Photo Credit: Blake Aued/file
Popular local writer, DJ and town character William Orten “Ort” Carlton won’t have to report to jail today as he awaits the result of an appeal his attorney intends to file in a 17-month battle with Athens-Clarke County over his messy yard.
In a move that took both the defense and prosecutors by surprise, on Monday Municipal Court Judge Leslie Spornberger Jones sentenced Ort to spend the rest of his six-month probationary period—five days—in jail, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.
But Ort’s attorney, Bill Overend, told Flagpole that he has filed an intent-to-appeal notice with the Clarke County Superior Court, which will keep Ort out of jail until the appeal is resolved. Overend said he doesn’t know how long that will take.
Ort’s troubles with Athens-Clarke date back to June 2014, when a complaint led the Community Protection Division to issue warnings for having a junked vehicle in his yard, a damaged shed and messy piles of stuff in his carport. Those warnings turned into citations last October.
Ort landed in court in May, and after several delays, Jones sentenced him to six months’ probation for failing to clean up the debris. CPD issued more citations regarding the junked car and two additional sheds in September. Jones then ruled that he had violated his probation and sent him to jail, where he spent one night before Overend won another extension.
Monday, Overend argued that the recent weather had prevented Ort from further cleaning up his property, the ABH reported. He’s also had difficulty sorting through all the items in his yard and carport to determine if they are valuable.
But Jones had heard enough. “I have been exceptionally patient in this case,” she said before ordering Ort to jail.