Facing criminal prosecution for alleged misconduct in office, Franklin County, Kan., Sheriff Jeffry Curry said Thursday he will resign effective April 1.
By TONY RIZZO
The Kansas City Star
His attorney, Trey Pettlon, announced Curry’s resignation plans during a court hearing on whether Curry should be suspended temporarily from office. Prosecutors were seeking the suspension while pursuing a petition to oust him from office.
Curry decided to resign after “a great deal of thought and consideration,” Pettlon said.
Based on Curry’s intention to resign, Shawnee County Senior Assistant District Attorney Todd Hiatt said the state would withdraw its suspension motion. The ouster petition will be dismissed April 2, after Curry’s resignation becomes official, Hiatt said.
The criminal case against Curry and one of his deputies still is pending, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 1.
Franklin County Attorney Stephen Hunting announced the charges against Curry and Deputy Jerrod W. Fredricks late last month. The allegations in the criminal case were the basis for the ouster petition, according to Hunting.
Details of the allegations have not been made public.
Curry and Fredricks each are charged with a felony count of interference with law enforcement. The interference charges allege that they provided false information to a police investigative agency.
Curry also is charged with a misdemeanor count of official misconduct. That charge alleges that Curry used confidential information to benefit himself or someone else or to intentionally cause harm to someone.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. The Shawnee County district attorney’s office is handling the prosecution at Hunting’s request.
Hunting encouraged Curry to resign when the charges were filed. He said at that time that the investigation was ongoing.
Curry has been with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department since 1994 and was appointed sheriff in 2010. He was elected to the office last year.
In his resignation letter, Curry said he came to the decision with a “great deal of sadness.”
“The events of the last few weeks have created a distraction for me and for my office which makes it difficult for me to continue to serve effectively at this time,” he wrote.
Attorneys involved in the case have declined to discuss the basis for the criminal charges and ouster.
Hiatt said that he intended to call eight or nine witnesses to testify at the preliminary hearing.
The list of possible witnesses in the criminal case includes a defendant and prosecutor in a drug case pending in federal court.
The defendant, Jessica Blackstone, is among three Franklin County residents a federal grand jury indicted in December on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, according to federal court documents.
The other witness in Curry’s case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri McCracken, is listed in court records as the prosecutor in the case against Blackstone.
Calls seeking comment from McCracken and the lawyer representing Blackstone were not returned Thursday.
To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.