A local lawyer who pleaded guilty to 11 misdemeanors related to smuggling contraband into the Richmond County jail has been disbarred from practicing law in Georgia.
In a ruling filed June 3, the Georgia Supreme Court disbarred Sidney “Chuck” Jones, 59, of Graniteville, after he admitted to smuggling tobacco to a Richmond County inmate on numerous occasions, which the ruling said amounted to crimes of “moral turpitude” and a breach of the public trust in his office as an attorney.
The court found that even though Jones had no previous disciplinary record or criminal history, the circumstances were insufficient “to mitigate the repeated deceit, dishonesty, breaches of trust, and disregard for safety and security of the jail that are reflect in his crimes.”
Jones was arrested Sept. 28, 2011, after Richmond County sheriff’s investigators saw him passing bags of tobacco and marijuana to an inmate, according to court documents.
He originally had been indicted on three felonies – influencing a witness, crossing guard lines with drugs and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute – but pleaded guilty in December 2011 to 11 misdemeanors and was sentenced to 11 years of probation by Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet. The terms of his probation required Jones to refrain from practicing law in Georgia during that time.
Two days after his arrest, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an order suspending his license to practice law until a disciplinary hearing is held. The South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel did not return a call seeking a comment on the Georgia ruling.
According to court documents, Jones was caught by Richmond County deputies giving contraband to his client Jamie Trey Robinson, who was in custody facing charges of armed robbery and hijacking.
Robinson told investigators that Jones offered to represent him free after he had informed on Jones’ son, Tyler Jones, naming him as the man behind armed robberies at area restaurants. At the time, Tyler Jones was awaiting trial in Aiken County. He has since been convicted and is serving a 22-year sentence.
Robinson also told investigators that Sidney Jones had him sign three false affidavits intended to help his son beat charges in Aiken County. The affidavits were never introduced in court, officials said.
Robinson is serving a 35-year sentence after pleading guilty to felonies in December.