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Former Georgia Sen. Charles Walker gets new hearing on prison sentence

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The 10-year prison sentence of former state Sen. Charles Walker could be re-evaluated after he gained a partial victory in a federal appeals court.

Walker is scheduled to finish his sentence at a medium-security federal prison in Estill, S.C., on Sept. 26, 2014. Walker, 63, was once one of the most influential politicians in the state before the Democratic stronghold in Georgia was broken in the 2002 election.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Walker is scheduled to finish his sentence at a medium-security federal prison in Estill, S.C., on Sept. 26, 2014. Walker, 63, was once one of the most influential politicians in the state before the Democratic stronghold in Georgia was broken in the 2002 election.

An 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision Aug. 23 agrees with Walker’s assertion that his appellate counsel failed to argue that his sentence was an unreasonable upward departure from the sentencing guidelines. Federal judges also said that the district court below them should have considered those arguments about ineffectual counsel.

Amy Adelson, an attorney representing Walker, said a mandate will be issued from the 11th Circuit remanding the case back to district court. A district judge will hear new arguments about the counsel issue, then issue another opinion.

Walker was convicted of 127 felony charges related to various schemes to cheat advertisers for his Augusta Focus newspaper, two public hospitals, campaign contributors and the CSRA Classic charity event he founded. Walker paid $698,047 in restitution and another $200,000 in fines and court fees.

Depending on the district judge’s decision, Walker’s sentence could be vacated, which means a new sentence would have to be imposed. It’s possible that he could receive credit for time served and be set free, or the sentence could simply be reduced, said Adelson.

The upward departure from sentencing guidelines “is really the issue that we’re fighting,” Adelson said.

If the district judge decides that the argument is invalid, then the case would be returned to the appeals court, Adelson said.

Walker is scheduled to finish his sentence at a medium-security federal prison in Estill, S.C., on Sept. 26, 2014. Walker, 63, was once one of the most influential politicians in the state before the Democratic stronghold in Georgia was broken in the 2002 election. But Walker made it back into office by beating former Sen. Don Cheeks to recapture his old Senate seat, District 22, while under federal indictment.

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rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 09/21/11 - 05:30 pm
0
0
walker would do just fine in
Unpublished

walker would do just fine in the obama regime.

Riverman1
121354
Points
Riverman1 09/21/11 - 05:36 pm
0
0
It's a long ways to go, but I

It's a long ways to go, but I had a friendly wager with a couple of people in the media that Walker would not serve all his sentence.

Brad Owens
5224
Points
Brad Owens 09/21/11 - 05:51 pm
0
0
I hope he is released. He has

I hope he is released. He has served enough time for the crimes he committed. I wish he could get a pardon so he could run again. We could use some leadership in Augusta right about now.

broad street narrow mind
348
Points
broad street narrow mind 09/21/11 - 05:52 pm
0
0
i bet the same way. has
Unpublished

i bet the same way. has anyone in town read the piece about this by scott horton for harper's? it's almost as good as the sports illustrated story about augusta. fun to make the national papers. that's why we keep paul broun! "The case was coordinated by and involved Noel Hillman and his Public Integrity Section. And it was pursued at the same time that the Abramoff scandal, which channeled straight into the heart of the Georgia G.O.P., was being carefully isolated to protect prominent Georgia Republicans. One was what Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann have called the “greatest political scandal in America’s history,” and the Walker case was a petty vendetta. As the Walker case was ramping up, press disclosures linked Ralph Reed, then the leading G.O.P. candidate for Lieutenant Governor, to corrupt dealings with Indian gambling interests involving an entity he created in connection with a number of other Georgia Republicans called the U.S. Family Network. This entity laundered casino gambling money and redirected it into Republican political campaigns. The overall Abramoff scheme involved tens of millions of dollars systematically secured through fraud from Native American groups, and large parts of this money were then pumped in G.O.P. political campaigns throughout the South. A significant number of Georgia Republican leaders were implicated in this scheme. Moreover, it was clearly a matter for federal law enforcement, because it involved Native American groups, and inter-state dealings. But throughout this period, resources for the Abramoff probe were carefully limited and cordoned off, whereas prosecutorial resources were lavished on the Walker case, which involved petty state law infractions and had no obvious reason for being handled by federal prosecutors or investigators in the first place. In the end, resource allocation was the key tool used by the Bush Justice Department to achieve its political agenda.

But most importantly, the Department of Justice itself concluded on the basis of overwhelming evidence that the investigations spawned by U.S. Attorney Thompson were unethical. They had been schemed and conceived as an act of political retribution. Was the decision of Thompson’s successor actually driven by an independent reassessment of the case? The answer to that question is plainly “no.” Indeed, the evidence points to the continuous involvement of senior figures of the Georgia Republican Party in the process through the decision to continue. Following the prosecution of Charles Walker, the prosecutor who handled the case was appointed as a federal district court judge. She was recommended by Congressmen Charlie Norwood and Jack Kingston–the same Congressmen who tried to convince Thompson not to resign and made a strong push for Walker’s prosecution. Walker’s lawyers say it was a political payoff for a political prosecution."

trimmy
29
Points
trimmy 09/21/11 - 05:53 pm
0
0
How in the name of Jesus
Unpublished

How in the name of Jesus Palomino could this crook be given any thing that resembles a break. He was convicted of 127 felonies for crying out loud.

