Space Not Fit to Stand Trial? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/12/02

Space Not Fit to Stand Trial?

Suspended sheriff Jay Space's attorney says he's not fit to stand trial. Today, we asked whether he's fit to be Effingham County's sheriff. WTOC has learned Sheriff Space's attorney has filed a motion that may have a major impact on Space's day in court.

"We filed a notice to let the judge know, make him aware that we're going to assert that Sheriff Space is not at this time competetnt to stand trial," said Bobby Phillips, Space's lawyer. He said his client's multiple sclerosis is making him mentally and physically unable to understand the nature of the charges against him.

Despite that legal motion, both his lawyer and his spokesperson asserted that Space is compentent enough to serve as the county's sheriff.

"He absolutely feels he is capable of filling that position," spokesperson Dave Simons told us.

Phillips said the suspension now being served by Space gives him enough time to recouperate and return to work as sheriff. "His medical records clearly reflect that he has a disability, and that is job related in our opinion."

In the meantime, Phillips is focusing on the trial that is tentatively set to begin in a few weeks, which he said may not be enough time, given the abundance of accusations against Space.

"We feel he is disabled," Phillips said. "Unless we get time necessary for due process of law, we will take it to federal court."

Reported by: Elizabeth Trevino

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