MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Longtime District Attorney Randall Houston, Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley, Assistant Chief John Bowman and Major Jay King appeared before the Alabama Ethics Commission during a five hour meeting on Wednesday.
Independent complaints were lodged against all four officials.
The Alabama Ethics Commission did not find probable cause that any of the officials violated the state’s ethics laws and the cases were automatically closed during a public vote.
The commission went into executive session for hours to hear testimony and evidence surrounding the complaints. Following the lengthy executive session the commission publicly voted on each case.
Commissioner Beverlye Brady presented Houston’s case, and she found that it violated the ethics laws. Commissioner Judge Charles Price seconded that motion to refer the case for prosecution. However, commissioners Butch Ellis and Jerry Fielding voted against referring the case out for prosecution. Commissioner John Plunk recused. The 2-2 vote did not pass, and the case was closed.
The commission cast a 3-1 vote not to refer the cases against the Montgomery officers out for prosecution, as three commissioners did not find probable cause that the officers violated the ethics laws. Those cases were also closed. Price recused from the votes. Brady voted against closing the cases.
If the commission had found probable cause that the officials had violated ethics laws, the cases would have been referred to a district attorney.
Until the vote, the public should not know if an official has a complaint lodged against them. It’s a Class C Felony to share a copy of an ethics complaint, in fact, even those whom the complaints are lodged against aren’t granted a copy.
“These were two complaints brought by a disgruntled former employee,” Houston stated after the vote. “I appreciate the commission’s thoughtful review. We have been humbled by this experience.”
A request for comment was filed late Wednesday afternoon with the Montgomery Police Department.