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Letter:  John Hatfield to Sheriff Barnes, requesting Ronnie Kimble be taken off suicide watch



December 10, 1997

Sheriff B. J. Barnes
Guilford County Sheriff's Department

401 W. Sycamore Street
Greensboro, NC 27401

Re: Ronnie Kimble


Dear Sheriff Barnes:

I have been attorney of record for Ronnie Kimble since he was arrested in April, 1997. Let me say first of all that co-counsel David Lloyd and I have no complaint about the way that you and Major Nesbit administer the jail and basically have no complaint about the way your staff have dealt with Ronnie Kimble.

We are however deeply concerned over Ronnie being kept on "suicide watch." We do not believe that there is any basis for the conclusion that Ronnie Kimble is a danger to himself or has in any way considered suicide. On the contrary, Ronnie Kimble is very positively oriented toward preparing for his trial. Because the charges against Ronnie are very serious, the court appointed Charles Guyer, a licensed psychologist, to evaluate Ronnie for his lawyers. Dr. Guyer has given Ronnie a full battery of tests and has issued a written report. I can assure you there is nothing in the report that would suggest that Ronnie should be classified as a suicide risk.

Today is Ronnie Kimble's wedding anniversary. Because he is on suicide watch he is not permitted to visit with his wife. This is placing a terrible strain on both of them. You may not know this but since Ronnie was arrested in April his wife found out that she was expecting a baby and then had a miscarriage several months later. She suffers from a number of other health problems.

Sheriff B. J. Barnes

Page Two
December 10, 1997

To maintain a suicide watch in which Ronnie is prohibited from contact with his wife hurts his defense and makes our task more difficult than it already is. We do not object to Ronnie being kept in a red suit but we do feel the time for him to be classified as a suicide watch has come to an end. If you cannot reclassify him, please modify the rules and allow a visit both today and tomorrow for Ronnie's wife because she normally visits him on Thursdays. Also, we would greatly appreciate it if you would allow Ronnie's parents and Mr. and Mrs. Stump, Ronnie's in-laws, to visit him.

David Lloyd and I are of the opinion that you have always been flexible and pragmatic and we appreciate your addressing this issue.

I am having this letter hand-delivered to you because of the urgency of this matter and either I or David Lloyd will be in touch with you later today by telephone.

Thank you for your assistance.

Very truly yours,


John B. Hatfield, Jr.

cc: Mr. David Lloyd




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