The Florida Commission on Ethics has returned the claim against Walton Sheriff Mike Adkinson filed by Alan Osborne. In a letter dated October 30, Virlindia Doss tells Osborne the claim does not appear to be one the Commission of Ethics has jurisdiction to investigate.
The letter notes that the complaint alleges Sheriff Adkinson refused to enforce the law in that he did not move forward with Osborne’s allegations that a member of the Walton County Commission violated the law and that the County Commission itself violated the law when it refused to take action on matters which allegedly violated the law.
Doss says the one provision of law which could be implicated is the misuse of public position. She explains that in order to violate the standard, Adkinson would have had to act to secure a special privilege, benefit or exemption for himself or others, and must have acted corruptly, a term defined by the Legislature as meaning done with wrongful intent.
She goes on to explain that to find violation of the provision, the Commission would have to demonstrate the sheriff acted wrongfully; meaning he knew he was required to take certain action and failed to do so. She says Constitutionally elected Sheriffs have a great deal of discretion in their enforcement determinations and the Commission on Ethics does not have the authority to second-guess their decisions. She says noting in the materials Osborne provided indicates any benefit to the Sheriff. The letter also says, though Osborne makes broad allegations the Sheriff was acting to benefit members of the County Commission, there is no factual allegations in his materials to support the conclusion. Doss tells Osborne his belief is not enough to suffice.
Sheriff Adkinson says he was never officially notified of the allegations.