Page 3A The Champion Free Press, Friday, March 30
Policeman and countyemployee underinvestigation for interferingin rape case
Video conference first-appearancehearings introduced at DeKalb Jail
by Daniel Beauregarddaniel@dekalbchamp.comA DeKalb County police ofcer and an employee for the DeKalb County solicitor general’s ofce are under investigation for interfering in a rape case.Police spokeswoman
said theDeKalb County Police Department is investigating al-legations of a rape that took placeon Dec. 16, 2011.“As part of this investigationwe are trying to determine if one of our ofcers inuenced awitness or obstructed justice inthis case. Sgt.
ison restrictive duty pending theoutcome of this investigation,”Parish said.Adkison, as well as
, an employee for the so-licitor general’s ofce, both aremembers of Front Runnerz Mo-torcycle Club. The club’s websitelists Adkison as its president and Jaudon as its businessmanager.According to reports, the alleged victim was bar-tending a private event at the club where she said shewas drugged, then later woke up in a home in Lithoniaafter allegedly being raped. Although neither Adkisonnor Jaudon were named as suspects in the incident, thevictim said both men wanted to handle the situation “in-house,” and told her to keep quiet about the rape claim.The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Ofce is in-vestigating to determine whether Adkison and Jaudoninterfered with the case by telling the victim to keepquiet.“I can conrm we’re looking into the matter andwe’ll determine the right course of action,” DeKalbDistrict Attorney spokesman
, a spokeswoman for the solicitor gen-eral’s ofce, said Jaudon is on administrative leavewith pay. Jaudon was hired in April 2005 as a senior investigator in the ofce’s Special Victims Unit, whichhandles pending high-risk domestic violence, stalkingand sex offense cases.“We take seriously any allegation regarding the con-duct of our employees,” Gest said. “We learned that theDA’s Ofce is investigating the conduct of several in-dividuals—including an employee of this ofce—who belong to the same motorcycle club.”
by Kathy Mitchellkathy@dekalbchamp.comThe law requires that persons charged with acrime have the opportunityto appear before a judgewithin 48 hours when nowarrant was involved and72 hours when a person isarrested under a warrant.Until recently, this re-quired transporting the per-son charged from the jail toa courtroom. “This is not agreat distance,” said Sheriff
, “but it in-volves bringing the inmatethrough the same entrywaysused by the general public.There are risks to staff, lawenforcement ofcials andthe public.”The DeKalb CountySherriff’s Ofce has initi-ated a pilot program thatoffers an alternative. Theaccused can be brought toa small courtroom insidethe jail and face a judgethrough video conferenc-ing. Chief Magistrate Judge
Berryl A. Anderson
andBrown demonstrated thesystem at a March 26 newsconference.The judge and the de-fendant face one another ona video screen. Attorneysand others can be present just as they are at a face-to-face hearing. In additionto creating a safer situationfor the public and for jailemployees, video confer-encing is safer for the judgeand the accused, the sheriff said. He added that elimi-nating the need to transportthe inmate to the courthousealso saves manpower andmoney.Brown explained thatsuch systems are widelyused in California andFlorida, and have beenimplemented in other metroAtlanta jurisdictions, in-cluding Cobb and Gwinnettcounties. “Normally, we’reout front with the newestinnovations, but budgetrestrictions kept us fromdoing this sooner.” He ex- plained the $40,000 neededto set up the system camefrom conscated drug mon-ey at no cost to taxpayers.“Sheriff Brown is verycreative about nding mon-ey to get what we need,”Anderson said.Video conferencing,which DeKalb County has been using for approxi-mately 60 days, is beingimplemented in phases.It will be used for rst-appearance hearings for inmates charged with felo-nies. “We’re starting withinmates charged with themost serious crimes—whatwe call ‘the seven deadlysins,’ murder, rape, etc.These are the situations inwhich emotions normallyrun high and there is thegreatest need to look out for the safety of those the in-mate is exposed to.”Anderson explained thatat rst-appearance hearingsthere is a formal reading of the charges against the de-fendant, bail is set and the judge determines whether a public defender needs to beappointed.Brown said the videoconferencing in no wayabridges the rights of theaccused and neither inmatesnor lawyers have com- plained. “All they want isa chance to appear before a judge as quickly as possibleand have an opportunity for bail. They get that.”
In a room at the jail, Sheriff Thomas Brown looks at a split screen that shows him and Judge Berryl A.Anderson, who is in her courtroom at the courthouse, in real time. Photo by Kathy Mitchell
In the March 22 edition, in the article on page 16A titled ‘Museum School in Avon-dale gets ready to move,’
misstated construction costs. The correctamount is $1 million out of the school’s operating budget over the next five years.