Editorials

Why wasn’t a call placed to Hancock sheriff in Cassie Barker case?

Former Long Beach police officer Cassie Barker walks out of the Hancock County Public Safety Complex after posting bond on Thursday. A warrant had been issued for her arrest on a charge of manslaughter.
Former Long Beach police officer Cassie Barker walks out of the Hancock County Public Safety Complex after posting bond on Thursday. A warrant had been issued for her arrest on a charge of manslaughter. amccoy@sunherald.com

We, like Hancock County Sheriff Ricky Adam, question the way the case of Cassie Barker was handled Thursday.

Barker was charged with manslaughter in the Sept. 30 death of her 3-year-old daughter, who was left in a hot car for hours. An arrest warrant was issued for Barker, a Long Beach police officer fired Tuesday.

So far, so good.

Barker didn’t turn herself in for hours after a warrant was issued. When she did, Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver freed her on a $50,000 bond. That didn’t sit well with Hancock County Chief Investigator Glenn Grannan.

No wonder. Not long after Barker’s daughter, Cheyenne, was found dead in a car at the home of Barker’s shift commander, her whereabouts had been murky at best.

The judge didn’t ask the sheriff nor the sheriff’s investigator for advice on setting Barker’s bond. Instead, he set the bond after talking to her attorney.

“It just smells, and it puts us in a bad light,” Adam said. “Because she’s an officer, we’ll get the blame for that. I’m a little aggravated.”

That’s the judge’s call. But the judge should have asked the sheriff and investigator if they believed Barker was likely to flee rather than have her day in court. Grannan and Adam do consider Barker a flight risk.

That’s the whole point of setting a bond — to ensure the defendant appears.

We don’t blame the Sheriff’s Office for being angry. It does look like she is being treated differently than the average defendant.

And that’s not the sheriff’s fault.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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