Hucklebuck
45
Points
Hucklebuck 09/21/11 - 06:06 pm
0
0
The right palm has been

The right palm has been greased.

hockeymann
227
Points
hockeymann 09/21/11 - 06:07 pm
0
0
I'd like to see his sentence

I'd like to see his sentence re-evaluated, and give him at least an extra
five years in jail on top of the current sentence.

hounddog
0
Points
hounddog 09/21/11 - 06:24 pm
0
0
Brad, ‘I wish he could get a
Unpublished

Brad, ‘I wish he could get a pardon so he could run again.’
Why am I not surprised. The guy is a first class crook and you want him to run again but I understand. You are hoping to be welcomed back into his groupl. You have lost what little bit of respect I had for you.

willie7
1079
Points
willie7 09/21/11 - 06:34 pm
0
0
I hope he is released soon
Unpublished

I hope he is released soon after spending nearly 7 years in prinson for crimes that some of our governors, Deal, Scott, Perry) have done and walking around free. Governor Deal should be in jail for his unethical dealings.

Riverman1
121354
Points
Riverman1 09/21/11 - 07:10 pm
0
0
Broad Street NM, I believe I

Broad Street NM, I believe I was the first one to post that Harper's story on Walker. Here is the thing for me. I believe he did lots of wrong, but what he was convicted of wasn't THAT BAD. If they had more on him, they sure didn't bring it up. The other thing they said was his record keeping at the CSRA Classic was sloppy.

I believe half the publications in the country inflate their numbers. The Chicago Tribune was caught doing that and got off with a fine. He get's 12 years?

By the way, I corresponded with Champ for a while and they have always felt his conviction would be overturned.

trimmy
29
Points
trimmy 09/21/11 - 07:25 pm
0
0
Some of you people are sick.
Unpublished

Some of you people are sick. Walker deserves to be in jail and all the other crooked politicians need to be in there with him. Because the others haven't been convicted doesn't mean Walker should be set free.

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 09/21/11 - 07:55 pm
0
0
Political Resume for Just
Unpublished

Political Resume for Just Us

1. Strong arm to "influence" others to contribute to personal finances
2. Ability to be creative with reports, to include tax documents
3. Intimate knowledge of cash flow ie...skimming
4. Good relationship with labor, owning the temporary agency optional
5. Great interpersonal skills...thank you Godfather

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 09/21/11 - 08:05 pm
0
0
Being in the masonry/concrete

Being in the masonry/concrete business all my life,I know first hand the type work "speedy temporary services"did on retaining walls along Engleside Dr.The workmanship was so bad residents and others demanded the work be redone.Not only was the work aesthetically unacceptible,building codes were totally ignored.No footings,reinforcement,totally void of department of inspections oversight.I know this because we were given the job of removing the mess done by Walkers "speedy temporary services".The sidewalk scandal was just a way to transfer money from the splost account to Charles Walkers business as far as I could see.The entire time we worked on the Engleside Dr. project the building inspector was there every day.Wonder why no inspector was around when Walkers crew were robbing the residents of Richmond Co.

Riverman1
121354
Points
Riverman1 09/21/11 - 08:06 pm
0
0
So someone or a group tries

So someone or a group tries to bribe two sitting Commissioners to vote for the TEE center construction and what happens? Anybody go to prison?

sand gnat
891
Points
sand gnat 09/21/11 - 09:47 pm
0
0
Maybe he will re open

Maybe he will re open Reklaw's dept. store (Walker spelled backwards).
Just another strong armed, greedy politician that got what he deserved. Too bad it the taxpayers had to take it on the chin.

scoopdedoop64
3307
Points
scoopdedoop64 09/21/11 - 09:54 pm
0
0
Brad, certainly you are just

Brad, certainly you are just teasing and being sarcastic right? This man is certainly not qualified to serve after what he did. He's a scammer and sorry excuse for a public servant when all he did was serve himself.

dichotomy
47115
Points
dichotomy 09/21/11 - 10:39 pm
0
0
Walker used the power of his

Walker used the power of his office to commit crimes and enrich himself and his family. And he committed many more than he was charged with. That is way different than some yo-yo trying to bribe a commissioner. The last thing we need is more of Walker's type of government....or as Brad calls it "leadership". More "what's in it for the big dog" is not leadership.

scoopdedoop64
3307
Points
scoopdedoop64 09/21/11 - 10:55 pm
0
0
Well said dichotomy!

Well said dichotomy!

AutumnLeaves
11971
Points
AutumnLeaves 09/21/11 - 11:01 pm
0
0
Brad. Are you kidding us????

Brad. Are you kidding us????

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 09/22/11 - 12:42 am
0
0
"Brad. Are you kidding

"Brad. Are you kidding us????" What she said!!

