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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Attorney files suit against sheriff

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mountains of snow have been piled up around the city, towering above surrounding vehicles and taking up parking spaces. Street Commissioner Paul Wilson says the city will be removing the downtown piles overnight Thursday and early Friday.
Putnam County Sheriff Mark Frisbie is the target of a lawsuit accusing him, among several charges, of assault and battery against Putnam County public defender James Recker.

The lawsuit, stemming from a 2005 incident between the two men, was filed last week in Marion County Superior Court and a copy of the documents were sent to the BannerGraphic.

The alleged altercation occurred in Recker's office on Feb. 10, 2005, in regard to a murder trial in which Recker was representing a Roachdale man accused of the crime.

Recker's actions, according to the sheriff, led to the betrayal of the murder suspect's cell mate to whom the murder suspect allegedly confessed.

Frisbie said he feared for the safety of the cell mate because of Recker's actions and admits to confronting Recker about it, however, he denies any wrongdoing.

According to the documents filed last week, Frisbie entered Recker's office where he accused Recker of wrongdoing concerning the cell mate. The documents state that Frisbie, acting in his official capacity as sheriff, threatened to arrest Recker for obstruction of justice.

Recker also claims Frisbie "was visibly enraged and screaming and came within 6 inches of (Recker's) face."

Court documents go on to state that Recker tried to avoid the altercation by leaving the office but was stopped by Frisbie at the door.

"(Recker) then again attempted to leave, and Frisbie again prevented him from doing so by shoving (Recker) backwards and slamming the door," according to court documents.

The next day, the sheriff issued a letter -- with a copy sent to the BannerGraphic -- stating that Recker and fellow counselor Laura Paul were barred from entering the Putnam County Jail in the future to meet with clients who were incarcerated there.

The letter states that if Recker wants to meet with clients, he is to arrange for them to be brought to his office at the Putnam County Courthouse or he can speak to clients at the jail, under the supervision of a jail officer.

Frisbie, in the letter, accused Recker of failing to "live up to the code of his profession" and "bringing disgrace to the Putnam County Public Defender's Office."

Recker's lawsuit claims Frisbie's actions were unlawful and unconstitutional. He is seeking monetary and other damages from the sheriff and accuses the sheriff of inflicting "extreme emotional distress."

Frisbie's attorney, William Berish, told the BannerGraphic Thursday that he intends to file a response to the allegations and will seek to have the case heard in federal court, rather than county court, because the allegations relate to federal law.

"I would expect that we will deny all the charges," Berish said.

Meanwhile, Recker is scheduled to appear March 27 and 28 as a defendant before a state disciplinary commission for matters relating to his job as public defender. The hearing will take place in Hamilton County Superior Court II.

Recker was not available for comment.

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