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years experience in the sheriffs

office, resigned her job less than
two months later and set out to
unseat her boss, who had been
in the job since his unlikely
victory in 2008. She did just
that on Dec. 6, narrowly defeat-
ing Darr in a runoff, with 51.67
percent of the more than 12,400
votes cast.
A number of issues factored
into the defeat, including Darrs
continuing Superior Court suit
against the city over the funding
of the sheriffs office and a MILTON HIRSCH
string of administrative prob-
For some people, standing up Think about that spouse
for Shah in federal court became
the central issue, Darr admitted and not yourself, and you
in an interview last week. wont have any
I dont want to say it was
naive, but it was a misjudgment problems. 13A
on my part, and it played out in
the campaign, Darr said.
If Darr wont call it naive,
Tompkins certainly will.
ROBIN TRIMARCHI This is my estimation and
Sawan "Sunny" Shah, second from right, leaves federal court on Jan. 1 surrounded by friends. Shah perhaps its unkind but one of
pleaded guilty to one count of operating an unlisenced money transmitting business. two things: either you are in-
credibly naive, in which case I
am not sure you should be the
MUSCOGEE COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE sheriff, or there is something
more to that story, she said.

Darrs defense of
Either way it is not good.
Darr still defends his decision
to speak up for Shah, who was
involved in cashing 567 fake
income tax refund checks dur-

Shah was his undoing ing 2013 and 2014. The checks
totaled more than $1.3 million
according to facts presented in MCGRIFF STAYING
the sentencing.Land sentenced
Shah to 21 months in federal FOR SUGAR BOWL
was a campaign contributor and prison and ordered him to pay Auburns secondary
BY CHUCK WILLIAMS friend, and Darr felt compelled full restitution. to stand in front of the court Land, at the time of the sen- coach is heading to Ole
after also writing a letter in tencing, made it clear he was Miss, but not until after
Lex et Justitia. Translated support of Shah. troubled by what Shah did.
it means Law and Justice. One of those astounded by Doing something 567 times the Sugar Bowl. 1C
Those three Latin words are Darrs action was Donna Tomp- does not suggest it was a mis-
etched in gold above the bench Darr Tompkins kins, then a captain in the Mus- take, the judge said. It sug-
and jump out as you enter U.S. cogee County Sheriffs Office. gests it would have continued if
District Court Judge Clay Lands Land to show mercy on Sawan That was the day I decided he was not arrested.
second-floor courtroom in Sonny Shah, a local busi- to run, Tompkins said in a Darr and Shahs father were
downtown Columbus. nessman who owns a string of recent interview. The day that the only two who addressed the
Some would argue that on the convenience stores and had just came out on the front page of court before Land passed down
morning of Jan. 26, Muscogee pleaded guilty to his role in a the Ledger-Enquirer, my phone the sentence.
County Sheriff John T. Darr $24 million criminal conspiracy blew up. It was people in our I never conveyed this well,
walked into that courtroom and to defraud the Internal Revenue department and other depart- but I did want the guy to be held
made an error in judgment, Service. ments who said, What the hell accountable, Darr said. He
confusing his role in law and Many were surprised Darr is your boss doing? All I could should be held accountable.
justice. Darr, the countys top would speak in such a public say is, I dont know.
law enforcement officer, asked manner for a felon. But Shah Tompkins, with more than 30 SEE SHAH, 9A

CRIMINAL JUSTICE since the Supreme Court struck
down its system of imposing FILM PRODUCER
Executions fall to 25-year low death sentences in January.
In some cases, states hoping
to carry out executions have
His battle plan? Launch a
been delayed by an inability to
last inmate executed this year in clear. Since a peak of 98 in get the drugs needed for lethal nimble movie studio in
BY MARK BERMAN the United States. As a result, 1999, executions have steadily injections, still the countrys Columbus for animated
Washington Post the country is poised to end declined, falling this year to the primary method of capital pun-
2016 with its lowest number of lowest total since 1991, when 14 ishment. These states have been and live-action
When the state of Alabama executions in 25 years. inmates were put to death. hampered by a years-long short- productions. 20A
executed Ronald Bert Smith Jr. The decline in executions This years decline can be age of lethal-injection drugs.
last week, he became the 20th continues a recent trend, as attributed, in part, to a handful Ohio, one of the most active
inmate put to death in the Unit- 2016 will be the fourth consec- of states that are among the death-penalty states, stopped
ed States this year. Smiths exe- utive year with fewer executions most active practitioners of executions for what will ulti-
cution was a rarity for the Unit- than the year before. It also capital punishment but have mately be at least three years FEATURES
ed States, where the death pen- speaks to a country that has been sidelined for part or all of while it sought new drugs. The
alty is still retained in most
states and on the federal level
shifted away from the death
penalty in many places, while
Florida, for instance, has
state now says it plans to re-
sume executions in January,
but, in practice, is carried out those states still trying to exe- carried out the fourth most though a spokesman did not TO BE DIVERSE
only in a shrinking handful of cute inmates have struggled executions nationwide since the respond to a message seeking This year, Cantus
places. with court challenges, drug U.S. Supreme Court reinstated comment about whether offi-
No other lethal injections are shortages and issues with carry- the death penalty in 1976. Flor- cials there had obtained the Christmas will feature 26
scheduled for this month, mean- ing out the executions. idas death penalty has been in necessary drugs. singers performing
ing Smith will probably be the Overall, though, the trend is flux for much of this year, ever
classical masterpieces
and audience carols. 1E

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