May 2007 Editorial Winner


Sheriff's favoritism wrong, start to finish
By David Gerard, Muskogee Phoenix


Wagoner County Sheriff Johnny Cannon should face a suspension for his early release of a cousin arrested on a DUI complaint.
Johnny Cannon displayed crass favoritism more than a week ago when he released his cousin, James "Jamie" Cannon, 54, after he had been in jail for less than an hour and a half. Those arrested on complaints of drinking under the influence are required to remain in jail six hours before being released.
The requirement protects the public so that a person who has been taken off the streets for drinking and driving isn't back out on the streets before he or she has had time to sober up.
Johnny Cannon couldn't testify to his cousin's sobriety because he didn't recognize Jamie Cannon's condition earlier in the evening May 2. Jamie Cannon was at Johnny Cannon's house shortly before he was arrested by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper. Johnny Cannon said he thought his cousin was "all right" when he left.
But Jamie Cannon's blood alcohol level tested at nearly more than twice the legal limit.
Johnny Cannon apparently ignored his cousin's condition, then skirted the law. He even called District Judge Bruce Sewell by phone in the night to get his cousin released without posting a bond.
Sewell said he was awakened by Johnny Cannon and wasn't "fully awake" when he allowed Jamie Cannon to leave jail on his own recognizance.
We would hope, too, that a judge would show better discretion in the future and not agree to something without fully understanding the situation. Just because it's law enforcement calling with a request doesn't mean it's right.