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Archive for Monday, April 1, 2013

Court documents in case against Franklin County sheriff reveal drug allegations against former county attorney

April 1, 2013

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Ouster petition ( .PDF )

Former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry, right, appears in court Monday with his attorney, Trey Pettlon. Curry and prosecutors entered into a diversion on two criminal charges he faced for lying to state investigators and tipping former Franklin County Attorney Heather Jones off to information that she was allegedly the subject of a drug investigation.

Former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry, right, appears in court Monday with his attorney, Trey Pettlon. Curry and prosecutors entered into a diversion on two criminal charges he faced for lying to state investigators and tipping former Franklin County Attorney Heather Jones off to information that she was allegedly the subject of a drug investigation.

Senior Judge John Sanders on Monday unsealed court documents detailing the case against former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry. Curry also entered into diversion Monday on two criminal charges he was facing.

Senior Judge John Sanders on Monday unsealed court documents detailing the case against former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry. Curry also entered into diversion Monday on two criminal charges he was facing.

A sexual affair, lying to state investigators, and allegations that a former Franklin County Attorney bought methamphetamine were at the center of criminal charges against former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry, according to documents released publicly for the first time Monday.

Curry, whose resignation as sheriff was effective Monday, entered into a diversion program on two criminal charges Monday during a preliminary hearing in the case. The diversion program, which is similar to probation, puts Curry under court supervision for a year. He also will lose his Kansas law enforcement certification.

The court documents unsealed by Senior Judge John Sanders on Monday revealed the origin of the criminal charges and ouster petition filed against Curry and Deputy Jerrod Fredricks in February.

The ouster petition, which had previously been sealed by a Franklin County judge, alleges that in May 2012, a confidential informant told a Franklin County Sheriff's Office deputy that Heather Jones, who resigned her position as Franklin County Attorney May 22, had purchased methamphetamine on two occasions while she held the county attorney position.

However, the allegations that Jones bought drugs was strongly refuted by her attorney in a news release issued following the court hearings.

According to the documents, Curry had an ongoing sexual relationship with Jones — who had served as Franklin County Attorney since 2004 — and tipped her off that she had been implicated in a drug investigation. Curry lied to state investigators about his relationship with Jones, according to the documents.

Curry's actions led to the felony obstruction of justice charge and a misdemeanor official misconduct charge, which were filed against him about a month ago.

On Monday, prosecution on those charges was suspended, as Curry and prosecutors agreed to enter into a diversion program for one year. Expletives were hissed from several citizens observing the hearings when prosecutors announced that the charges will be dropped if Curry successfully completes diversion. As part of the agreement, Curry will relinquish his Kansas law enforcement certification for the rest of his life.

A misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice against Fredricks, who was Curry's deputy, also will be dropped in an agreement with prosecutors. In court Monday, prosecutors said Fredricks also had agreed to relinquish his Kansas law enforcement certification. When that occurs, the criminal charges will be dropped.

Unsealing of records

Several attorneys for media outlets were in court Monday and argued for the unsealing of the ouster petition, as well as opening records in the criminal case. Sanders, the senior judge who was brought in for the case, opened the ouster petition but kept the criminal records closed.

Up until Monday, the nature of the case against both Fredricks and Curry — both first arrested Feb. 27 — had been unclear.

"There just simply are not enough factual circumstances that are compelling enough to outweigh the public's right to know," Sanders said of his ruling.

Curry's defense attorney, Trey Pettlon, had filed briefs with the court asking that the records remain sealed, arguing that the privacy rights of a "third party," who turned out to be Jones, would be violated if the ouster petition was unsealed, because the allegations against her had yet to be proven.

Following Sanders' decision Monday, Overland Park attorney Robin Fowler, who represents Jones, also argued for keeping the records sealed, but Sanders declined to reverse his decisions.

In a news release, Fowler said the release of the ouster petition "gives a misleading and inaccurate description of the investigation involving Heather Jones."

Fowler said that the petition "neglects to point out that the confidential source has since that time been contradicted by at least two sources whom the C.I. claimed would corroborate his/her version of events."

The release also included a strong denial that Jones was involved illegal drug activity.

"Heather Jones has broken no law, and committed no crime," he said. "The allegation that she purchased or used methamphetamine is false."

Next steps

Jones, who became an assistant district attorney in Johnson County after resigning her post in Franklin County, still is employed in Johnson County, according to county representatives.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe had previously declined to comment on the case. Howe could not be reached for comment Monday.

Jones has not been arrested or charged, but prosecutors Monday said the Kansas Bureau of Investigations — which conducted the investigation into Curry and Fredricks — was still investigating.

Under Kansas law Franklin County Undersheriff Steve Lunger serves as temporary sheriff. Curry's successor is to be nominated by the Franklin County Republicans, the local political party holding the office. That nomination will then be sent to the governor for approval.

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Curry hearing, April 1, 2013

At a hearing Monday in Franklin County Court, prosecutors announced that former Franklin County Sheriff Jeff Curry would be entering into a diversion program on two criminal charges. A judge also opened previously sealed court records that shed more light on the case against Curry.

Comments

jj14 1 year, 8 months ago

Much to do about nothin....I really was expecting more explosive charges than just this.

Bob Forer 1 year, 8 months ago

Wow in reading the comments to last year's article on Heather Jones' resignation as Franklin County Attorney, it's apparent that her sexual indiscretions were no secret to several folks.

Here's the link: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/apr...

