Barren County's Embattled Sheriff Will Learn Fate This Week
Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton's resignation takes effect this Wednesday, one day before he is sentenced in federal court.
In May, Eaton was convicted on two felony counts of witness tampering related to the alleged beating of a suspect and a cover-up that followed.
Kentucky law, in some cases, allows an elected official to remain on the job until all appeals are exhausted. John Caudill, a Bowling Green attorney and former federal prosecutor, says it would have been very unlikely for the sheriff to stay in office.
"Once you're convicted, in order to stay out, you have to show you have a substantial issue of law or fact that is likely to result in reversal of the conviction, a new trial, or the sentence that you would serve is so short that it would be effectively be completed by the time the appeals process is done," explains Caudill.
Sheriff Eaton will be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green. According to a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court, prosecutors are seeking a seven to nine-year prison term, which Eaton's defense attorney calls unreasonable. Frankfort Attorney Guthrie True is seeking ten to 16 months.
The sheriff will be sentenced on the same day that former deputy Adam Minor will learn his fate. Minor cooperated with prosecutors and testified at trial in exchange for a lighter sentence. Prosecutors are recommending that he serve no time behind bars.