News

Gadsden County community leaders say they want Sheriff Morris Young to remain in office. Nearly 200 people came out Tuesday afternoon for a press conference in support of the sheriff.

Young was recently convicted of indirect contempt of court, a misdemeanor. He was accused of illegally letting prisoners out of jail on furloughs. Some of those prisoners committed crimes while released. But Tallahassee NAACP President Dale Landry believes the case was politically motivated, and blames State Attorney Willie Meggs, who prosecuted Young.

“A lot of that was a smokescreen thrown up to sensationalize this. None of that was ever factored to an investigator to see if that was true," Landry said.

Gadsden County Commissioner Brenda Holt  argues Young has made Gadsden safer, and says he didn't do anything differently than previous administrations.

“There was nothing done any different except he reduced the length of time you could be furloughed from 24 hours to eight hours. So he made the program better.” 

Young's misdemeanor carries a $500 fine, and part of the rally was dedicated to paying it--in pennies. There’s no state rule governing jail furloughs. Rep. Alan Williams says he’ll seek to clarify it during the upcoming legislative session. Meanwhile Young’s attorney says he’ll appeal. Governor Rick has stripped elected officials accused and convicted of crimes, from their offices. In a statement, the governor’s spokeswoman says the general counsel’s office is reviewing the matter.