According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Offices inmate search, it appears that Sheriff John Rutherford’s brother in still in the Duval County jail “on domestic-violence and child-abuse charges…. Bail for Hubert C. Rutherford, 49, was set at $80,000 and he awaits a Feb. 4 court date.” While this Jacksonville battery case occurred 11 days ago, the Florida Times Union reported about it today. At first, I thought it was because Hubert Rutherford was not arrested until today. However, it appears that he has been in jail this entire time, as he has not bonded out. He was arrested on a few different charges. He is facing felony domestic battery in Jacksonville, along with “child abuse, aggravated assault, and misdemeanor battery.” It appears that the Duval County State Attorney’s Office has not filed formal charges yet.
It does not seem like Hubert Rutherford is getting special treatment, because he is the sheriff’s brother. “Sheriff Rutherford told the Times-Union Thursday that police contacted him after the arrest to make him aware of the incident and he wasn’t asked, and didn’t attempt, to get involved.” Sheriff Rutherford stated, “They alerted me that he had been arrested and I said to handle him like anybody else…. They thought I would need to know that they were following protocol. He’s being dealt with like anybody else. They put him in jail and he’s going through the process like anybody else.”
The Florida Times Union reported:
“The court records show that Hubert Rutherford was arrested at his home on Mother Goose Road, after police talked to a 15-year-old female who had a red, hand-shaped mark across her face and scratches. The report quotes the girl as saying Rutherford had come home drunk, encountered the 15-year-old with her 18-year-old boyfriend and a stray dog, argued over the dog and became violent. The teens, described in the court records as victims, told police of a fist fight that also involved Rutherford’s live-in girlfriend, Kari Jean Reynolds, 48, who also was arrested. The teens told officers that when they left the home, Rutherford chased after them, swinging something described variously as a broomstick or a golf club.”
The records do report that he was very intoxicated and belligerent, but there is something that concerns me. “The records say Rutherford had blood around his mouth and nose after the confrontation and Reynolds also suffered wounds.” He declined to speak with police. “Reynolds was too intoxicated to describe the sequence of events, police said, but after police arrived she twice threatened to kill the girl.” As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I know that there are two sides to every story. We have not heard the defendants’ side. What if they were not the original aggressors? What if they were acting in self defense in Jacksonville?
Right now, the only information that the public has is the police report and other court records. In most Jacksonville domestic violence cases, this is only a small part of the case. The Department of Children and Family Services will likely investigate. The Jacksonville criminal attorneys representing Rutherford and Reynolds will be looking into the evidence and interviewing witnesses. The Duval County State Attorneys Office will likely speak to the witnesses before making a filing decision. An arrest does not mean guilt, so we should keep an open mind while the criminal case is pending.