Jail administrator wins appeal

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INEZ – A judge in Martin County threw out the contempt of court case against the jail administrator last week.

In October District Judge John Chafin found Big Sandy Regional Detention Center Administrator F.D. “Pete” Fitzpatrick in contempt of court and sentenced him to 30 days (probated for two years), noting that Fitzpatrick was 10 days late in complying with his order. He had been ordered to return confiscated money back to a prisoner.

On February 6, Judge John David Preston released an order in Martin County Circuit Court to set aside the case and hold it for “naught.” 

Preston outlined how the detention facility was in compliance with the law as far as the booking fees, something Judge Chafin had scrutinized previously, and noted that the court directing the return of the booking fee to the inmate was an error.

Since Fitzpatrick did return the $353 that was confiscated from the inmate, Rayshawn Greer, at the time of his arrest, Judge Preston said the issue was moot.

Within his appeal, Fitzpatrick was also appealing the criminal contempt sanctions imposed in the original order, and Judge Preston noted there is no evidence to show any “disrespect to the court, obstruction of justice, or bringing the court into disrepute.”  He further stated that the actions taken by Fitzpatrick did not rise to the level of criminal contempt.

Fitzpatrick released a statement on February 7, summarizing the case.

“This ruling confirms the confidence that I stated in my October 23, 2017 press release with my belief that this issue would be resolved in favor of the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center after judicial review,” Fitzpatrick said in the release.