Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:52 PM EDT2013-05-22 21:52:16 GMT
The former Director of Marshall Space Flight Center was back in Huntsville Wednesday to take a look at a piece of hardware that could play an important role in the future of space exploration. Robert LightfootMore >>
The former director of Marshall Center stopped by to check on the progress made in an important project.More >>
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett returned home Thursday after his arrest Wednesday night by federal marshals after a judge held him in contempt of court.
Bartlett was locked up after Judge U.W. Clemon ruled the sheriff purposely fed jail inmates inadequate meals so he could pocket the surplus.
Bartlett was released from a federal prison in Talladega Thursday, but only on the word of his attorney that he will devise a new plan to feed inmates.
Clemon found Bartlett was not providing adequate food for inmates and that he pocketed more than $200,000 over three years. The question everyone wanted answers for Thursday was about the legality of Bartlett's actions.
"Yes, it is," said Decatur attorney Brian Oakes. "There's an older Alabama code section that dates back to 1939 that allows sheriffs to keep as a part of their regular income any monies that are saved by cost or price reductions in food service programs at their jails."
The ruling sounds unusual, but Oakes says it's common for sheriffs to profit from their jail kitchens.
Records show Bartlett draws an annual salary of $64,000. In 2006, he kept $55,000 from the jail's food program. In 2007, that increased to $62,000, and last year he brought home an extra $95,000.
Bartlett told the court every penny is accounted for on federal income tax forms. But the judge said he wants to see the law changed.
"Part of the reason our current administration is in this situation is because they agree to house federal prisoners," Oakes said. "If you agree to take on federal funds, then you have to take on requirements by those in charge of federal monies."
Bartlett's attorneys and the U.S. Marshals about his arrest Wednesday night, but neither were available for comment.
Former Morgan County District 4 Commissioner Stacey George said he's not surprised a judge finally took action. He said he tried to put a stop to the food issue three years ago.
"I think it's something that is sad for Morgan County right now," George said. "It's something that could have been avoided."
Some taxpayers in Morgan County told WAFF-48 News that inmates don't deserve special treatment, but they should be fed properly. They also said they are disappointed in how Bartlett handled the amount and quality of food they were served and the money from those meals he took home.
"I think it's awful," said Bryant Baugher. "They should make him pay it back."
"No one is above the law," said Pam Vice. "If you are doing something inappropriate, he deserves what he gets."