Courtroom Drama Erupts Between Judge and High-Ranking Cop

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  John Fitzpatrick, Chief Deputy of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, has been issued a contempt charge by Superior Court Judge Douglas Pullen.

According to a statement from Sheriff John Darr, a state inmate was on the docket to appear in court Thursday but was not present when he was called.

That's when Darr says Pullen ordered Fitzpatrick into the courtroom to express his dislike in the practice used by the Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Department of Corrections to pick-up and transfer inmates who have been sentenced.

Darr says when Fitzpatrick suggested they discuss the matter in chambers and not in open court, Pullen issued the contempt charge which requires a $50 court cost fee. The Sheriff says he has personally paid that fine and that Fitzpatrick has the support of the members of his office.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the practice of transferring inmates from the Department of Corrections to the Muscogee County Jail for court hearings is used to alleviate jail overcrowding and to save taxpayer money on feeding, housing and medical costs associated with sentenced state inmates.

Fitzpatrick has been with the Sheriff's Office for 24 years.