A Fulton County judge ruled Friday that Claud “Tex” McIver, facing murder charges in his wife’s shooting, did not receive special treatment when authorities transferred him from the Atlanta jail to one in Alpharetta.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney rejected prosecutors’ assertion of special treatment and their request that McIver be moved back to the Atlanta jail.
“The court finds that the decision to transfer defendant … was purely administrative,” McBurney said in his ruling.
He added, “It is the sheriff’s business, not the court’s, to decide who is housed where and under what conditions.”
The hearing on Monday was striking in that it pitted Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard against the county Sheriff Ted Jackson.
Howard had objected to the recent decision by the sheriff’s office to move McIver from the Atlanta jail to one in Alpharetta. Howard’s office filed a motion asserting that the move meant the 74-year-old attorney was receiving special treatment.
Howard has tried to establish a pattern of behavior by McIver showing attempts to influence his case from behind bars, a position McIver’s defense team has argued against.
Howard also raised concerns that the Alpharetta facility did not record all of McIver’s phone calls, and that the facility did not have the capacity to videotape visits with inmates. This, he said, could allow McIver to further his efforts to influence witnesses. He showed evidence that McIver had made phone calls from the Alpharetta facility that were not recorded.
Fulton’s Chief Jailer Mark Adger told the court that that McIver had been housed in a medical section of the Atlanta jail, not for any medical issue but to protect him. He was moved to Alpharetta to free up that space for a sick inmate, he added.
Sheriff Jackson said the move represents no special treatment, and that all phone calls in the Alpharetta facility are recorded. He acknowledged that the jail has no system to video-record personal visits with inmates, but said such visits are conducted in a visitation booth with both parties separated by a glass partition.
While the judge ruled that McIver could stay at the Alpharetta jail, he noted that he shared the prosecution’s concern about the inconsistency of recording phone calls at the Atlanta and Alpharetta facilities.
He ordered the sheriff’s office to ensure that such policies are consistently applied for McIver and all other inmates. And he directed the sheriff’s office to maintain a record of all visitors to the Alpharetta facility and the inmates they visit, as is done at the Atlanta jail.
McIver faces charges of malice murder and influencing witnesses in the death of his wife in September of last year as they rode in their SUV near Piedmont Park. McIver has maintained the shooting — in which he shot his wife in the back as she sat in the front passenger seat — was an accident.
McIver’s trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 30.
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