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Hall sheriff to appeal deputies reinstatement
Board overturned firings after 2013 inmate escape; judge requested to hear case
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Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch will appeal the reinstatement of two deputies involved in an inmate’s escape, County Attorney Bill Blalock said Friday.

“The sheriff’s intention is to appeal it and go forward with it,” Blalock said. “There’s no question about that.”

The sheriff is appealing the Civil Services Board Oct. 17 ruling to reinstate Jack Dodd and Larry Henslee, two deputies fired after an inmate escaped on July 16, 2013. A week after the incident, Dodd and Henslee were fired for their alleged negligence in the matter.

The two rebutted, saying the transport of inmates from the Hall County Courthouse to the Hall County Jail was understaffed.

According to the Hall County Comprehensive Justice Information System, a request has been made to appoint Judge Brenda Weaver to the case. Weaver serves as the Chief Superior Court judge of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit.

The first vote to reinstate the deputies was voided by Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller on Aug. 12 due to a violation of open meetings laws. Because the Civil Services Board did not vote in public, Fuller ruled to have the case remanded back to the board.

After refresher arguments Oct. 17, the board voted 5-1 — with one member absent — to rescind the termination.

“Now it will go back and it’ll be heard on its merits, hopefully. It’ll just go forward as it was originally intended,” Blalock said.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Nicole Bailes said Couch “has no comment at this time.”

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