SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - wantGovernor Nathan Deal has appointed an interim sheriff for Worth County after Jeff Hobby was suspended.
On Monday, Deal announced he suspended Hobby from office by Executive Order.
Tuesday, another Executive Order was signed stating Bobby Sapp will fill the temporary vacancy as sheriff of Worth County pending the changes against Hobby or until his term ends, whichever comes first.
The Southern Center for Human Rights announced Tuesday that the total settlement fund will be $3 million in a federal civil rights lawsuit, which is the limit of the defendant's insurance policy.
A lawyer for Hobby issued the following statement:
The lawsuit was filed in July claiming nearly 900 students were searched without cause at Worth County High School in April.
The settlement, which is pending approval from U.S. District Judge Leslie J. Abrams, will be dispersed to all students who were present for the search.
An attorney with Atlanta-based civil rights law firm Horsely Begnaud, Mark Begnaud, said that if the settlement is approved each student will be sent home with a survey they are asked to fill out for an account of their experience during the search.
Each student will then receive between $1,000 and $6,000, and the students who were subjected to more invasive searches will get a higher amount.
Additionally, once all claims are resolved and attorney fees paid, the remainder of the settlement will be put into a fund to benefit Worth County High School students.
Begnaud said he hopes this settlement sends a message to law enforcement across the country that this isn't acceptable.
"It's a win for those who value civil liberties," said Begnaud.
Hobby and two deputies were indicted in October on charges related to the search.
Jeff Hobby will continue to receive his salary of $73,904 annually, while the suspension is in force, which is state law, according to Worth Co. Commission Chairman Fred Dent. Sapp's annual salary is $68,412, as set by state guidelines. Dent said that there is money in county's assets to pay the salaries, without causing a problem.
Hobby posted a statement to his Facebook page Wednesday night, thanking his supporters for standing behind him.
As of Thursday afternoon, that post was no longer publicly visible, but said this:
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