Ethics charges dropped

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A case against a former Brewton police officer won’t be pursued in court after a motion filed by the Escambia County District Attorney’s office says there wouldn’t be enough evidence to convict.
Eddie Barton was originally arrested in May 2012 and charged with intentionally misusing this public position as a police officer for unlawful personal gain and that he misused confidential law enforcement data by accessing private information about an individual unrelated to any official law enforcement duty — both felony ethics charges.
In a motion granted Monday by District Judge Brad Byrne, Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy requested the case be “nol prossed” — essentially dismissing the case.
The motion filed by Billy states that “although probable cause was established for these charges, the State would not be able to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Joe M. Reed, attorney for Bartone, said a full disclosure of the circumstances was not made before the grand jury when the case was made against his client.
“There was no evidence to support the claims,” Reed said. “All of the facts were not presented to the grand jury in regard to Mr. Barton.”
Reed said the case was also heard before the state’s ethics committee and that charges saying Barton violated the ethics code were unfounded.
“They have a lower legal standard and they didn’t find any evidence to support the charges,” Reed said. “The charges against my client were unfounded.”
Reed said he was pleased with the findings by the district attorney’s office and the dismissal of the case.