Friday, May 30, 2003

Sheriff makes sure prisoners get to court



By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MASON - The arrest of Chief Ron Ferrell on contempt charges has put others in law enforcement on guard.

So much so that even the Warren County sheriff is transporting prisoners to Municipal Court.

On Thursday, Sheriff Tom Ariss, for the first time in 11 years in office, personally drove two jail inmates for hearings after the rest of his court security staff was too booked up to do it.

"To what do we owe this pleasure?" asked Judge George Parker, who initiated contempt charges against Ferrell May 15 after the chief refused to transport prisoners that the sheriff couldn't drive to court.

"My name is on the order," Ariss responded, referring to an order Parker had faxed to the sheriff's department earlier to bring over the inmates.

One of them was a man charged with rape who asked the judge during a video hearing on Tuesday to send his case directly to a grand jury. However, Parker refused and insisted the man appear in person on Thursday.

Ariss said he is concerned that Parker would have his deputies arrested if they couldn't make the trip.

"I told him, if something's going to happen, it's going to be on me and nobody else," Ariss said.

E-mail smclaughlin@enquirer.com




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