Sheriff Mark Frisbie and Public Defender James Recker have announced they have settled a lawsuit filed by Recker against the sheriff and Putnam County from an incident in February 2005.
Recker alleged in the lawsuit that the sheriff initiated an altercation with him in the Putnam County Courthouse over an inmate at the jail.
After the incident Frisbie briefly banned Recker from entering the county jail to consult with clients.
Frisbee eventually rescinded the ban and both the sheriff and Recker expressed regret over the incident.
As a result of the settlement Recker will receive an $8,500 payment, most of which will be paid by the county's insurance company, in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.
A joint statement released by the two states, "This settlement is not an admission of liability by Sheriff Frisbie, Putnam County or any other party. Both sides deny any wrongdoing in connection with the incidents that gave rise to this lawsuit. Rather the settlement merely recognizes it is in the best interest of all parties to resolve the dispute amicably and move forward."
Frisbee and Recker also agreed that in the future, if the sheriff believes in good faith that there is a need to consider banning public defenders from the jail, he will not do so for more than 72 hours without first meeting with the affected public defender and an agreed upon neutral third party (judge or other person).
This meeting will allow the public defender an opportunity to be heard. The third party will be asked to make a recommendation whether the ban should stay in effect or not. And, that the sheriff will in "good faith" consider the recommendation.
Lastly, Recker and Frisbee agreed that neither party would make any comment beyond what was set forth in the issued statement.