Stupid: Sheriff allows felon to 'pose' as an LEO

Stupid: Sheriff allows felon to 'pose' as an LEO

This is a discussion on Stupid: Sheriff allows felon to 'pose' as an LEO within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; This guy was wearing a badge and insignia, looking like a certified sworn LEO. This is in my County. The Sheriff is has been around ...

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Thread: Stupid: Sheriff allows felon to 'pose' as an LEO

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Stupid: Sheriff allows felon to 'pose' as an LEO

    This guy was wearing a badge and insignia, looking like a certified sworn LEO. This is in my County. The Sheriff is has been around for I think 22 years now and is not expected to run again. Note the comment near the bottom, the Sheriff is investigating himself! I feel so much better knowing he will get to the bottom of what he did. I could say a lot more but that's it for now.

    Isle of Wight Sheriff's Office felon fired - WTKR

    Isle of Wight Sheriff's Office felon fired

    WTKR-TV3

    6:28 PM EDT, May 25, 2010
    For days NewsChannel 3 has been investigating a convicted felon who was working in the Isle of Wight Sheriff's office.

    Jonathan Burns was fired today.

    The situation may have jeopardized several cases prosecuted by the commonwealth's attorney.

    Jonathan Burns worked in the Isle of Wight Sheriff's office as an aid, according to Sheriff Charles Phelps.

    Follow NewsChannel 3 on Twitter

    Court filings reveal he was doing more than filing papers and maintenance.

    "Under the circumstances I felt it was best that we terminate that employment at this time until this is complete," Phelps said.

    Isle of Wight Sheriff Charles Phelps says there is no doubt his department has a black eye after volunteer aid Jonathan Burns, a convicted felon, is accused of participating in arrests and even foot chases since he began with the Sheriff's office 10 years ago.

    Burns has a criminal record dating back to 1998 from grand larceny to arson.

    District Attorney Wayne Farmer said Burns went through taser training and was issued a taser.

    By law, felons cannot have any weapon or work in law enforcement.

    It was legal for Burns to be a volunteer aid.

    "Even if he didn't carry a gun he wouldn't be allowed to carry a taser or a stun gun and it would not be appropriate for him to be involved in arrests or handling of evidence or any of those things," Farmer said.

    Farmer says since finding out about Burns and his law enforcement activities 10 days ago, he has been sifting through cases since he became commonwealth's attorney in 2008. So far nine cases are in jeopardy - cases where Jonathan Burns assisted in arrests and searches.

    Burns' criminal background is something the commonwealth's attorney would have had to tell defense attorneys about as the case moved forward.

    Since the commonwealth's attorney has contacted the nine defense attorneys so far one will be filing a motion to reopen the case. That will happen tomorrow morning at the courthouse.

    Criminal charges are possible for a felon participating in law enforcement activity.

    Sheriff has felon volunteer on force | wavy.com

    Sheriff has felon volunteer on force
    Under attack by Commonwealth's Attorney

    Updated: Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 8:01 PM EDT
    Published : Tuesday, 25 May 2010, 8:01 PM EDT

    * Andy Fox

    ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - Last week a Commonwealth's attorney discovered that Isle of Wight Sheriff Charles Phelps had a convicted felon on the force. The Sheriff insists the convicted felon was only on the auxiliary force, that he always worked with a sworn officer, and never made any arrests.

    Phelps also admitted he knew Jonathan Burns was a convicted felon, and that Wayne Farmer is the big problem. "The first reaction was disbelief," said Commonwealth's Attorney Wayne Farmer. "I couldn't believe it was true."

    Farmer could not believe thatBurns--a member of the Isle of Wight Sheriff's Auxiliary, described by the sheriff as a volunteer--was wearing a uniform, a badge, and carrying a taser.

    "He has been active as a law enforcement officer, although he is not a law enforcement officer," Farmer said, and pointed out all are against state code.

    Burns is not a law enforcement officer because he is a four-time convicted felon, who pleaded guilty to arson and grand larceny charges in July 1998.

    "He has been assisting in investigations, assisting in arrests...he's made searches of vehicles," Farmer said.

