Friday, April 2, 2010

Is Muscle Shoals Municipal Court Clerk Linda Stanley Guilty?

Linda Stanley became Muscle Shoals Municipal Court Clerk in September 1985 at the age of 29. Now, almost 25 years later, the city has accused Stanley of theft. Just six months before Stanley reaches the retirement mark, city officials say the clerk has taken over $500.00 in city court funds. How much over is anyone's guess until the forensic audit is completed.

After Stanley beat out five other applicants for the clerk's position, the Muscle Shoals High School graduate was trained by the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts. Quoted in 2006, Stanley stressed that Muscle Shoals followed Alabama guidelines, collecting only $17.00 from each court cost payment.

Still, with the volume of cases processed through the Muscle Shoals Municipal Court, this amount could easily add up to thousands of dollars. Not all fines are paid directly to Stanley's office; many of them are paid into the system through Probation Services, for which strict records are kept. One local attorney has publicly commented that $500.00 is only the tip of the iceberg--it's simply the figure that qualifies the crime for a felony charge.

We have neither idea nor opinion as to Stanley's guilt or innocence. We do find it odd that the investigation into the charge of missing funds began on Tuesday March 23, after being reported only the day before. By Friday the 26th, the City of Muscle Shoals had terminated Stanley. While the wheels of justice are known to grind slowly, the investigation into Linda Stanley's alleged malfeasance seems to have proceeded at lightning speed.

The City of Muscle Shoals appears to have either a dramatic smoking gun or an otherwise urgent need to rid itself of Ms. Stanley. Let's hope it's the smoking gun, or that small Colbert County municipality may find itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

What's up with this: If the FBI wants to engage in a witch hunt in the Alabama Legislature, we suggest they start with Roger Bedford. We've often thought that it was Bobby Denton's scrupulous honesty that has frequently prevented him from furthering this area's agenda. It's a sad world...