Retired Autauga County Circuit Judge Ben Fuller dismissed cases against Escambia County journalists and a school board member after they were charged with revealing grand jury evidence.

Sherry Digmon, who co-owns the Atmore News, reporter Don Fletcher and Veronica Fore were cleared after a request from Assistant Attorney General Thomas Govan, Jr.

Cindy Jackson was also arrested, and that charge is in the process of being dismissed.

Court documents show the grand jury information charge was connected to an article about the Escambia County Board of Education. Digmon is a BOE member.

Digmon was also charged with using her position as a school board member for personal gain. She was accused of selling over $2,500 of ads to the BOE. That case was dismissed.

Fuller oversaw the case after all judges recused themselves due to their professional relationships with Digmon. District Attorney Steve Billy also recused himself from the case.

Fletcher told 1819 News that the information he received had been placed in the Atmore News mailbox. It contained subpoenas, search warrants and details of an investigation.

Following the arrests, people worldwide voiced support for Digmon and Fletcher. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on officials to drop the charges.

Fletcher, who will soon be 70 years old, had to spend a night in jail. He lives off social security and works part-time at the Atmore News to make ends meet. He said attorney fees and legal costs were significant for him, but the relief of not having to worry if he’s going back to jail is priceless.

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