April 28, 2006
by Rick Williams
Homerville -- Clinch county Sheriff Winston Peterson, through his attorney, is denying the sheriff or any county officials made particular statements quoted in an Associated Press report, about fees for inmates of the Clinch County Jail.
WALB broadcast the Associated Press story in which county officials were quoted as saying the fine was their way of punishing criminals for their crimes instead of taxpayers.
Now attorney Richard Strickland of Brunswick says neither the sheriff nor any county official ever made such a statement to the Associated Press.
The federal court case ended when both sides agreed to a settlement and Judge Hugh Lawson issued a consent order. In that order, the county agreed to stop charging the $18.00 daily fee and to repay about $27,000 to inmates charged the fee between November 2000 and November 2004.
The consent order also noted that the jail fees for pretrial detainees had been in existence for about 30 years, long before the administration of Sheriff Winston Peterson.
The sheriff's attorney says the consent order means there is no legal ruling made on the issue of whether the jail reimbursement fees are authorized under Georgia law.
Attorney Strickland says Sheriff Peterson is pleased with the settlement.
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