Brad, I am disappointed that you think a guy who obviously worked the political system to his advantage; and parlayed that through illegal activities to an even bigger advantage should have another shot. He should be relegated to the trash heap of political crooks. I just hope they have room for him.
You normally have a sane view of things whether I agree or not. You flopped on this one.

Brad Owens
5224
Points
Brad Owens 09/22/11 - 01:18 am
0
0
Yeah, I hated it when Augusta

Yeah, I hated it when Augusta had clout in the Capital and MCG was protected.

@ David Jennings, so I guess Bill Kulkhe shoud go to jail because of the Law Enforcement Center? Much larger amount of money and much larger problems.

@ hockeyman, so you think he deserves to spend 17 years in jail? Makes no sense to me at all. No violence, no murder and no one was really hurt.

@ Autumnleaves, I am sort of, but mre to make a point. Charles Walker was ten times the leader any of these folks are. He also scared the white good ol' boys really bad.

The fact is, Augusta was in much better shape when Charles Walker was around and in charge. I am not sayng waht he did was not wrong, but come on, 12 years for a paper shuffle? What did Tom Delay get?

If he is released, he could not run for ten years unless he gets a pardon, if Obama was smart, he would give Walker a pardon.

Brad

Craig Spinks
819
Points
Craig Spinks 09/22/11 - 02:45 am
0
0
What happened to my post of

What happened to my post of early last evening? Was it removed at the request of one or more Walker-bashers worried about the impact upon him-/herself/themselves of the return of Charles Walker to prominence in my hometown?

avidreader
4116
Points
avidreader 09/22/11 - 06:01 am
0
0
If Walker is released early,

If Walker is released early, I hope he settles into our community as a leader-by-example. What I fear most is that upon his release, he will seek to recapture his power base (even if not as an elected politician) and once again drive a wedge between the black and white communities of Augusta. I wish him well but I'm worried.

OhWell
327
Points
OhWell 09/22/11 - 06:12 am
0
0
I have to agree with Brad

I have to agree with Brad what he did was wrong but if the punishment fits the crime we would not have too many politicians and business leaders walking free. It is wrong to make an example out of one person and let others continue their shady dealings unharmed. Walker learned to do business this way by example. Powerful people have been doing this for years.

dickworth1
956
Points
dickworth1 09/22/11 - 06:45 am
0
0
127 felonies, but he was not
Unpublished

127 felonies, but he was not treated fairly, bullbutter, a lot of felons
have far less charges and receive a lot more time. Walker cheated a
lot of good folks and cheated the taxpayers of Ga. He is a criminal
and deserves his sentence and should serve his time and not ask for
special breaks.

david jennings
625
Points
david jennings 09/22/11 - 07:18 am
0
0
Brad you are right.Ive seen

Brad you are right.Ive seen mobile homes last longer than the law enforcement center has.It is disgusting to know and see tax money wasted on shoddy consruction.I know Walker is a smart man and artist at politics.He did alot for this area,unfortunately he did a lot for himself and got caught and rightfully convicted,Too bad we cant catch all of those who do the same thing,but then that would be a perfect world wouldnt it?

hounddog
0
Points
hounddog 09/22/11 - 07:28 am
0
0
Spinks, 'it removed at the
Unpublished

Spinks, 'it removed at the request of one or more Walker-bashers worried about the impact upon him-/herself/themselves of the return of Charles Walker to prominence in my hometown?’
I would not be surprised if Walker returns to prominence after all we are talking about Augusta. Augusta has the same mentality as DC and they elected a drug addict who used prostitutes

Riverman1
121354
Points
Riverman1 09/22/11 - 08:21 am
0
0
"That is way different than

"That is way different than some yo-yo trying to bribe a commissioner."

And if anyone believes that I have some prime real estate in East Augusta for ya. This was not some yo yo. This was an attorney who worked for the cabal officially and apparently unofficially.

Little Lamb
56959
Points
Little Lamb 09/22/11 - 09:16 am
0
0
So the U.S. Circuit Court of

So the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals “agrees with Walker’s assertion that his appellate counsel failed to argue that his sentence was an unreasonable upward departure from the sentencing guidelines.”

Wow! Technically, that chalks up as a victory for the Walker team. But it looks weak to me. So his appellate counsel failed to do something that came to light as a strategy in hindsight. You can always think of something that someone "failed to do" once you think about it day and night for several years.

My guess is that the district court will dutifully obey the circuit court and go on record as reviewing the charge of ineffective counsel. Then the district court will declare that counsel was competent and effective and that the sentence is within the boundaries of the sentencing guidelines and we can all get back to our lives.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 09/22/11 - 09:23 am
0
0
fron Brad: "he scared the
Unpublished

fron Brad:
"he scared the white good ol' boys really bad."

EXACTLY!!!!! Augusta would not be the way it is if Mr. Walker was around.

He needed to be moved so the downtown area can have the changes they have now.

ALSO, he could have VERY WELL been Governor of GA.

Thats why he received such a harsh sentence.

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