Preliminary Court with the Honorable Derek Peterson, Henry County CourthouseSandra Stokes Walden
Posted by: Sandra Walden
Date: Jun 12 2012 8:38 PM
This afternoon I went to Abbeville to preliminary court in the Honorable Derek Peterson’s courtroom at the Henry County Courthouse. Several defendants on the docket waived their right to a preliminary hearing. One attorney did not make it to the courthouse for his client’s hearing. She was advised to go to his office near the courthouse and they had not returned before court was dismissed.
Judge Peterson had the Sheriff bring several inmates from the Henry County Jail to the courtroom due to his concerned that they were not in contact with their retained attorneys. The four defendants have not had a bond hearing at this time. The defendants stated that their families have retained attorneys for them.
The first case Judge Peterson called to the bench was a young man applying for youthful offender. The defendant was ready to plead guilty due to drug testing and the length of time that marijuana remains in the system following use. Judge Peterson, in his soft-spoken yet firm way, talked with the defendant, his mother and a juvenile representative. Judge Peterson worked with the defendant and Mr. McKay on a plan of action that must be followed before a new court date in August. Judge Peterson is encouraging the young man to get his life on the right track.
Next was a Bond Reduction Hearing for Mr. Robert Franklin Roberts represented by Attorney Nereida Bundy. Mrs. Bundy is asking for another reduction in Mr. Roberts bond. Mr. Roberts has been in the Henry County Jail for eight months and will be going before the grand jury the next time it meets in Henry County. If he is able to get another bond reduction and can be bonded out of jail he would live with his brother in Newton.
Attorney Durrell Whiddon represented the state. He had some reservations about reducing the bond again. The bond has been reduced twice and Mr. Whiddon thought there was a hold on Mr. Roberts in Newton. Mr. Roberts said that Newton came to get him for court and the charges were dropped.
Following several minutes of discussion between Judge Peterson and Mr. Roberts a new time was set for Mr. Roberts’ family to appear in court to discuss living arrangements should Mr. Roberts bond be reduced. Discussion continued about work release for Mr. Roberts. Inmates in work release are able to pay on their fines and court costs but not restitution. Only the Sheriff can approve a inmate for work release, a Judge cannot order it.