CH mayor out of jail after posting bond
by Ron Harris
Sep 28, 2013 | 3252 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Carbon Hill Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson was released from the Walker County Jail Friday afternoon after posting a $250,000 property bond.

Richardson, 61, was arrested Sept. 19 after a joint operation by the Walker County District Attorney’s Office and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. A grand jury indicted Richardson on four counts of first-degree sexual abuse, four counts of custodial sexual misconduct, two counts of harassment and one count of soliciting prostitution. The charges were related to alleged inappropriate contact Richardson had with female inmates at the Carbon Hill City Jail.

Attorney Ken Guin had filed a motion to have Richardson’s bond reduced, citing Richardson’s declining health and inability to pay what he deemed “a completely unreasonable bond.”

“He is in incredibly poor health,” Guin said, adding that Richardson was bordering on being “completely indigent.”

Guin asked Circuit Judge Doug Farris to reduce the bond, declaring that Richardson was not a flight risk because of his longstanding ties to the community. Guin also asked that the bond be converted from a cash bond to that of a property bond. “It’s completely inappropriate to leave bond at a cash basis,” Guin told Farris.

Farris ruled against Guin’s motion to lower the bond, saying it was reasonable given the seriousness of the allegations against Richardson.

Farris did, however, agree to converting it to a property bond.

He also ruled that should Richardson be able to post bond, he must meet certain conditions to remain on bond. Those include severe restrictions on his ability to conduct city business.

The conditions include:

•Not leaving the state without permission of the court.

•Failure to appear at any court proceedings/hearings in the future will result in his bond being revoked and Richardson being arrested.

•Richardson having no contact with Carbon Hill City Hall and the City Jail and to have no contact or access to law enforcement. Any official business conducted by Richardson is to be done in an office outside City Hall.

•Richardson, his family members and associates are to have no contact with any alleged victims or victim’s families.

•Richardson having no access to the Carbon Hill City Jail or inmates and ordered not to interfere with law enforcement.

•Richardson having no supervisory capacity over city employees who may be a witness in the case.

Following the hearing, Guin said he was in agreement with each of the conditions.

“That protects him,” Guin said. “There have been several witnesses, including the police chief and other people, who have been witnesses before the grand jury. It protects him to not be around those people because it’s inappropriate for him to talk to grand jury witnesses. I’m completely in agreement. That actually makes my job easier representing him.”

Guin said it was crucial to Richardson’s health to be released from jail as quickly as possible.

“He’s a very sick man,” he said. “He’s in bad shape.”

Guin said despite the charges facing Richardson, he will remain as mayor of the city.

“He’s still going to preside over the council meetings,” he said, adding that several council members signed affidavits requesting Richardson’s release from jail. “I’ve spoken with four of them who are all supporting the mayor.”

Guin concluded by saying he believes the charges against Richardson were politically motivated.

“Absolutely, they were politically motivated,” he said. “You’ve seen him walk out of here. Do you think he could chase somebody? Do you think somebody could get away from him? I believe he’s an innocent man, and I think the cash bond was just mean-spirited because everybody knew he couldn’t post it.”