According to court documents, Daniel “Scott” Kearley, 44, of Pell City pleaded guilty to second-degree forgery after he told investigators he falsified drug screening test reports for William Earl Wesley Jr., 47, of Talladega.
On Tuesday, St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Jim Hill sentenced Kearley to serve 60 months in prison.
Hill suspended the sentence and placed Kearley on supervised probation for 24 months.
“Scott had a terrible lapse of judgment, which cost him his position as a juvenile probation officer, a position he dedicated the last 20 years of his professional life,” said Talladega attorney Chad Woodruff, who along with attorney Robert Rumsey represented Kearley in this case.
Wesley is also facing charges stemming from the false drug screening test reports. He was on probation after being convicted on drug charges in Baldwin County. He is being held at the Baldwin County Jail in Bay Minette.
Last month, Wesley was arrested on eight counts of second-degree forgery. He has denied any wrongdoing in connection with his drug screening tests.
“To be perfectly clear, Scott never falsified a single positive drug test for anyone,” Woodruff said. “Scott was asked and agreed to conduct drug testing for an individual who was on probation out of Baldwin County and was subject to random drug testing. Scott has known this individual his entire life and was a personal friend.”
Woodruff said initially drug tests were actually performed, and the individual tested negative for each drug test supervised by his client. Those tests were submitted to the Baldwin County court system.
“Thereafter, that individual asked Scott to send subsequent drug reports to Baldwin County indicating that those additional tests were conducted and that the individual was negative for drug use,” Woodruff said. “Those latter drug tests were never actually conducted.”
He said his client did this as a convenience for that individual so as not to require the individual to actually travel to St. Clair County.
According to court documents, Wesley worked construction along the Alabama Gulf Coast and Mississippi.
“This lapse of judgment by Scott was not to hide or conceal a single positive drug test,” Woodruff said. “This lapse of judgment by Scott had nothing to do with money, drugs or for any other illicit purpose. There has never been any evidence or even an accusation that Scott did this for any reason other than for that individual’s convenience and because they had been lifelong friends. Nonetheless, Scott should never have agreed to send the false reports on behalf of that individual and that conduct understandably subjected him to prosecution.”
Woodruff said Kearley accepted responsibility for his actions.
“Scott is deeply remorseful for his actions and the embarrassment it has caused his family, his friends and especially his former colleagues,” Woodruff said. “Scott enjoyed an impeccable reputation for helping troubled youth in the St. Clair County court system for more than 20 years. Plain and simple, Scott Kearley is a good person who made a mistake and this isolated incident is not indicative of an otherwise exemplary career.”
Officials with the Alabama State Attorney General’s Office declined comment at this time, citing the pending case against Wesley.
The Attorney General’s Office investigated and prosecuted the cases against Kearley and Wesley.
Martha Simmons, with the Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office media relations, said Wesley was sentenced Wednesday to 180 days in jail for the “technical violations of his probation,” which included failing to drug screen, leaving the state without permission of his probation officer and failing to furnish a correct address to the Baldwin County Clerk’s Office.
Simmons said Thursday that Wesley is set for a hearing this summer for the alleged non-technical probation violations. Those violations include the new arrests for eight counts of second-degree forgery, and possibly a charge of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements to Alabama Attorney General’s Office investigators.
According to court documents, Kearley and Wesley attended Talladega High School together and were later fraternity brothers at Jacksonville State University.
Second-degree forgery is a Class C felony and carries a sentence of a year and a day to 10 years in prison.
Court documents indicate that Wesley had another drug-related conviction in 1999, and a 1989 murder conviction in Calhoun County.
Wesley’s Fairhope attorney, John Beck, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.