Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

Bad Day to Be a DA

Posted by Maggie on March 5, 2008

A few months ago I posted about the DA in the Piedmont Circuit near Athens accused of fraud. Yesterday he pled guilty to two counts of felony theft, violation of oath of office, four counts of making false statements, and one count of conspiracy. Two others, including the DA’s wife, in the DA’s office that have also been charged have pled not guilty. Former DA Tim Madison (who was in office for almost 25 years) admitted to having a scheme with an ADA to get a $50,000 salary from the county even though the ADA already received a full state salary. The two split the funds. Madison was also charged with falsifying time cards with his wife.

Madison got 6 years to serve and 6 on probation, along with $40,000 in restitution to the county. At the sentencing hearing, many testified that Madison had struggled with alcoholism and gambling. (It’s not clear whether anyone in his office was aware of these problems. If they were, it’s certainly troubling.) The article linked above includes links to Madison’s charges, sentence, and arguments in the case.

Things have been going pretty crazy in Clayton County, just outside Atlanta. Along with a huge scandal with their school board, there’s now an investigation of the DA. In January 2006 a former county employee allegedly stole a flag from a police memorial. DA Jewel Scott charged the man, Donnie Hood, with felony theft since it was government property. Recently, Scott filed notice that she would seize Hood’s retirement benefits if he was convicted. A few days later, Hood killed himself. Hood was a 20-year employee who worked with the Building and Maintenance Department, serving as its head for 8 years. The Board of Commissioners thinks Scott went too far. They’ve requested that the Attorney General investigate Scott’s actions in the case. An article from last week notes that it’s alleged Hood actually replaced the cloth flag with a nylon one and that the DA was prepared to allege that Hood stole additional property. Being on the outside, it’s hard to make a judgment call on this one, but I can’t imagine why a case like this wouldn’t be dismissed or at least allow some kind of pretrial intervention to keep it from going forward. Then again, I’ve had my own experience with DA’s getting particularly vindictive in theft of government property cases.

In the final bit of noteworthy news today, not a DA but a Pendergrass police officer is now under investigation for an illegal arrest. Details are fuzzy, but a tape of a stop made by Officer Bill Garner has been sent on to GBI. The stop involved an arrest for DUI of a driver, and it appears the false arrest is regarding the passenger, who was also arrested for Open Container, though it appears there was no container in the car.

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