CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (KT) – A misdemeanor criminal case has been dismissed against an embattled Kentucky jailer.
The case was tossed after former members of the Boyd County Fiscal Court did not oppose the dismissal in light of jailer Joe Burchett resigning from office, according to a report in The Daily Independent.
The dismissal of the case was filed in Rowan County on Jan. 11. The paperwork indicates a malfeasance charge against Burchett was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled, the newspaper said.
Burchett and his attorney, Scott White, could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning. An assistant for the special prosecutor in the case, Ronnie Goldy Jr. in Rowan County, said he was not available for comment. Rhonda Copley, prosecutor in Boyd County and the 32nd Judicial District, who previously recused herself from the case, declined comment.
Burchett resigned from his position as jailer in December. The resignation capped a stormy, two-year stretch at the Boyd County Detention Center that included the deaths of three inmates at the jail over a six-month span. In late November, inmate Michael L. Moore, 40 of Ashland, was found dead at the jail. Authorities allege he was abused and neglected by deputy jailers. Five deputy jailers face manslaughter charges in that case.
Another inmate, Charles Shawn Finley, 36, of Ashland, died at the jail in a suspected drug overdose. Six months prior a third inmate died at the jail due to acute methamphetamine intoxication. Laura Riley, 44, had been in custody for two days at the time of her death. No arrests have been made in that case. There have also been multiple other overdoses, escapes and even a riot at the troubled county jail over the last two years.
Burchett was indicted in February on a misdemeanor charge of malfeasance or neglect of a county officer. The indictment alleged Burchett unlawfully and knowingly committed the misdemeanor crime by willfully neglecting the discharge of his official duties as a public officer between March 1, 2017 and Feb. 18, 2018.