After a former Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor was released by Judge R. Michael Hutcheson on supersedeas bond, (allowing the defendant to be free while he appeals his case), Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood took it personally and sent some tweets critical of the judge and the defendant.
Apparently it’s not the first time.Over the summer, Sheriff Chitwood criticized Circuit Judge Mary Jolley, saying she was too lenient on juveniles offenders. The sheriff referred to her as a “lefty” judge.
Now, according to an article in the Daytona Beach News-Journal defense attorneys are speaking out against the Sheriff for overstepping his duties and bullying the judge. Judge Hutcheson is a respected Senior Judge who acted within the scope of his discretion and took steps to account for public safety while he also accounted for the defendant’s constitutional rights. In the mean time, the Sheriff, whose job is to enforce the laws in an unbiased fashion, is forgetting his role.
According to the same article, the Sheriff’s reaction is not the only one we should be concerned about. Representative Tom Leek and Senator Tom Wright apparently plan to introduce a bill that would prevent an individual convicted of a sex offense from being released on appeal.
Criminal defense attorney, Aaron Delgado was quoted as saying “You do not make a rule around an exceptional circumstance unless you are a politician looking for low-hanging fruit that makes it seem like you are doing something about a (non-existent) problem….And if you are a lawyer and a politician I expect you to understand about the constitution and due process and help educate lay people instead of feeding on their fears like some sort of electoral vampire,”
That’s something we’ve been saying for years! Thanks Mr. Delgado for speaking out publicly!
As to the legislators and the Sheriff – stay in your lane! This is precisely why we have separation of powers. Let Judge Hutcheson do his job and you worry about doing yours. And Sheriff Chitwood… that includes protecting the safety of the defendant wile he is out on bond. Now that you’ve put a large target on his back thanks to your tweets. If anyone in the community you’ve riled up now wants to become a vigilante, the blood will be on your hands!