Archived Story

Harpersville court hearing cancelled

Published 2:33pm Monday, August 13, 2012

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

HARPERSVILLE – The Harpersville Town Council’s recent decision to abolish the town’s municipal court has set other actions into motion.

Shelby County Circuit Judge Hub Harrington produced an order July 11 equating the Harpersville Municipal Court with a “debtors prison.” Along with 12 “egregious abuses” listed against the court, Harrington ordered a preliminary injunction hearing in which the Harpersville mayor, Town Council and Judicial Corrections Services can provide evidence. Defendants from the lawsuit on behalf of Dana Burdette and three other former Harpersville inmates will also be able to provide evidence against the town of Harpersville.

Harrington issued a court order Aug. 10 canceling the preliminary injunction hearing, which had been set for Aug. 20. The order stated that the Town Council’s decision to abolish the municipal court meant the hearing was unnecessary.

A hearing for certification of the plaintiff’s allegations will be set at a later date, the order stated.

Additionally, a hearing on the motion for summary judgment filed by Judicial Corrections Services, a private probation company, will be set at a future date, according to the order. If granted, a hearing for summary judgment would not require a trial.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department seized documents and records from the Harpersville Municipal Court system Aug. 9 after Harrington signed a restraining order. The order stated records and documents, including but not limited to police records, traffic citations and correspondences with the sheriff’s department, could not be altered or destroyed.

According to the original lawsuit filed in 2010, Burdette and three other plaintiffs are seeking “monetary damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees,” as well as “declaratory and injunctive relief, including costs and attorney’s fees, both for themselves and all others similarly situated.”

The lawsuit stated that the plaintiffs anticipate entering “an injunction and other declaratory relief which prohibits the defendants from engaging in the violations of law” mentioned in the lawsuit.

  • raajcs

    I am a former JCS employee…..who wishes not to be identified….my statement is:  One of the founders of JCS, and I will not mention his name, resigned last December, 2011…I considered him my boss, as many employee’s did, and a friend….His focus on the business was recommending to employee’s, that we should help offenders through the probation system successfully, making sure the Court requirements were completed….and even if our fee’s were reduced, try and get the person on probation completed and released earlier………I followed these suggestions, and my immediate supervisor trained us to do so…..The founder which I referred to, had been away due to an accident 2 years ago……my opinion is that when he returned, he tried to improve many of JCS’s practices ….that seemed to have been changed when he was absent due to injury.  He could not complete the changes….seemed that he was not allowed to return to his former position….and resigned……I have had very little contact with him …..I understand he now advises other probation company’s in how to perform the services, with the offender completing the probation successfully. And not to focus on making profit of the company the most important factor……While at JCS, I managed a case load of approximately 450 people and my statement to them was….I am what you make me, I will do everything I can to help see you thru this probation.  I feel that I had a very good relationship with all of them.  The judge is extremely fair and understanding to all probationers.  I never wanted to see anyone of them fail at probation.   It was my job to see them complete it and the smile on their faces meant a job well done by all.  I became very close to them not only as their po but as my friends and I truly miss them all.  After filing a formal complaint with JCS, I was given no other option but to resign from this company due to unfair treatment.

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