DeKalb sheriff asks judge to block governor’s commission investigating alleged misconduct

May 12, 2017 Decatur - DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann (left) stands next to his attorney Noah Pines as he speaks for Sheriff Jeffrey Mann during a press conference at DeKalb County Sheriff Office on Friday, May 12, 2017. DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann, speaking through his lawyer, apologized to his constituents on Friday and said he plans to continue serve in his job. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Mann's attorneys have requested an emergency hearing to block a governor-appointed commission from completing their investigation into the sheriff's recent arrest.

The commission, headed by the state attorney general and two sheriffs appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, will determine whether Mann should be suspended due to alleged misconduct in office or alleged incapacity to perform the functions of his job. Mann was arrested on May 6 after an Atlanta police officer said the sheriff exposed himself and then fled on foot before eventually surrendering.

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But Mann's attorneys say the commission is exceeding its statutory jurisdiction by conducting the investigation, thus depriving the sheriff "basic due process rights." The statute authorizes the governor to suspend Mann for up to 90 days, order an additional investigation by the GBI and request the DeKalb District Attorney initiate proceedings that could remove the sheriff from office.

“Although ‘misconduct in office’ is not defined by (Georgia code), a common-sense definition of the term requires that Sheriff Mann commit some type of misconduct in his official capacity as sheriff of DeKalb County,” Pines said in a statement last week. “Therefore, since there are no allegations that Sheriff Mann committed any misconduct in his official capacity ... (the law) does not authorize the appointment of an investigative committee.”

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, past director of the Georgia Sheriff's Association, which requested the investigation of Mann, last week accused the DeKalb sheriff of "legal finagling" in order to keep his job.

Pines has requested an emergency hearing to be held by this Friday. The commission, appointed May 16, must issue its findings within 30 days.

Mann, charged with indecency and obstruction, also is under investigation by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council that could lead to the suspension or revocation of his license.

The sheriff, first elected by DeKalb voters in 2014, has vowed to clear his name. He’s due in court June 2nd.

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