Terrell sheriff in jail on contempt charge

John Bowens

John Bowens

ALBANY — Officials reported Monday that Terrell County Sheriff John Bowens has turned himself in at the Dougherty County Jail to begin serving a five-day contempt-of-court sentence.

Dougherty Jail officials said the chief judge of the Alapaha Judicial Circuit has ordered that Bowens serve his sentence from 9 a.m. Monday until 6 p.m. Friday, during which time he will be kept separate from the general jail population.

"(Bowens) has worked in all facets of law enforcement; he is an all-around good guy," said Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul. "He's also a friend, so this is a tough one.

"We've had high-profile people in the jail before, but nothing like this."

Sproul said that Bowens met with jail officials last week, at which point he was given a book outlining the policies and procedures of the Dougherty jail.

The decision to separate him from the general population was due to his position in law enforcement.

"He would be an easy target for someone seeking vengeance on law enforcement," Sproul said.

This means that he is spending the majority of his time in the jail alone and is not interacting with the other inmates. Under the circumstances, Sproul said Bowens, overall, was in good sprits Monday.

"He actually came in early," the Dougherty sheriff said. "He had a positive outlook (on the situation).

"When we met with him last week, he told us not to worry about him."

On May 27, 2010, the Terrell County Superior Court rendered a decision regarding a contempt-of-court citation filed after two occasions in February of that year in which inmates failed to make it to the courthouse when they were scheduled to be there.

In June 2010, Bowens filed an appeal. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the Superior Court's decision, and the state Supreme Court denied Bowens' petition of certiorari.

The remittitur from the appeals court was filed in the Terrell County clerk's office on Aug. 15, court documents indicated. The same documents also said that, in addition to his jail sentence, Bowens is to be fined $500, payable in full within 30 days of the court order's filing.

The court order, officially stating that Bowens would be serving time in Doughetry County, was filed Aug. 22.

The decision to bring him to the Dougherty jail was to put him in a larger facility closer to home and to family members, that would also give him access to quality medical services, Sproul said.

Bowens, 66, has been in law enforcement for 37 years. He was first elected sheriff of Terrell County in 1992.


waltspecht 3 years, 6 months ago

Sometimes when you choose to take a stand, you end up on the stand defending your action. Just what kind of weight does the Federal requirements carry? I know the Terrell County, and many other DOJ jail interventions all resulted in Judicial Orders. So who was really right? I know the courts sided with the Judge in this case, but couldn't the Feds come back on the County and the Courts for violating their order? Just asking?


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