    Farmer calls it a blatant violation of state law, approved by a county sheriff (Phelps), who says he gave Burns a break, but only as volunteer errand runner.

    "He was basically going to run errands for us," said Phelps. "Help us out around here. Do odds and ends, things that don't require a sworn officer to do."

    But something happened along the road of good intentions. Burns reportedly started taking more liberties than would an 'errand runner.' There is a picture of Burns on his Facebook Page taking a taser class, which is against state law, as felons are not allowed to carry a stun gun.

    "According to what I am told by my Major, they didn't realize he couldn't have a taser," Phelps said. "And at the moment they realized he couldn't have a taser they took it away from him."

    Burns took down his Facebook page and no one answered the door at his home.

    At least nine cases in which Burns assisted in an arrest may be dismissed beginning Wednesday. Farmer says he will agree for the matter to be reopened and ultimately will be dismissed.

    "I am not going to oppose the call for a new trial because I will not defend the indefensible...a convicted felon working as a law enforcement officer is indefensible...I will not attempt to defend that conduct...I can not proceed that matter without calling Jonathan Burns as a witness, and I'm not putting Jonathan Burns on as a witness on behalf of the Commonwealth," he said.

    Attorney Tom Watkins is seeking new trials for four of his clients due to violations of constitutional rights to a fair trial.

    "If you've got someone committing crimes when he arrests you and then obviously you don't tell the defense attorney then that changes the whole situation," he said.

    The first motion for a new trial is Wednesday in an Isle of Wight County Courthouse.

    Burns is also related to the sheriff's son who is a lieutenant in the Sheriff's office. The sheriff is conducting an internal investigation, but state police could be called in to investigate the sheriff.

    "I'm going to do my own internal investigation, but if [Farmer] involves the state police, I will cooperate 100 percent," Phelps said.

    Jonathan Burns is an unpaid volunteer, but he did receive pay recently to conduct an inventory for the sheriff. He has been told not to return to the sheriff's office.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    U gotta be kidding me,didn't realise a convicted felon couldn't participate in searches and arrests,wonder how many firearms he handled as far as shotguns and Patrol Rifles.
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
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    Former sheriff's aide, a felon, described adventures on Facebook | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com

    Former sheriff's aide, a felon, described adventures on Facebook
    Posted to: News Login or register to post comments

    By Linda McNatt
    The Virginian-Pilot
    May 28, 2010
    ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY

    For nearly three months, Jonathan Burns tooled the back roads of this rural county and later told Facebook about his adventures.

    He drove the Isle of Wight County sheriff's car, he said, carried a gun and a stun gun, and assisted in hunting down bad guys. He had five pictures of himself on the page dressed in his uniform and referred to himself as a "cop."

    "Tasers are great," he wrote.

    Problem was, the sheriff's department aide himself used to be one of the bad guys.

    In July 1998, when he was 17, Burns was convicted of larceny and three counts of arson. He was sentenced to a total of 18 years in prison, with all but six months suspended.

    According to Commonwealth's Attorney Wayne Farmer, Burns worked as an electrician and stayed out of trouble. At some point, Capt. Paul Phelps, the sheriff's son and a second-in-command in the office, married Burns' mother-in-law. In his mind, Farmer said, that makes Isle of Wight County Sheriff Charlie Phelps and Burns relatives.

    "Charlie has acknowledged that he knew Burns was a convicted felon," Farmer said Thursday. "I think he hired him because he was a family member. He was trying to give him a break. It was poor judgment."

    Not only that, it has created a mess in law enforcement.

    "The issue is not Jonathan Burns," Farmer said. "I think he's a nice-enough fellow, but he has no place in law enforcement."

    Farmer said he fears that some of his cases could be compromised because of Burns.

    Sheriff Phelps said Burns has never shown up at his family gatherings. He said Burns came into his office about 10 years ago, acknowledged his crimes and told him he wanted to do something to make up for his behavior.

    "I was trying to give him a break," Phelps said.

    In March, Phelps said that Burns was hired for a temporary position to conduct an inventory of the department's uniforms and equipment. Since the story came out, Phelps said, Burns and the department have parted by mutual agreement. He said he and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office are investigating Burns' activities.

