Associated Press Release
BRISTOL, Fla. (AP) — Opening arguments are scheduled to start in the trial of a former Panhandle sheriff accused of official misconduct and falsifying public records.
Prosecutors on Tuesday are expected to tell jurors that Nick Finch intervened in a case where one of his deputies arrested a resident for carrying a pistol without a concealed weapons permit. They contend Finch altered or destroyed records connected to the case.
Finch was elected Liberty County sheriff in November 2012. Gov. Rick Scott suspended him this past June.
Finch’s attorneys will assert that the sheriff let the man go because he is a believer in 2nd Amendment gun rights.
The case has attracted attention among some conservative media outlets and gun rights activists. It has also divided this small rural county just west of Tallahassee.
Associated Press Release
By GARY FINEOUT
BRISTOL, Fla. (AP) — A suspended Panhandle sheriff is going on trial for corruption charges in a case that has divided a small rural county.
Nick Finch was arrested earlier this year on felony charges of official misconduct and falsifying public records. Finch was accused in intervening in a case where one of his deputies arrested a resident for carrying a pistol without a concealed weapons permit.
A jury was picked for the case Monday.
Finch’s attorneys will assert that the sheriff let the man go because he is a believer in 2nd Amendment gun rights. Prosecutors contend Finch does not have a right to ignore laws he does not believe in.
The case has attracted attention among some conservative media outlets and gun rights activists.
By: Emily Johnson
September 30, 2013
Liberty County, FL – The former sheriff of Liberty County Nick Finch is set to stand trial at the end of next month.
He’s accused of freeing a man who’d been arrested on weapons charges and then altering jail record to reflect Floyd Parrish was never there.
Monday his attorney’s claimed no one can prove Finch whited out the logs himself or ordered anyone else to do it. They tried to convince a judge that the jail logs in question were not public records.
“I think it’s significant here that the log entries were never completed. For example on the booking log Mr. Parrish’s name and some of the other information was put in that log the date he was being booked was never entered by the jail,” says Defense Attorney Larry Simpson.
Both sides agreed that Sheriff Finch had the authority to let Parrish go, but prosecutors argued that the logs were public records and they should be albe to argue to the jury those should never have been altered.
Now it’s up to a jury to decide if the former sheriff falsified or destroyed public records.
“What’s important about today’s ruling is that it’s going to go to a jury and they’re going to be able to hear the facts and the truth of what happen,” says State Attorney Jack Campbell.
The jury selection starts October 27Th and the trial begins October 28Th.