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Wilcox County Sheriff Stacy Bloodsworth and Deputies Charged with Federal Civil Rights Violations

Yesterday, federal prosecutors announced that they had indicted Stacy Bloodsworth, the Sheriff of Wilcox County, Georgia and his deputies for violating the civil rights of inmates in the local jail.  The allegations refer to an alleged assault on an inmate at the county jail in 2009.  Apparently, the inmate was injured during the assault.  The Sheriff and three others are also charged with attempting to cover-up the assault.

In our experience, it is difficult to convict a law enforcement officer for an alleged assault such as this.  Most jurors tend to believe that the inmate was likely at fault in some way.  In one South Georgia case that sounds very similar to this Wilcox County case, our federal criminal lawyers were able to convince a jury to find our client (a deputy sheriff) “not guilty” after a long federal trial in Dublin, Ga.

Of course, representing law enforcement officers also presents some unique challenges because of the public’s expectations, and the possibility that the media creates a bias about the case well before the case goes to trial.  It’s important to try to neutralize that media coverage as early as possible.