Northern Georgia Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White surrendered to the Hart County Sheriff’s Office to be booked and fingerprinted on June 20, 2016, before being released on a $1,000 signature bond. Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Struble had signed an arrest order for White on a felony charge of violating the state’s political campaign laws. Specifically, while running for a second term in office, White allegedly mailed an election advertisement to voters that pictured uniformed Hartwell Police Department officers with the caption “Officers support Parks White.”
Georgia state law forbids the use of municipal or county police departments’ names or uniformed officers, patrol cars or badges without the express permission of the local governing authority. The complaint was filed by attorney Allyn Stockton, who said his client, Hart County resident Liz Parsons, accused White of failing to “get permission from the city of Hartwell before the picture was made.” According to Stockton the statute has a purpose: “It’s a law on the books designed to keep police departments from being exploited.”
White, who faces 1 to 5 years in prison if convicted of the felony offense, faced controversy last year for indicting DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Becker over her involvement in a public school corruption case, then suddenly dropping the charges. According to one news report, “the judge who signed the dismissal order publicly scolded White,” saying his actions were politically motivated and “pretty close” to criminal.
White’s attorney, Mark Wiggins, said the charges related to campaign law violations do not prevent his client from doing his job, and that White “can continue to perform the duties the people elected him to do” while awaiting resolution of the case.
“I look forward to my day in court and being vindicated of these baseless allegations,” White stated.
Sources: www.dailyreportonline.com, www.onlineathens.com
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