Alabama prosecutor suspended for messages sent to inmate
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -A Houston County prosecutor is suspended for messages he apparently sent to a habitual drug offender and whom Mark Johnson planned to prosecute.
“We have addressed the situation (with Mr. Johnson),” Houston County District Attorney Pat Jones told News 4 on Monday.
He has recused his office from inmate Jamie Connolly’s pending drug cases that have been reassigned to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
He also placed Johnson on leave for this week.
The allegations are detailed in a letter written by Connolly to Houston County Circuit Judge Kevin Moulton this month.
Afterwards, Jones asked the attorney general’s office to step in and said he also notified the Alabama Bar Association of Johnson’s apparent misconduct.
“Absolutely (action has been taken), we didn’t wait five minutes,” Jones said.
The Alabama Ethics Commission could also investigate Johnson.
In the letter, Connolly alleges she received inappropriate messages from Johnson via Facebook.
What is not clear is if copies of those messages accompanied the letter.
Ms. Connolly’s daughter said, while inappropriate, Johnson neither makes sexual demands nor mentions sexual relations. She did not immediately provide copies of those messages to News 4.
It is generally inappropriate for prosecutors to communicate with defendants in cases in which they are involved.
Connolly has dozens of arrests on drug, theft, burglary and escape charges.
Whether Johnson’s alleged bad behavior could affect other cases he has prosecuted is not known, but one defense attorney has raised that possibility.
“If you are a criminally charged in Houston County, Alabama and have been contacted inappropriately by a member of the District Attorney’s Office, please notify your attorney as soon as possible,” Eric C. Davis wrote on his Facebook page Monday.
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office that will handle Connolly’s prosecution declined to comment for this story.
The Alabama Bar Association does not discuss pending investigations.
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