Concerns mount in Dougherty Co. electronic monitoring program - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Concerns mount in Dougherty Co. electronic monitoring program

Lawyer Phil Cannon has contacted judges, prosecutors, and the Sheriff, recommending changes. Lawyer Phil Cannon has contacted judges, prosecutors, and the Sheriff, recommending changes.
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An attorney says Dougherty County should improve its electronic monitoring program by modeling it after Lee County's.

Lawyer Phil Cannon has contacted judges, prosecutors, and the Sheriff, recommending changes.

He says murder charges filed recently against two men wearing electronic monitors at the time of the crime brought his concerns to the forefront.

Cannon says WALB's investigation highlighted concerns he has had with Dougherty County's ankle monitor programs, and concerns for his clients who have worn those monitors.

"I want a change," said Cannon. "I want a change for the protection of the constitutional rights or those charged with a crime. And I want a change for the protection of the community as a whole."

Cannon says he thinks electronic monitors are a good alternative to locking people up for months when they are charged with a crime, and he met with Chief Judge Willie Lockette, District Attorney Greg Edwards, and presented a letter to Sheriff Kevin Sproul Friday, asking them to study and correct problems with the current program.

"It is not our Judges, our D.A., our criminal defense lawyers or our Sheriff that this issue surrounds," said Cannon. "It's not even the technology itself. It's how the technology is used and if it is used properly."

Cannon recommended that Dougherty County study how Lee County's electronic monitoring program is expressly designed and works.  Start GPS is Lee County's service company, and owner Rich Blanchard says he and Judge Jim Thurman receive immediate alerts when an offender's signal is lost.

"He'll contact a sheriff's deputy. He'll sign a warrant.  I'll swear out a warrant," said Blanchard. "The deputy will deliver the warrant to the Sheriff's Office and the Sheriff's Office will go pick up that person up."

WALB has not been able to get an official written protocol for Dougherty County, and there is apparent confusion in the reporting process. WALB aims to find out if [protocol] had any effect in the murder of Jamey Spurlock.

Two men wearing electronic monitors are charged with his death.

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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