Will Sheriff Mims appeal court ruling?

August 4, 2012 12:26:58 AM PDT
A recent ruling in the courtroom could end up impacting what happens in the already crowded Fresno County jail. It's a battle Sheriff Margaret Mims and the board of supervisors have fought for years.

After years of fighting between Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and the board of supervisors, a judge handed down a 37 page decision Thursday saying the board can budget and allocate positions and the sheriff must distribute them the best she can.

Supervisor Phil Larson says he hopes the judgment will end the feud between the sheriff and the board.

Larson explained, "But the fact of the fact of the matter is it was a decision that was probably not favorable to the sheriff, but really we haven't taken any power away from the sheriff.

However, Sheriff Mim's attorney Martin Mayer says he's disappointed with the judge's decision.

"There's so much that's inconsistent and not supported by law," Mayer said. "That is a very very scary decision."

The lawsuit began back in 2010 after Mim's laid off 23 correctional officers, closing two floors of the jail and releasing inmates. Action News spoke with Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi about the recent legal decision. He says it's not clear cut.

"The opinions very ambiguous and I think the judge did a pretty good job trying to determine the interest of each party here, the board of supervisors and the sheriff," Capozzi said. "It's very difficult. It's splitting hairs here."

But he says there is room for both sides to work within the judgment's language.

"Once the board says we're going to give you this money, we want these positions, she has to create those," Capozzi said. "Then once they're created she can decide that she doesn't want them and move them to other positions and then spends the money in other ways."

Supervisor Phil Larson says it's been a tough two years, but he hopes this decision will allow everyone to move on with their work.

At this point, it's unknown if Sheriff Mims will appeal this ruling. But she has ten days to make a decision.


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