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Published: December 27, 2019


A PANEL OF THREE JUDGES RULED MONDAY IN THE FEDERAL APPEALS COURT, THAT A CLASS OF PAROLE VIOLATORS COULD CONTINUE WITH THEIR SUIT AGAINST GILES COUNTY AND SHERIFF KYLE HELTON.  ACCORDING TO MEDIA SOURCES, THE LAWSUIT WHICH STEMS BACK TO 2018 CLAIMS THAT THE BAIL SYSTEM ALLEGEDLY EXTORTS MONEY FROM PEOPLE TOO POOR TO PAY FEES. THE COUNTY AND SHERIFF FILED AN APPEAL AFTER A FEDERAL COURT JUDGE RULED IN THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT IN FEBRUARY.  HELTON HAS ARGUED THAT THE LAWSUIT SHOULD BE AGAINST THE JUDGES WHO SET THE BAIL AMOUNTS AND DENIED THEM HEARINGS.  U.S. CIRCUIT JUDGE JEFFREY SUTTON, ON OF THE PANELISTS, ADVISED THE ALLEGED VIOLATION SHOULD BE LOOKED AT AS TWO ACTIONS, ONE THE JUDGE DETERMINING A BAIL AMOUNT WITHOUT CONSIDERING ABILITY TO PAY OR ADEQUACY OF ALTERNATIVES AND THE SECOND, THE SHERIFF DETAINS THE PROBATIONER UNTIL SHE OR HE PAYS THE BAIL AMOUNT.  THE LAWSUIT IS SIMILAR TO THE ONE FILED IN 2015 THAT SHUT DOWN THE USE OF PRIVATE PROBATION IN RUTHERFORD COUNTY.