Follow the coverage of Alabama Appleseed’s work, news mentions and opinion editorials written by staff members. Interested in speaking with Alabama Appleseed? Please email Executive Director Carla Crowder for in interview.
Tracy Lee | 3/13/2018
An Alabama sheriff allegedly used taxpayer money allotted for feeding jail inmates to purchase a $740,000 home, according to a local report that revealed an abuse in funds.
Over the past three years, Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin took in more than $750,000 of further “compensation,” according to forms filed with the Alabama Ethics Commission and revealed by AL.com.
Barnini Chakraborty | 1/30/2018
A three-time Rotary Club “Ambassador of the Year,” Alabama car dealer Jamey Vibbert was a hometown hero — until being branded a felon.
His alleged crime: selling two cars reportedly purchased with drug money, which in the eyes of an Alabama prosecutor made him a money launderer, guilty of “taking dirty money.”
Vibbert was arrested on June 24, 2015, and $25,097 taken from his bank account. His mug shot was plastered in the local newspaper and Facebook accounts. His $2 million-a-year business was out-of-business.
“No one wanted to buy from us,” Vibbert told Fox News. “People whispered, ‘You buy from them, you go to jail.’ It cost us our business.”
With his reputation in tatters, Vibbert dropped out of the Rotary Club, fell behind on house payments and stopped going to church.
He would go on to face two separate legal proceedings: a criminal trial on title fraud charge, and a separate, related to civil asset forfeiture.
Even though he wasn’t guilty.
Reason.com: Alabama Police Ruined a Couple’s Lives Over $50 of Weed. Now the Charges Against Them Have Been Dropped
C.J. CIARAMELLA | 4.16.2019
More than a year after police raided an Alabama couple’s house, upturned their lives, and seized thousands of dollars from them over a small amount of marijuana, the criminal charges against them have been dropped.
On Monday, an Alabama state circuit judge dismissed the misdemeanor drug charges against Greg and Teresa Almond at the request of prosecutors and ordered that their property be returned to them.
As Reason reported last week, the Almonds filed a federal civil rights lawsuit earlier this year against the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department, alleging that in January of 2018, the sheriff’s narcotics unit busted down their door, threw a flashbang grenade at Greg Almond’s feet, detained the couple at gunpoint, and ransacked their house.
The Alabama legislature is currently considering a bill that would essentially abolish civil asset forfeiture by requiring a criminal conviction before property could be forfeited by police. It would join four other states that have passed similar laws in response to bipartisan outrage over civil forfeiture abuses.
Leah Nelson, a researcher at Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice who first wrote about the Almonds’ case, says that while it would be a good start, the root of the problem is Alabama’s punitive marijuana enforcement.