A hearing date is now set for Sheriff Johnny Moats to explain his reasons why he won’t accept a transfer bond for accused murder suspect Jimmy Blackmon, but Tallapoosa Circuit Superior Court Judge Meng Lim won’t be hearing the arguments or making a final judgment.

Notice came today that Moats and defense attorneys representing Blackmon are to appear in court on March 5 to argue over a mandamus filing that would require Moats to accept the transfer bond from Carroll County.

Tallapoosa Circuit Superior Court Judge Mark Murphy will instead oversee proceedings for the civil hearing. It is the third hearing so far involving the bond set, reduced and now rejected for Blackmon since he was arrested in October 2020.

Here’s the full notice:

Moats reported on Tuesday that he received notice that Judge Lim decided to recuse himself in the mandamus filing. The reason? As Judge Lim explains in a notice filed with the Superior Court Clerk’s office early in the week, it came down to a phone call.

Judge Lim explained in the notice that he had a phone conversation first with District Attorney Jack Browning and attorney Chris Twyman about Blackmon’s bond reduction and his ability to use his father’s property a collateral on February 5, along with a transfer of deed of his own personal property to a third party, to meet the $100,000 bond.

He then called Moats to further explain the use of the transfer bond, and said this conversation is the reason behind his recusal.

Here’s the notice in full from Judge Lim:

Earlier in the month, Blackmon’s father made the arrangements and presented himself with a transfer bond from Carroll County at the Polk County Jail to get his son out.

That’s when Moats refused the transfer bond, and explained previously he did so for several reasons. Here;s his previous comment on the matter:

“As Sheriff, I took an oath to serve and protect the citizens of Polk County. Today I refused to accept the bond on Jimmy Blackmon, the man accused of murdering his wife,” he said. “I am concerned of the flight risk of Blackmon because of the fact he eluded law enforcement for over a week after he fled the murder scene. I have chosen to fight my decision in court to protect the citizens and law enforcement of Polk County.”

After learning of the hearing date, a request for further comment has been made to Moats, but no response has yet been received. If a response is received, an update will be posted to this story.

Twyman has since filed in mid-February a request for a mandamus requiring Moats o accept the transfer bond and let Blackmon out of jail. Conditions of his bond would require him to not have contact with several individuals, pay for and wear an ankle monitor limiting himself to 118 Rice Road, Rockmart, where the crime occurred in October 2020.

The filing from Twyman argued that because all the conditions that have been set forth for Blackmon to make bond, he should be allowed to post and be placed under house arrest and participate in his defense fully.

Tywman argues further in the filing requesting the mandamus require Blackmon be allowed to post bond is an Eighth Amendment violation of the Constitution, which states that those accused of a crime not be subject to excessive bail or cruel or unusual punishments.

Lim’s recusal in the matter puts this part of the case – and only this part, which is considered a civil matter and not tied up in Blackmon’s prosecution – into the hands of Judge Murphy.

The latest legal filings in the case come after two different bail hearings – one setting Blackmon’s bail at $500,000, and another reducing it to $100,000.

Blackmon is accused of the shooting death of his wife Ginger in October 2020.

Blackmon remains in jail on felony charges of murder, influencing a witness, cruelty to children and possession of a firearm or knife during commission of or attempt to commit certain felonies.

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