Judge hears sheriff's arguments for certification - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Judge hears sheriff's arguments for certification

January 5, 2007

Tifton  - Baker County Sheriff Isaac Anderson was indicted for obstruction of justice for not cooperating with investigators who claimed Anderson wrote a false incident report, but Anderson was acquitted by a jury.  

Soon afterward, the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council voted to revoke Anderson's certification for not cooperating, and that's where the court case begins. Sheriffs can't hold office without POST Certification in Georgia.  

Thursday, Senior Judge John Crosby heard arguments the certification should be revoked, which would leave the lawman unable to hold his job. Anderson's attorney Phil Cannon says after Anderson wrote a police report on December 7th of 2002, investigators in Florida began questioning its validity.

Cannon says Anderson cooperated until he realized he was the target of an investigation. Anderson wouldn't answer questions. 

"The assistance didn't have to be direct. The petitioner could have very easily dispatched one of his deputies to assist law enforcement officers," argued Robert Smith of the Attorney General's office, saying that Anderson violated his oath of office when he refused to cooperate.

Anderson's attorney says he didn't have to. When he decided to keep quiet, Cannon says it was part of Anderson's 5th Amendment right. "That is an illegal conclusion. It is fundamental that Sheriff Anderson's constitutional rights far outweigh any duty or obligation to the state, county, anything."

The POST council created a policy declaring all Georgia sheriffs have to be post certified to remain a sheriff. Cannon says the council did it to target sheriff Anderson.

Smith denies that. "Mr. Anderson was not the target of that legislation. I want to put that to rest."

Now it's up to Judge Crosby to review both arguments and make a decision.

Anderson presented a petition to the judge with 479 signatures showing support of the sheriff. Judge Crosby says he wont consider it since it was not presented as evidence in the original trial. Sheriff Anderson remains on the job.  

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