Morning news update

Judge rules in favor of sheriff

Some Jefferson County taxpayers say they are relieved that Sheriff Mike Hale won't have to make deep cuts in his budget after Judge Boohaker ruled in the Sheriff's favor in a lawsuit against the Jefferson County Commission. Boohaker's ruling doesn't preclude the possibility of the commission ever cutting the sheriff's budget, but says commissioners didn't make a good faith effort to negotiate with Hale this time around. Boohaker is asking both sides to head back to the negotiating table and try to hammer out a compromise. This comes as commissioners said Thursday the county may be out of money in two weeks. "This has never been about Mike Hale or the deputies," Sheriff Hale said. "It has been about the men and women of this county, that deserve safe neighborhoods and safe communities." Taxpayers we talked to said they are relieved the sheriff won't have to make deep cuts.  "I think they should get the money from somewhere else from the budget," said Tommy Schillaci, a Jefferson County taxpayer. "To keep everybody safe, they need some money so the money should come from somewhere else than where they're figuring." Sheriff Hale said Thursday he is willing to negotiate.

Birmingham City Council worried over numbers

Birmingham City Council members say the numbers are not adding up. On Thursday, they voted again to delay passing the 2010 budget so they can ask for an audit of city finances. The battle is over 26 million dollars.  Mayor Larry Langford says that money is left over from last year, but council members disagree. The council says an audit will clear up how much money the city really has. In the meantime, the city will operate under last year's budget, while councilors say they will continue to try to work out the problems. Council President Carole Smitherman says the city should know more about the audit next week. She says she is still hopeful the city will pass the budget in the next two weeks.

Police officer arrested on sexual assault charge

A Birmingham police officer has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a 23-year-old woman. Officer Cleveland Reynolds is in the Jefferson County Jail this morning. We are told the officer was on duty at the time of the alleged crime. He is on paid leave pending the investigation.

Former prison guard arrested for bringing drugs into Bibb County Correctional Facility

A former state prison guard will be sentenced next week for bringing drugs into the Bibb County Correctional Facility. 26-year-old Kenya Morton will plead guilty to charges of promoting prison contraband. Authorities found marijuana and pain pills on him during a search last year. Morton faces up to 10 years in prison.