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Baker County jail ordered to return man to lockup

Civil rights groups filed a complaint alleging inhumane conditions in the federal wing of the Baker County jail.
Baker County was ordered to return a man to jail.

An appeals court Wednesday rejected a decision by the Baker County sheriff to release a man who had served only four days of a 60-day jail sentence.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal upheld a circuit judge’s ruling that ordered Sheriff Scotty Rhoden to return Donald Shrowder to jail to serve the 60-day sentence.

Wednesday’s decision said Shrowder received the sentence after being convicted of battery, but Rhoden released him after four days with instructions for electronic monitoring at home and at work.

The decision said Rhoden released Shrowder “without court authorization and in the absence of an administrative order within the Eighth Judicial Circuit that would have allowed the release.” Prosecutors challenged the release, and a circuit judge agreed with them, spurring an appeal by Rhoden.

In Wednesday’s decision, appeals-court Judges Joseph Lewis, Adam Tanenbaum and Robert Long said the sheriff, “as a constitutional officer within the executive branch of government, had a ministerial duty to implement the sentence imposed by the court.”