ECB Publishing, Inc.
The trial of Jefferson County Clerk of Court Kirk Reams is set for next week.
Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, with the trial to follow as soon as the jury is seated.
Circuit Court Judge Gregory Parker, of Taylor County, will preside. Parker is with the Third Judicial Circuit, which covers Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwanee and Taylor counties. Jefferson County is in the Second Judicial Circuit.
Clerk of Court Tim Sanders explained that the reason for a judge from a different circuit conducting the trial is to ensure fairness, as Reams knows and is known to many of the judges in the Second Judicial Circuit. Sanders said calling in a judge from a different circuit is standard procedure in such circumstances.
Governor Rick Scott suspended Reams from office on Oct. 18, two days after Reams reported to the Jefferson County Jail with his attorney, David Collins, in response to a warrant issued for his arrest on a misdemeanor charge of petit theft.
The charge resulted from a lengthy investigation that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) conducted, based on a complaint filed by a woman who had been Reams' girlfriend. In her complaint, the woman alleged instances of nude photo taking in the courthouse. During the course of the investigation, however, the FDLE determined that the only charge it could bring against Reams was his unauthorized loan of a county-owned laptop to the woman for her personal use for more than a year.
The FDLE reportedly offered to drop the charge if Reams agreed to resign. Reams, however, declined to do so, saying that he looked forward to his day in court and being exonerated.
Reams was first elected in 2006 and is serving his third term as Jefferson County Clerk of Court. He received no opposition in the last two elections.
Tim Sanders, a Madison County longtime Clerk of Court who retired last year, is serving as interim Clerk of Court here pending the resolution of Ream's legal situation.