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Indicted coroner takes voluntary suspension

Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 3:40 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 1:00 AM
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Richmond County Coroner Grover Tu­ten, who is under indictment charging him with theft while in office, is taking a voluntary suspension.

Tuten sent notice to the governor’s office Friday, said his defense attorney, Danny Durham. The voluntary action means Gov. Nathan Deal will not have to go through the process of appointing a committee to investigate and advise him on the question of suspension of an elected official, Durham said.

“This will be better for everyone,” he said.

Georgia law regarding indicted public officials states that the person can waive the review process and accept suspension. While the case is pending, the official still collects his salary. If convicted, the official’s
position is terminated.

The voluntary suspension created some confusion.

District Attorney Ashley Wright said she wasn’t sure what effect Tuten’s move will have and has asked the state attorney general’s office for an opinion.

Probate Court Judge Harry B. James III said Monday that he cannot appoint anyone to fill the rest of Tuten’s four-year term, which
began in 2012, until the office is vacant – and it isn’t officially vacant, James said.

Assistant Coroner Mark Bowen is currently in charge of the office.

A Richmond County grand jury returned an indictment last month accusing Tuten of keeping property of the dead whose heirs were not immediately known, and of
charging fees that are not authorized by law.

The indictment alleges eight counts of thefts and five counts of violation of his oath of office from 2005 through May. Tuten has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on a $30,000 bond.

Tuten was a deputy coroner for 26 years before being elected coroner in 2004.

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corgimom
27781
Points
corgimom 02/10/14 - 04:54 pm
4
7
You're so Augusta if you are

You're so Augusta if you are an elected official and you graciously suspend yourself.

How thoughtful of him.

my.voice
4654
Points
my.voice 02/10/14 - 05:43 pm
3
4
Tuten later stated "the job

Tuten later stated "the job is a dead end position anyhow". He can be reached at his used car lot later today.

karradur
2848
Points
karradur 02/10/14 - 05:57 pm
1
4
...

He looks like Boss Nass from The Phantom Menace.

avidreader
2959
Points
avidreader 02/10/14 - 06:00 pm
3
1
. . .

Or Boss Hog from the Dukes of Hazzard!

Truth Matters
6185
Points
Truth Matters 02/10/14 - 06:53 pm
1
6
@my.voice...4:43pm You can

@my.voice...4:43pm
You can quit your day job and go after Leno's spot.
Really, I am dead serious.

bubbasauce
20573
Points
bubbasauce 02/11/14 - 01:58 am
3
1
So how long is this crook

So how long is this crook going to get paid awaiting a trial and a verdict? So is is definitely working the system.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 02/11/14 - 07:58 am
3
1
Just A Little Gratuity

You mean if someone dies the coroner doesn't get to keep the belongings of the deceased for his own use? Next thing you know the coroner will have to give them to the family. What's the county coming to?

Little Lamb
43827
Points
Little Lamb 02/11/14 - 09:00 am
2
1
What's so hard to understand about that?

From the story:

Georgia law regarding indicted public officials states that the person can waive the review process and accept suspension. While the case is pending, the official still collects his salary. If convicted, the official’s position is terminated. The voluntary suspension created some confusion. District Attorney Ashley Wright said she wasn’t sure what effect Tuten’s move will have and has asked the state attorney general’s office for an opinion.

Does District Attorney Ashley Wright want the state attorney general to wrap up the case with a bow and hand it to her? She needs to get on the stick and take this case to trial pronto. Taxpayers are paying the lawyers for both sides in this one.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/11/14 - 10:22 am
1
0
With the FBI involved, there

With the FBI involved, there should already be an overwhelming amount of incriminating evidence. You don't have to get the max. He's an older dude. Just get the conviction for the most vile of charges and go with that. Public workers should be more thrifty when it is in the best interest of the gen pub.

jimmymac
32645
Points
jimmymac 02/11/14 - 04:26 pm
1
0
INDICTED
Unpublished

He shouldn't get paid after being indicted. If he's acquitted he can file for back pay. He's guilty of violating the public trust and shouldn't be rewarded with his pay. He should have been terminated just like he would have had happen if in private business.

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