Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2005

proceedings questioned in Brantley

By Kevin Pearcey

Brantley councilman Lorey Bogen told his fellow council members on Monday night the town needs to re-evaluate its handling of municipal court and police procedure.

Email newsletter signup

Bogen said it was brought to his attention that a case involving several juveniles, allegedly threatened at gunpoint by a Brantley citizen, was dismissed in municipal court because of the improper signing of the warrant and the administration of oaths by the Brantley Police Department. But in this case, said Bogen, Brantley's municipal court was moved by Brantley City Judge Mark Smith and held in Luverne. Luverne City Judge Charles Kettler presided over the case.

According to Bogen, the governing laws of municipalities does not allow for the city judge to move municipal court without prior consent from the town council.

"This is Brantley's jurisdiction," said Bogen. "We, the council, are supposed to decide where our court is held. If we say we want to have it at the school or anywhere else, that's up to us. It can't be moved. Our municipal court is supposed to be held in our town."

Town manager Larry Morgan said if the process was wrong, then the town would take steps to follow the law in the future.

"I think we've just been following years of precedents set by the council in the past," he said. "I don't think it's a willful ignorance of the law that's in question."

Bogen also said that an investigating officer near the scene of the incident did not remove the citizen in question's weapon.

"A pistol permit gives you the right to carry a concealed weapon," he said. "It does not give you the right to brandish it openly. The gun should have been taken away."

Allegedly, the juveniles had trespassed and destroyed property when they were pursued by the property owner and threatened.

Also on Monday night, the Luverne Journal presented Brantley resident Jimmy Johnson with a special award, honoring his selection as the newspaper's 2005 Citizen of the Year. Johnson received a framed copy of the actual plate used in production of the Journal's Citizen of the Year special section that was released in March.

Crenshaw County Commissioner Ronnie Hudson was on hand to deliver a proclamation by the commission honoring Johnson's selection as Citizen of the Year.

"I think I speak for everybody when I say we're proud to have Jimmy as a part of this community," said Brantley Mayor Bernie Sullivan.