Bob Forer 1 year, 8 months ago

Is she still married to Brandon Jones, the former Douglas County Assistant District Attorney who was subsequently elected as Anderson and Osage County Attorney?.

kimk 1 year, 8 months ago

Brandon divorced her several months ago.

kimk 1 year, 8 months ago

I hope that she is treated the same way that she treated all of the drug offenders that came in front of her when she was the CA in Franklin County. She was known for not being lenient and did not like to give second chances. How many cases did she prosecute when she was high on meth herself? I think the name for what just happened is KARMA.

baf1984 1 year, 8 months ago

Actually, she divorced Brandon. Furthermore, there will never be any charges against Heather for purchasing or possessing meth because the KBI knows that she didn't. This boils down to small-town politics run amok. While an affair might be morally wrong, it isn't a criminal offense. There were crimes commited during the course of this investigation, but not by the people charged. I would suggest that everyone stay tuned, the last line of this story hasn't been written yet.

1776 1 year, 8 months ago

"While an affair migt be morally worng, it isn't a criminal offense." Betraying the trust of your husband and children is horrible and sad regardless.

baf1984 1 year, 8 months ago

Kim, are you one of those Heather didn't give a second chance? Or is this personal in another way? Because, no matter how you slice it, Heather isn't guilty of anything criminal. I am in no way condoning her moral failing, but as Jesus said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. He didn't say he who isn't guilty of adultery cast the first stone. Methinks you're just a little too self-righteous to be an objective by-stander.

kimk 1 year, 8 months ago

I have no criminal history and have never been in trouble in my life. It is not personal either. I was lead to believe that purchasing meth is illegal...correct me if I am wrong. Just because her attorney says that she did not do it does not make it true. If everything that attorney's say in defense of their clients is true our prison's would be empty. It is a defense attorney's job to advocate for them. Of course her attorney is not going to give a statement saying Heather is a total crackhead that needs rehab even if that is true. I am not being self-righteous I just don't like when people of authority abuse their power. Just months after moving on to Johnson County she was sending out emails asking for people to vote for her boyfriend, from her work computer. She obviously does not mind letting her personal life interfere with her work like. She was the head County Attorney and is now the head of the Sex Crimes unit in Johnson County, it would be nice if she would take her job seriously while at work...you know that place where people are facing the possiblity of jail/prison. However she looks at it as the place to promoter her boyfriend.

baf1984 1 year, 8 months ago

Would you care to give an opinion on why Heather hasn't been arrested for purchasing meth? Isn't that an interesting question to consider? Oh, could it be that there is no evidence for that except for the word of a completely discredited confidential informant? I would advise against holding your breath waiting for her to be charged with purchasing/possessing. And when she isn't charged, are you going to come back on this page and admit you're wrong? Doubtful.

kimk 1 year, 8 months ago

Just because a person isn't charged does not mean that they are not guilty. It could mean that she has information that they want and they are willing to make her charges go away to get whoever it is that she has information about. If the CA and sheriff's department was involved in all of this, who knows how far up the corruption goes.

baf1984 1 year, 8 months ago

Riiiiiiight......so here in America it's guilty til proven innocent....gotcha!

pocket_of_sunshine 1 year, 8 months ago

I wonder if you have considered other reasons for her buying.. such as trying to play at being undercover? She has a history of really going after drug users/sellers and that includes allegations of crossing the line. She was also accused of being at drug busts that she had no business of being at. Seems to me that if she was that involved, it's not as far fetched that she did purchase, but for other reasons than personal use.

There is no doubt there is a shady history with these two, including pushing the boundaries of the law.

baf1984 1 year, 8 months ago

So it was a sting? Which is it? Is she a meth freak or is she an overzealous prosecutor? You're grasping at straws.

pocket_of_sunshine 1 year, 8 months ago

I am grasping at nothing. You seem to be the overzealous individual in this situation. I was simply pointing out that there may have been other reasons for her to have made a drug purchase.

I am unsure why you find it necessary to be so passionate about the defense of Ms. Jones, when others are simply speculating, but congratulations to you for letting your crazy show. Wow.

kimk 1 year, 8 months ago

In america no, however, she was doing these things while an officer of the court. She has to explain her actions as the ex CA and and a current District Attorney.

kimk 1 year, 8 months ago

Actually, it sounds like she is an overzealous prosecutor with a meth problem.

pocket_of_sunshine 1 year, 8 months ago

Does anyone besides me find it interesting that she left town right after she was warned of the allegations? True or not, seems odd.

baf1984 1 year, 8 months ago

Actually, she had already "left town." Kim, do you actually know her and do you know the signs of meth addiction? If you do, you know she's no meth freak, which is why nobody in law enforcement in Franklin County, either SO or Ottawa PD, believes she is guilty of purchasing or possessing meth. That includes the people who hate her guts. It sounds to me you are saying that if you are a CA you don't have the same Constitutional right to presumed innocence as does the ordinary citizen. For someone who obviously doesn't know any facts, you sure are throwing around a lot of accusations.

ottawaway 1 year, 8 months ago

Well I do know that there has been talk around Fr. Co. for some time that Curry didn't acquire his position of sheriff honestly. Curry stepped down, which is what a lot of people in Fr. Co. thought that he should do. He got caught breaking the law & he knew if he didn't step down he was going to be removed & the truth would come out in the process. He wasn't railroaded, he got caught. And he admitted that he warned her of an investigation involving her.

tomatogrower 1 year, 8 months ago

In the eighties there was Franklin country prosecutor who liked his drugs and drinks. He was never arrested, because the State Attorney General was his buddy. I think he was eventually disbarred though.

ottawaway 1 year, 8 months ago

You must be talking about Wendell Barker. He was disbarred in 98. Passed away at the age of 61 in 2012.

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