What may have seemed like a normal day at Dothan Municipal Court was anything but. After missing their municipal court dates for Monday, Greg Tiller and Johnathan Reese turned themselves in Wednesday morning to Bondsman Rickey Stokes at A-Advantage Bonding.
Stokes says he brought the men to the court and was told their warrants were not issued as of yet and that court was not in session.
"So when they came back to my office, I said "Ok I'm going to have to push buttons because I've been around this ring a round the rosie many atimes."
Stokes claims his frustration is what lead him to do what happened next.
“He had chains around his neck and two pairs of handcuffs. He chained us to the door and told us to sit down there.” Says Reese.
Stokes says he chained the two men to the Dothan Municipal Court doors to make a point. Because he’s frustrated with the city of Dothan’s court process.
"I was kind of confused of why I got chained to a door. I felt kind of weird and violated. I kind of felt like a slave. I just didn't understand being chained to a door, I thought it was just a joke or something but it was something real.” says Tiller.
Stokes claims since the men turned themselves in and there was not a warrant issued yet, their situation could not be taken care of in a timely manner.
"The law says I have to turn you over to the custody of the police chief or the sheriff depending on who has jurisdiction. So I handcuffed them to the door and they were in the custody of the police department. I explained to them, this is what's going to happen and I'm having to try to get it solved for you this time and for everybody else in the future,” says Ricky Stokes.
Tiller and Reese see it differently. They say an officer told stokes he could not chain them to the doors.
"They told him to get us off and unchain the door. He didn't do it, he walked right out the door and left us chained up,” says Tiller.
Stokes says when he returned twenty minutes later the men were unchained.
"I was horrified for them,” says Rose Gordon.
Municipal Court Judge Rose Gordon says the reason a warrant was stamped and not issued is because the courts allow two to three days at the most for legitimate excuses to be filed.
She says if there is a legitimate reason for missing court, they don’t issue the warrant.
She also says if Stokes would have just waited ten minutes for court to be in session this wouldn’t have been an issue.
"Even without a warrant, there are legal processes that can be taken to off bond somebody into court without a warrant and those legal procedures were not followed. This has nothing to do with understaffing of this court, this has nothing to do with this courts procedures. Unfortunately this resulted in these men being unnecessarily chained, locked to courthouse doors."
Gordon says Stokes could have walked the defendants into the courtroom anytime court was in session to off bond them.
"There's not an insufficiency in our court process, it works very well, we handle a large docket, we do it fairly and partially, compassionately and I am horrified and embarrased this happened in my court."
Tiller and Reese are not taking this lightly. They both say they plan on filing complaints with the Dothan Police Department.