by Max Brantley
Much as I like the photo of Sen. Bruce "Fireball" Holland in his cowboy hat, I thought a more appropriate shot would be a Perry County jail mugshot taken yesterday following his conviction in Perry District Court of fleeing a deputy, speeding and improper passing in a high-speed cannonball run across two counties in his Nissan 350Z. He was sentenced to 400 hours of community service and fined $890.
No photo is available. Chief Deputy Mike Surrett of the Perry County sheriff's office checked the record for me and said Holland apparently never appeared for booking at the jail. There is no mugshot, no fingerprints and no booking record.
District Judge Elizabeth Wise ordered Holland to report to the Perry County detention center to be fingerprinted on Thursday. The court docket reflects that order, in writing. There's no record he appeared, Surrett says. He did, according to Court Clerk Barbara Gipson, sign a "time pay agreement" in which he agreed to pay the $890 fine in 30 days or service notice of an appeal of the conviction to circuit court. She said such agreements are routine in district court cases.
I called Holland and his attorney, Bill Walters, for an explanation on the senator's apparent failure to follow the judge's order. Walters is on medical leave now. But Holland called back:
He said Walters had told him he didn't have to appear at the jail because he planned to appeal. "He advised me not to go there yesterday. I'm in discussions with him now as to what has to be done right now. We'll do what has to be done."
I told Holland I was no lawyer, either, but I was surprised somebody had decided not to follow a judge's direct order. "I'm no attorney and that's why I was acting on his [Walters'] advice." He added, "I'm not trying to break any laws. I'm trying to do what I should do." He said he'd appear at the jail if, on reconsideration, his lawyer thought that was the proper course.
I asked Prosecutor Larry Jegley about Holland's failure to appear at the jail. He said that, first, of course his appearance was required. "He was told to do that. That’s why he has trouble. He acts like he should not be treated like anyone else. I hope he'll do what the judge told him to do."