Jackson County Sheriff, Mike Byrd, has agreed to a plea deal that will keep him under house arrest and probation. Byrd has signed a plea agreement with the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Alabama on charges of misleading conduct toward another person and destroying evidence. News 25's Sarah Duffey sat down with a lawyer to find out what exactly this plea agreement means for the future of Sheriff Byrd. In the federal plea signed by Byrd, he admits to ordering one of his deputies to erase the dash cam video of the June 2012 arrest of James Mark Stahl. Court records say Byrd kicked Stahl in the groin while the suspect was handcuffed and unresisting. William ‘Billy’ Guice, of Rushing & Guice P.L.L.C. says, "The reason for a plea bargain and agreement are the first trial is risky and very expensive for both sides. The government needs to do these because they're short on funds."
Guice says fear should not be a compelling factor in a plea bargain, but adds that the defendant needs to be aware of who they are dealing with. Guice also says, "Anyone who has ever been involved in a federal criminal case understands that the government is very skillful. They have a lot of resources and the case is very hard fought." The plea agreement orders Byrd to plead guilty to the federal charge and recommends he be sentenced to six months of house arrest, and six months of probation. Once Sheriff Byrd pleads guilty in the federal court next month, that will be considered his resignation as Sheriff of Jackson County. In addition to Byrd having to resign, Jackson County Supervisor, John McKay, says, "It's a sad day for Jackson County, and the quicker we get this behind us, the better Jackson County will be." This week's plea only applies to one crime and will not interfere with the rest of Byrd's 31 state charges that include extortion, embezzlement, and fraud. News 25 attempted to contact Sheriff Byrd’s office to request a statement, but got no response. Byrd will plead guilty in front of Federal Judge William H. Steele on December 10th.