Judge: 6 convicted in Clay County vote-buying plot must be released no later than Friday

Former Clay County Circuit Judge Cletus Maricle.  Photo provided.
Former Clay County Circuit Judge Cletus Maricle. Photo provided. ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF COURTS

Six of eight Clay County residents convicted in a widespread vote-buying conspiracy must be released no later than Friday, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The six are former Circuit Judge R. Cletus Maricle; former county Clerk Freddy W. Thompson; former Magistrate Stanley Bowling; Charles Wayne Jones, who was a Democratic election officer; and Bart and Debra Morris.

The six have been imprisoned since March 2010, when a federal jury convicted them and two others of conspiring to buy or steal votes in elections in 2002, 2004 and 2006 in order to hold on to power and enrich themselves and associates.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions July 17. The appeals panel ruled the eight did not get a fair trial because U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves admitted some evidence that should not have been presented to jurors.

Caldwell denied requests to release former school Superintendent Douglas Adams and Williams Stivers, who was an election officer, but scheduled hearings Aug. 12 on whether they should continue to be detained.

Reeves revoked bond for Stivers and Adams before they were convicted because they had contact with witnesses in violation of a court order.

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