Former Morgan County warden says warrant against him is based on Sheriff’s Office misleading judge


Morgan County Jail (WHNT News 19 File)

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. -- Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin had one of her former employees arrested in 2016, but now that person says it's the sheriff's office that violated the law.

A new court filing in the case of former warden Leon Bradley argues the sheriff’s office improperly obtained a warrant based on evidence she got through hiring the grandson of a critical blogger to help them investigate his grandmother. Bradley’s lawyers want a hearing in the case so the judge can hear the arguments about the search warrant.

Warden Leon Bradley was fired by Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin in October 2016. Nearly a year later he was charged with a misdemeanor count of tampering with government documents. Investigators reported finding sheriff's office records at Bradley's home.

Now Bradley's lawyers argue that the case should be thrown out, and the charges dismissed. They say deputies misled the judge to obtain a search warrant used to search Bradley's computer and the business of Glenda Lockhart.

Lockhart has written for the Morgan County Whistleblower blog, which has been critical of Sheriff Ana Franklin. Franklin's office asserts Bradley was feeding Lockhart information. Bradley's lawyers say a sheriff`s office investigator had been looking for months into 'leaked information' that appeared on the blog. The lawyers say the investigator hired Lockhart's grandson -- paying him to go into his grandmother's business and copy documents.

In a court filing the grandson says he also installed software provided by the sheriff’s office that can copy a computer's keystrokes -- commonly called a keylogger --so the sheriff's office could track what was written from the computer.

Bradley's lawyers say the court was never told the investigator paid Lockhart's grandson to enter the business without permission and copy records. They say the warrant should be thrown out and the charge dropped.

Franklin has announced she is not seeking reelection.

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