Gov. Ivey to appoint new Jefferson Co. DA, following guilty verdict in Henderson trial
The fate of Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office is now up to Governor Kay Ivey.
A guilty verdict in the perjury trial of Charles Todd Henderson means the man voters chose for the job will not be able to take the position.
Jefferson County Presiding Judge Joseph Boohaker says the governor’s office indicated it needs more time before she decides who to appoint.
Hours after Henderson’s conviction Friday morning, Boohaker swore in Danny Carr to be interim district attorney until Ivey makes her appointment. He’s the man who’s been acting DA since Henderson was indicted in January.
Henderson was indicted before he was ever sworn into office.
After less than six hours of deliberation Thursday evening and Friday morning, the jury convicted him of committing perjury in a child custody case in September, 2016.
The attorney general’s office said Henderson lied under oath and that the lie was important to the child custody hearing it happened in.
“Integrity and truthfulness is absolutely essential for prosecutors and law enforcement officers and others who are charged with enforcing the law,” Special Prosecutor Matt Hart told ABC 33/40.
Prosecutors said Henderson had motivation to lie, to deceive the court, when testified last September he had not spent the night with the mother of the child who he was once guardian ad litem for. The position is supposed to be neutral, not siding with mom or dad.
“When the best interest of the child, who can’t take care of themselves is at stake, then it’s just very very important people meet their obligations, particularly public officials and people who are going to be law enforcement officials,” Hart said. “If you’re going to be in law enforcement, be a district attorney, you’ve got to have unquestioned integrity.”
Henderson has since married the woman and neither one of them took the stand during trial.
Henderson’s defense attorney James Parkman called the guilty verdict a devastating blow. He’s not sure yet if he will file any appeal.
“You know when you get a verdict, everyone’s upset,” said Parkman. “The client is extremely upset. And now is not the time to get into that. Now’s the time to get everyone calmed down and settled down and your mind and everything’s going around in circles in your head. Next week we’ll sit down and talk about it.”
Parkman and defense attorney Joe Espy worked together on the defense. They worked to characterize Henderson’s answer about spending the night a misunderstanding that had no impact on the child custody case.
Parkman thanked the jury for its hard work and added the prosecution and judge did a “great job” in the case.
The sentencing date is not set yet. This is a felony conviction. There is a potential penalty of one to ten years in prison.
The person Ivey appoints to the job will serve the remainder of the six-year term.