Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman in Atlanta has three lawyers representing him in a federal lawsuit charging that his jail is dirty and dangerous, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The third attorney was hired last month for $275 an hour. Freeman and the consultant running the jail have failed to provide required reports on how the Sheriff’s Office is addressing conditions at the county lockup, says another jail attorney, Ted Lackland. The problem with late and incomplete reports has been raised several times since federal judge Marvin Shoob in February, ordered improvements at the jail and told Freeman to provide regular, detailed reports showing both progress and problems in complying with his order.
So far, taxpayers have spent more than $500,000 just on legal fees for private attorneys to negotiate a settlement in the jail lawsuit and to file required reports and respond to allegations the sheriff was not complying with Shoob’s mandates. Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights, which filed the 2004 suit, has complained repeatedly about the shortage of reports and said the few filed to date were inadequate. Bright has threatened to seek contempt charges against the sheriff because of reporting failures.