In a motion hearing Wednesday morning, August 27, 2014 in Baldwin County Circuit Court, a judge was to hear an appeal from District Attorney Hallie Dixon in response to a defense motion to have her disqualified from a case.
The defense motion document alleges that Dixon has used her office for personal gain and leaving her on the case would be a “hypocrisy.”
Dixon was not present at the hearing which was more of a question and answer session with Judge Joseph Norton asking defense attorney, Buddy Brackin a couple of things. First, where the discrepancy or conflict of interest lies with Hallie Dixon handling the case and secondly, if there were to be a discrepancy, on what authority he would have to make a ruling on it?
With Dixon absent, Assistant DA, Theresa Heinz sat in to argue for the prosecution. As it turned out, Judge Joseph Norton only asked questions of Brackin. Brackin represents Edward Burshaw who works in the culinary department at Faulkner State. Burshaw is accused of using his position for personal gain hosting a wedding reception. In his motion, Brackin accuses Dixon of using her office for personal gain saying she used her position to “satisfy her sexual needs through employees in her office.”
Judge Norton asked Brackin what direct relationship the alleged misconduct has to the case. Brackin said Dixon may be a witness in his case and that Dean McGowan, an investigator within the DA’s office was the investigator in his case. Brackin said McGowan and Dixon had been involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship.
Judge Norton also cited a lack of case-law to grant him any authority to disqualify a District Attorney from any case. Alabama law only allows the presiding circuit court judge to appoint someone to the position in cases of the DA being absent, being kin to a defendant or a vacancy of office.
Judge Norton gave Brackin 14 days to provide supporting evidence. Brackin would not comment on his way out of the courtroom, but Assistant DA, Theresa Heinz had this to say.
“He subpoenaed a number of people. We filed motions to quash those subpoenas,” Heinz said. Those were never ruled on and I think just from basic…from the hearing we just had, the judge had a number of questions that he wanted answered before we proceeded any further.”
Judge Norton gave Brackin 14 days to provide he’ll consider making a ruling.