Cass County’s two top law officers have been relieved of their duties after a judge’s ruling on a lawsuit brought against them. Judge Robert Hutchinson ruled that Cass County Sheriff Larry Jones and County Attorney James Barry were both guilty of “willful misconduct and maladministration in office” –and that both should be removed from office immediately. In his 24-page ruling Hutchinson says Barry’s practice of reducing speeding tickets to non-moving violations in exchange for higher fines not only abused the system, but invited and encouraged it. He says Jones acted in concert with Barry to divert money from plea bargains and other settlements into the county drug fund, and then made unauthorized purchases. The judge could not find evidence that Jones used any of the funds for his personal use. Not long after he was told of the ruling, Jones told the sheriff’s dispatchers he was “10-42”, ending his tour of duty permanently. Neither Barry nor Jones could be reached for comment.
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