    "So far, I've uncovered nothing that he made an arrest, served a warrant, wrote a ticket," the sheriff said. "We're still investigating it. If we find that Burns has violated the law, we will pursue charges against him."

    Farmer said he believes it has put his office in a vulnerable position.

    "I fully support the efforts of the governor and the former governor to restore rights to convicted felons," Farmer said. "But there is a process that Burns could have gone through to have his right to vote or to carry a weapon restored. He never went through that process.

    "Now, I'm trying to meet my obligations."
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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    Can you hear the sounds of lawyers licking their lips in anticipation of all the money they're going to make from the litigation which will doubtless be coming??
    CCW permit holder for Idaho, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maine and New Hampshire. I can carry in your country but not my own.

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    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    I knew some where within this morass there would eventually come a statement of this sort...

    [Isle of Wight County Sheriff Charlie Phelps] hired him because he was a family member. He was trying to give him a break. It was poor judgment.
    Some storys that just sound too crazy and unbelievable to be true, are in fact truth.

    Not just the sheriff but his deputys who worked with Burns will (and should) also have their own cases reviewed too. As well there should be some firings handed out among them as related to don't ask/don't tell.

    Sad.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Free American's Avatar
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    This is my county!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This jackhole has been to my house on noise complaints against my neighbors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Why do i pay county taxes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Argggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!
    They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin


    Previously known as "cjm5874"

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Shadowsbane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    I knew some where within this morass there would eventually come a statement of this sort...



    Some storys that just sound too crazy and unbelievable to be true, are in fact truth.

    Not just the sheriff but his deputys who worked with Burns will (and should) also have their own cases reviewed too. As well there should be some firings handed out among them as related to don't ask/don't tell.

    Sad.

    - Janq
    They say that truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.
    Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

    www.Lonelymountainleather.com

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Turns out the guy wasn't a poser... Sheriff had him sworn in! Now there is a battle royale going on between the Sheriff and the Commonwealth's Attorney, and Sheriff Phelps is grasping at straws.

    IOW feud arises over felonious deputy | wavy.com

    IOW feud arises over felonious deputy
    Commonwealth's attorney takes on sheriff

    Updated: Wednesday, 02 Jun 2010, 6:09 AM EDT
    Published : Tuesday, 01 Jun 2010, 7:52 PM EDT

    * Andy Fox

    ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) - The Commonwealth's Attorney for Isle of Wight County is asking State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to order a state police investigation into the sheriff's hiring of an auxiliary deputy who was a four-time convicted felon.

    Cuccinelli's office says it will neither confirm nor deny any investigation it is working on, but the case is causing a feud between the Commonwealth's Attorney Wayne Farmer and County Sheriff Charles Phelps.

    A WAVY.com investigation revealed that Phelps had brought in a volunteer deputy, Jonathan Burns, who not only was a sworn deputy, but also carried a taser, and was involved in arrests. One of those arrests has been dismissed and eight others could follow.

    Phelps now says Farmer should recuse himself from the case.

    "I think Mr. Farmer should disqualify himself from this. I believe he has a conflict of interest...He has put himself in position of being the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge and the jury," said Phelps. "I think there are circumstances that need to be explored, rather than one person making the determination as to who's guilty and who's not, and what needs to be done."

    "To suggest I must recuse myself from doing what I do, every day of my life, in every case that comes into this office is ridiculous," Farmer said.

    Phelps also says Farmer should not arbitrarily request the cases Burns was involved in to be dismissed.

    Farmer responded, "I was elected as Commonwealth attorney, not other individuals. I have to [determine] about what we can and can not prove, what is proper and improper, so no cases are being summarily dismissed."

    Phelps also says Farmer needs to investigate his own office to determine if anyone there knew Burns was a four-time convicted felon.

    WAVY.com asked Farmer if anyone in his office knew Burns was a four-time convicted felon.

    "Absolutely not," he said. "No one in this office was aware of that information."

    Farmer says it was Sheriff Phelps who knew Burns was a convicted felon.

    "The battle is what's going to happen...and it's not going to be pleasurable," Phelps said.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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