In a ruling that may clear Claremont’s police chief of allegations of misconduct, a Pomona Municipal Court judge on Friday found nothing illegal with a convicted drunk driver doing remodeling work at the Claremont police station in lieu of a mandatory 120-day jail sentence.
Police Chief Dexter Atkinson has been on paid administrative leave since August while a deputy district attorney investigates whether he violated a court order in assigning John Donald Barber, 43, to a work program. Barber, a licensed contractor, was allowed to work off his sentence by serving as a consultant on police station renovations.
In a hearing on whether Barber violated the terms of his probation, Judge Jack P. Hunt rejected the prosecution’s argument that Barber had tried to deceive the court and avoid serving the required sentence. Hunt noted that the sentencing judge had told Barber’s attorney that Claremont police had the discretion to place the man in a work program.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Lawrence Mason said he disagreed with the judge’s ruling and did not know how it would affect his investigation of the police chief.
Atkinson’s attorney, Henry Fenton, said, “I don’t see any basis for any continuing investigation.”