Ex-deputies get more time to appeal
Athens Banner-Herald/January 4, 2007
By Joe Johnson
Four former Clarke County deputies accused of undermining jail
security through their ties to a black supremacist cult were
supposed to argue for their jobs this week, but a hearings officer
postponed the appeals to give the ex-deputies more time to
The deputies were fired in November after a Clarke County
Sheriff's Office internal investigation found they encouraged
black inmates to rebel against white deputies and recruited
inmates into the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors sect.
The former deputies still are gathering documents and witnesses
for their hearings, according to Denny Galis, a private attorney
who acts as the county's personnel hearing officer. "They will be
allowed to present evidence and call on witnesses," Galis said.
The former deputies also may be represented by attorneys at the
hearings, Galis said, but as of this week he only knew of one who
has legal representation, Rena Jennings.
Jennings' attorney, John M. Clark of Elberton, would not
discuss the pending appeal.
Only one of the fired deputies had a new hearing date as of
Wednesday, according to Athens-Clarke Human Resources Director
Harry Owens. While William York is scheduled to make his case on
Jan. 29, Jennings, Anthony Montgomery and Bobby Dixon don't have
new hearing dates.
The sheriff's office allowed a fifth Nuwaubian deputy, Leon
Adams, to resign in lieu of termination. But by resigning, Adams
forfeited his right to appeal, Owens said.
Nuwaubian deputies first came under scrutiny by sheriff's
officials in March, when the officials were notified by the U.S.
Bureau of Prisons that it had intercepted a letter from Montgomery
to the Nuwaubians' spiritual leader, Dwight "Malachi" York, a
convicted felon. York is serving a 135-year sentence in a maximum
security federal prison for child molestation, racketeering, money
laundering and other crimes.
The former deputies' appeals hearings will mark the first time
in two years that a fired county employee formally has sought
reinstatement, Owens said.
In 2005, two former Athens-Clarke police officers failed to
convince Athens-Clarke Manager Alan Reddish to give them back
their jobs after they were fired for providing alcohol to an
underage woman, who also had sex with one of the officers and the
Normally when a county employee is fired, he first appeals to
the manager, and then can take the appeal one step further to the
personnel hearing officer. But when the employee works for an
elected official, like the sheriff, the appeal goes directly to
the hearing officer.
All five former deputies were on paid suspension for three
months before they were fired.
After interviewing deputies and inmates, and allowing the
Georgia Bureau of Investigation to administer lie-detector tests,
sheriff's investigators concluded that Nuwaubian deputies were a
serious disruptive influence at the jail. "By the intentional
introduction of unauthorized Nuwaubian literature and beliefs into
the jail environment, the daily safety and security of the jail
has been breached," according to a report on the investigation.