Release my Brother from the Baldwin County Correction Center

Release my Brother from the Baldwin County Correction Center

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Taja Mack started this petition

My Brother is in jail over nothing. He has done the right thing and followed the rules!! Please sign this petition to help us have him released!!!!


BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) – When police in Gulf Shores arrested Vernon Bernard McCovery Jr. on a warrant, he figured it was a mix-up that quickly would be cleared up.

Two weeks later, he is still in jail.

McCovery’s attorney, J.D. Hawke, told FOX10 News that the arrest warrant was a misunderstanding and that the probation officer backs his client.

“Mr. McCovery’s done everything asked of him by the probation office,” he said. “And actually, this is one of the rare cases where the probation office agrees with me, agrees with the defendant, and is, you know, on our side, basically.”

Hawke said his client never received notice that he was supposed to report to a state probation officer, only that he was required as part of the two-year probation to submit to drug tests at the Baldwin Court Referral Office for 12 months.

But Baldwin County District Attorney Robert Wilters disputed the way the defense has characterized this. He maintains that McCovery was, in fact, required to report to probation. He said the defendant can make his case a probation revocation hearing later this month.

“At the hearing, somebody will be able to take testimony from the probation officer,” he said. “But I would be very surprised if the defendant did not have a copy of what he was supposed to do.”

McCovery, 35, pleaded guilty in January to a drug possession charge and was placed on two years of probation. A probation officer filed a delinquency report in March accusing McCovery of failing to report. That triggered an arrest warrant.

Hawke said that he talked to the officer and told him his client was not aware of the reporting requirement. He said the officer told him that if McCovery started reporting to him and provided proof that he had bee complying with the drug screening requirements at the Court Referral Office, he would have the warrant recalled.

Hawke said he believed the matter was taken care of. But according to a defense court filing, Assistant District Attorney Ashley Siebert asked that the defense file a formal motion to recall the arrest warrant. By the time Hawke filed that motion, McCovery already had been arrested. Gulf Shores police took him into custody while he was fishing on Nov. 20.

The defendant’s girlfriend, Fairhope resident Blair Gordon, said the timing could not be worse.

“We just had a baby,” she told FOX10 News. “And so, he missed the baby’s first Thanksgiving, which is very unfortunate. But this has now brought to light different issues within our system that I think needs to be addressed.”

Baldwin County Circuit Judge Jody Bishop denied a request to recall the arrest warrant, ruling it was “moot” since it already had been executed.

So Hawke filed a new motion seeking McCovery’s release from jail. That “unopposed” motion states the probation officer and Court Referral Office both confirm that McCovery has fulfilled every requirement

But the judge denied that without explanation and set the case for a hearing on Dec. 14.

Hawke says he understands the DAs office now is opposing McCovery’s release but has not put anything in writing. He said he has not been able to get an explanation from prosecutors.

“I’ve tried. I’ve attempted to contact them, but I have not been successful in my attempts,” he said.

Siebert told FOX10 News that she cannot comment. A spokesman for the Alabama Board of Paroles and Probation also declined to comment, and representatives form the Baldwin Court Referral Office could not be reached for comment.

Gordon said she is at a loss.

“I was a little bit taken aback,” she said. “I didn’t expect that at all. I thought that we had this resolved, taken care of, and he had stepped up and made himself accountable for anything that he had done in the past and we were moving forward from there.”

The maximum penalty for a technical probation violation like the one McCovery is accused of committing is 45 days in jail. But the time he has his revocation hearing on Dec. 14, he will have been jailed for almost a month.

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