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Gadsden Sheriff Drops Appeal Over Furlough Misdemeanor Conviction

Gadsden County Sheriffs Office

Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young is dropping his appeal of indirect contempt of court charge.  The legal wrangling stem from Young’s decision to let some offenders out of jail on furloughs.

Young was found guilty of indirect contempt of court: the punishment, a 500-dollar fine. In September about 200 people protested the decision and held an impromptu fundraiser to pay Young’s fine in pennies.

In a statement released by Young’s spokesman Sean Pittman, Young says he’ll no longer appeal the decision, and is apologizing for what he calls a distraction. Young also says the county has a new furlough program in place that has been approved by a circuit judge.

State Attorney Willie Meggs accused Young of illegally letting prisoners out of jail on furloughs. Some of those prisoners committed crimes while released. Young’s supporters contend the sheriff didn’t do anything differently than his predecessors and if anything—made the program better by reducing the length of time a person could be out.

There are no laws on the books governing furloughs, but state Rep. Alan Williams, who represents Gadsden and Leon Counties, has said he wants to clarify that.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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