Fulton DA wants court to hold sheriff in contempt

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.

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Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard on Monday asked a judge to find Sheriff Ted Jackson in contempt of court for not restoring his access to a system that allows prosecutors to monitor inmate phone calls and in-person visits.

The court filing is the latest salvo in a months-long dispute between the county's top law enforcement officers that began with a disagreement over where to house 74-year-old attorney Claud "Tex" McIver, who is charged with killing his wife a year ago.

Howard wrote in a filing that Jackson had deliberately ignored Chief Superior Court Judge Gail Tusan’s Aug. 23 order that he restore prosecutors’ access to the jail phone system, Securus Technology Portfolio. Jackson terminated the district attorney’s office’s access to the system on Aug. 15.

Instead of restoring access to the office, Jackson limited access even more. He notified all law enforcement agencies within Fulton County, as well as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI, that they too, no longer could immediately tap into the system, though they could secure recordings with a subpoena.

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Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson.

Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson.

Combined ShapeCaption
Fulton County Sheriff Ted Jackson.

The Securus system allows officials to monitor inmate calls and in-person meetings in real time. That is also where prosecutors keep notes in regards to calls they are monitoring. It was during those calls that prosecutors learned that McIver allegedly was trying to influence his case.

The sheriff also took away prosecutor’s two reserved parking spaces at the jail, Howard said previously, while keeping the spots for other agencies including the public defender, the solicitor general and the clerk of court.

Read more about the court filing and why both sides say access to the jail phone system is essential to their work at myAJC.com.