Former Mobile County Commissioner Stephen Nodine released a statement Tuesday in which he apologized and took responsibility for a probation violation that landed him behind bars in December.
Nodine allegedly tested positive for opiates and marijuana during a random drug screening Nov. 6 and was observed outside of the state without permission at the Superdome in New Orleans Dec. 6. He is scheduled to go before a Baldwin County judge Jan. 13 for a probation revocation hearing.
Nodine’s full statement follows:
“I take full responsibility for my situation leading to my probation violation and apologize to the Judge, my family, the court and my many supporters I have been blessed over the past five years and for the embarrassment and pain caused.
“I did want to address the sensationalism by the media that surrounded my arrest and address the facts not the inuendos that have been disseminated.
“Since June of 2010, as the Federal Probation Office will testify, Stephen Nodine has passed EVERY drug screen. the Federal Probation Office has a rigorous drug screening process ( random monthly testing) that screens for every drug and alcohol use.
“Stephen Nodine also has followed EVERY rule and regulation pertaining to his travel and requirements set forth by the Federal Government and has never been in violation of a stringent probation guideline system.
“Stephen Nodine has paid all of his fines in a timely manner that were directed by the State of Alabama and by the Federal Court.
“Stephen Nodine has NEVER been in violation or failed any drug screening set forth by the State of Alabama since being released from his sentence on October 24, 2014 and prior to that date when Nodine was in the work release program NEVER failed a drug or alcohol screening. (Note- Nodine was violated from the work release program because Mr. Whetstone ran into Nodine with his son at the OysterFest in October of 2013, Mr. Whetstone told court members” he was not going to have Nodine walking around like nothing happened to him and that embarrassed Whetstone because he didn’t get Nodine thrown in prison”. The facts were Nodine and his son were planning to open a fish taco food truck and were at OysterFest observing other food trucks and proposed marketing techniques. Though Nodine at the time was running Pascal Bruijns office, Nodine informed his employer of his whereabouts, Nodine was NEVER given a hearing as others in work release program were afforded if a violation occurred).
“The facts leading to my probation violation surrounded Nodine learning that he MAY have ingested pot brownies at a Holloween event and was notified few days later. Nodine immediately and voluntarily went to his probation officer (Nov. 6) and notified his probation officer that he MAY test positive for THC and that while battling whooping cough and the flu ingested cough syrup that contained codeine.
“Nodine’s probation officer stated she ‘appricated his honesty’ and that she would NOT violate his probation for this situation. Nodine has been tested on a weekly basis since and was granted permission to travel to Florida to visit his mother for Thanksgiving. Nodine has tested negative for THC that MAY have been in his system since Dec. 3.
“The travel to New Orleans without permission violation was clearly a lack of communication as Nodine’s Federal Probation was in full knowledge of his travel arrangements and Nodine had assumed that he was in concert with his State Probation officer. Nodine had met and reported on December 3rd via telephone and physically reporting on December 4th before the weekend in question. While awaiting for his employer ( part time) before the New Orleans Saints game, ( Nodine NEVER went into game as media reports claim) Nodine said hello and spoke briefly to a State Probation Officer who asked ” do you have permission to be here” in which Nodine said ” yes” and was clearly under the assumption that he indeed had cleared his travel through the State Probation system.
“Photographs taken from my Facebook page that were five months old, with a female friend, were portrayed on numerous television stations as the actually weekend of Dec. 4. This was a clear distortion of the facts.
“On Dec. 9 Nodine called his State Probation Officer and asked permission to go to job interview in Baldwin County and was asked ” we’re you in New Orleans on Sunday”?. Nodine stated ” yes” and was under the assumption that he had discussed this on Decemeber 3rd and 4th in which the State Probation Officer stated ” that it was the end of month reporting and it was hectic and that she didn’t write it down,” “and that we would discuss Friday when you come in for regular reporting”. Nodine reported that Friday and tested clean of drugs as he has every week since November 30th.
“The last five years since my wrongful prosecution it has taken its toll on my family, friends and supporters. I have tried my best to transition back into society but it has been extremely difficult with the notoriety and exposure of such a high profile trial. I have tried my hardest to gain employment throughout the gulf coast from Pensacola to New Orleans but having a felony in both Federal Court (gun charge) and a felony perjury charge (filing of indigent form) in State Court, has proven extremely difficult.
“There is no doubt that I have needed help but I have not qualified or had the montary or insurance to seek help. There is no doubt there is a form of PTSD and grief counseling needed since the tragic events of May 2010. I am thankful to the Federal Probation Office for getting me the help I need. I am now involved in counseling through the Federal Court system.
“Mr. Whetstone continues to portray me as a person that ‘needs to be totally violated and sent to state prison’. I remind the media that I only settled this case with a ‘Alford Plea’ ( no admission of guilt) to a harassing communication charge to resolve and dismiss ‘with prejudice’ the wrongful prosecution regarding the suicide of Angel Downs. The perjury charge was brought by Hallie Dixon and NOT the Attorney General. Mr. Whetstone made statements to the media that ” he agreed to this strong plea to settle the homicide charge”. The only plea agreement regarding the suicide of Angel Downs was a misdemeanor harassing communication charge regarding an exchange of e mails between Angel Downs and Stephen Nodine. Investigators from Hallie Dixons Office pled with Nodine’s attorneys, along with Nodine’s former Attorney Dennis Knizley NOT to plea to anything particularly the trumped up perjury charge.
“Since being violated I have been denied the ability to earn a living with the opportunities I have had outside the Mobile area and even denied the ability to travel to consult with my attorney in Fairhope, Alabama.
“In spite of the distortions and continued sensationalism of my life since being released I have lived a quite and subdued life spending time with my son and learning how to cope with my life after being a public figure and the downfall of my career after being wrongfully accused. I accept the responsibility that led to my downfall. I have been met with a tremendous outpouring of love and well wishes on both sides of the Bay and I am grateful for the forgiveness of the citizens of South Alabama.
“I understand that every move and everywhere I go has been under the microscope since the tragic events of 2010. I am encouraged by the love and forgiveness of the citizens from all over the Gulf Coast. I want to be a productive member of society and be a positive and active member of this community, as I love Mobile and Baldwin County.”
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