published Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Judge recuses himself from case involving deputies

A Hamilton County deputy must go before a judge after she was arrested for reportedly striking her husband after confronting him with allegations of infidelity.

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Lori A. Pickett wore a soft brace on her right arm Monday as she approached the bench of Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge David Bales.

Bales recused himself from the domestic assault case in which Pickett, 47, is accused striking her husband, Jim Pickett, who is a court officer for the county, while he was working in the lobby of Juvenile Court.

“I know both parties in this case. Both are deputies in Hamilton County and do a good job,” Bales said.

Because he knows the Picketts, Bales recused himself and requested an outside judge.

Lori Pickett will now face a judge appointed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Her next court appearance is set for March 28.

On Friday, Judge Clarence Shattuck lifted a no-contact order between Lori Pickett and Lee Pickett at the husband’s request, said Lee Davis, Lori Pickett’s attorney.

“On behalf of Lori, this began as a family matter, and they [the Picketts] would certainly like to see it resolved,” Davis said. “The two are doing their best to work through any private matters.”

Lori Pickett exited the courtroom Monday with her eyes cast down as her husband walked ahead of her.

She has worked at the sheriff’s office for about 23 years and now has a desk job. She continues to go to work, although her police powers have been suspended pending the outcome of the criminal case.

On Feb. 18, Pickett confronted her husband in the Juvenile Court lobby after she received an anonymous phone call saying that he is having an affair with another woman, according to reports. He asked to go outside and the argument continued, with Pickett hitting him as he backed up, according to reports.

Jim Pickett said he did not want to press charges, but Lori Pickett was arrested Feb. 23.

Jim Pickett was on probation with the sheriff’s office after being suspended in December when an internal affairs investigation revealed he was having sex on the third floor of the Hamilton County Courthouse with a female employee of a private security company.

In a previous interview, Sheriff Jim Hammond said Jim Pickett wouldn’t face any disciplinary action from the latest incident involving his wife.

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