Jefferson County judge subpoenas sheriff, commission president

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County Circuit Judge Mac Parsons issued subpoenas this week to Sheriff Mike Hale and County Commission President Bettye Fine Collins to come to his courtroom after no one responded to his courtroom emergency duress call.

Sources tell FOX6 News Parsons questioned security measures at the courthouse when he tested the duress button on his bench Monday. No one responded to Parsons call for help.

Judge Parsons then issued the subpoenas for Hale and Collins to meet with him Wednesday, but canceled the subpoenas Wednesday afternoon without comment.

Collins told FOX6 News Thursday she had no intention to respond to the court order.

"I question the authority of the judge to command my presence," Collins said.  "He has a phone. I haven't received a call from him. I thought it interesting he saw fit to issue a subpoena for my arrest."

Collins said the county's security force does not respond to problems in Jefferson County courtrooms.

"We have assumed responsibility of serving the entrances but it's not our responsibility nor do we have the manpower to provide security in the halls and courtrooms," Collins said. "That is up to some other body."

The director of General Services for Jefferson County told FOX6 News Thursday old hand-held radios will be supplied to the cutoff courthouse Friday afternoon.

Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale said his department will provide assistance in any high-profile crime cases at the courthouse and would provide any help if called upon. Sheriff Hale pulled deputies from courthouse security after his commissioners cut his budget for the new fiscal year that began October 1.