Judge upholds firing of embattled Bibb deputy

Clayton Sutton
Clayton Sutton Georgia Public Broadcasting

A Bibb County Superior Court judge has upheld the firing of embattled sheriff’s deputy Clayton Sutton.

Sutton was fired from the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office for insubordination in June.

In an initial appeal, a hearing officer upheld the firing in August.

Sutton and his lawyer requested in September that a Superior Court judge review the case. Judge Verda Colvin filed an order Nov. 12 upholding the hearing officer’s decision and Sutton’s firing.

Sutton’s lawyer, Art Phillips, said he just received a copy of the judge’s decision this week. He said he wanted to talk with Sutton before commenting further.

Sheriff David Davis said he’s “grateful for the ruling by the Superior Court.”

“My decision has been upheld twice,” he said.

Sutton and Phillips have argued that the hearing officer didn’t consider laws governing law enforcement officers’ conduct when making his decision. Colvin ruled the laws don’t apply to the case, according to the order.

Colvin also ruled that the law doesn’t allow her to consider the constitutional issues Phillips raised alleging violations of his due process rights and that he wasn’t properly notified of his termination, according to the order.

She ruled that evidence considered by the hearing officer met the required standard for “substantial evidence.”

Despite Phillips’ argument to the contrary, Colvin ruled Sutton knew what he could -- and couldn’t -- do while on administrative duty.

Sutton was on administrative duty early this year after being involved in a shooting-related incident on Cherry Avenue. He had been told not to engage in any law enforcement actions.

The GBI investigated the shooting, and the Bibb County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the investigative files.

While driving home from work June 4, Sutton suspected criminal activity when he spotted two men putting metal objects into the trunk of a car.

He called for help but followed the men and confronted them with a gun before deputies could arrive.

In a separate case, Sutton was found to have been justified in his December 2012 shooting of a man outside a Pio Nono Avenue grocery store.

Prosecutors ruled he acted in self-defense in shooting Sammie “Junebug” Davis.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.