One-man parole board

Former sheriff wallowed in corruption with inmate's help

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How would you like to borrow some inmate labor to get things done around the old farmstead – cheap?

Well, you and your neighbors would never get that kind of deal, but some sheriffs seem to think they can. They seem to view a county jail as a work release program for their benefit.

We’ve seen it in Georgia.
And now former Saluda County, S.C., Sheriff Jason Booth is the latest.

Booth pleaded guilty Monday “to using an inmate to build a party shed, an ornate gate and other items at his home,” the Associated Press reported.

Seeing as how indentured servitude went out years ago, the former sheriff got off pretty easy, too – a $900 fine and probation. He probably won’t be paying any taxes, either, on the “donated” labor.

And even though it was considered but a misdemeanor after a plea deal, this case was much more aggravated than that implies. Says the Associated Press: “Booth allowed the inmate to live in a trailer outside of prison, have conjugal visits with his girlfriend and offered to ask the governor to reduce his sentence, prosecutors said.”

Really? A sheriff, willing to seek leniency in a criminal’s sentence if he helps out around the house?

There’s a word for that, and it starts with “corrupt” and ends with “ion.”

It’s hard to believe that, in this day and age, such blatant malfeasance and breach of the public trust – borrowing inmate labor from jail, like a book from the library – isn’t more serious than the law has recognized in this case.

Nor could the sheriff plead ignorance. From the AP: “Booth knew the rules with inmate labor because in 2005, the state Corrections Department counseled him after a previous problem, said prosecutor Strom Thurmond Jr.”

But later, Booth was entrusted with an inmate who not only was serving 15 years for dealing methamphetamines but who, luckily enough for Booth, was “an expert welder, electrician, engine repairman and handyman.”

The inmate, while digging a pond and working on all those other projects and visiting local restaurants, managed to father a baby and, writes the AP, got to “ride around on a four-wheeler and was taken out of town to visit family.”

This sheriff had created a one-man parole board.

Booth’s attorney, writes the AP, “said his client is only working odd jobs and is heartbroken that he can no longer be in the career he dreamed of since he was a boy.”

The rest of us will be forgiven for not feeling the same way.

Comments (12) Add comment
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shrimp for breakfast
5422
Points
shrimp for breakfast 08/10/12 - 02:48 am
4
4
I say Prison time

But in the good ole boy backrooms this Bubba got the royal treatment by the same old broken down system. Can you imagine the time a regular Joe would have gotten? People like you and me? What if this inmate had gone on a crime spree.
Just goes to show that the law applies differently depending on who you know. This was a serious crime but the punishment was was a kiss on the cheek.
Makes me sick. Put that criminal in Jail where he belongs. At least for a year if nothing else.
Strom Thurmond Jr you have no backbone. Typical. I've come to expect such garbage from such a weak little kid.

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 08/10/12 - 03:13 am
6
0
It has a Cool Hand Luke kind

It has a Cool Hand Luke kind of feel. The old days of jail and prison in the South.

avidreader
2959
Points
avidreader 08/10/12 - 06:45 am
3
1
Wow!

Such blatant disregard of one's responsibilities! The Sheriff should have to eat 50 boiled eggs.

soapy_725
43553
Points
soapy_725 08/10/12 - 09:13 am
0
1
Yes sir Boss !!!
Unpublished

What we have here is failure to communicate. Movies often bear much truth about human nature. Self serving from the first cry's.

cheapster505
566
Points
cheapster505 08/10/12 - 10:08 am
1
1
his turn

guess he will have to work for the new sheriff in town

cheapster505
566
Points
cheapster505 08/10/12 - 10:13 am
0
3
election

every somebody running for national office says they will fix the economy ? how about If Romney loses we make him Postmaster General and fix the POST OFFICE do that than I'll vote for any office he wants and every one who says they created or stated a BIZ show me you can fix a problem before you can fix a country

cheapster505
566
Points
cheapster505 08/10/12 - 10:14 am
0
4
election

Run JESSE run

Riverman1
79277
Points
Riverman1 08/10/12 - 11:25 am
4
2
Choose Your Sheriff Wisely

Realize corruption by sheriffs is a dark force that permeates the entire community. The South and the CSRA have certainly had their share of such misconduct. Scrutinize carefully those running for office for connections with the evil empires of the CSRA. Don’t be naïve. Be careful with your vote.

In 1946 the misconduct caused an open rebellion in Athens, Tenn of vets returning from WWII. They advanced on the Sherriff’s Office and a historic shootout incurred. The Saturday Evening Post describing what the returning soldiers were angry about said this:

“They find in the land they love old political gangs, racial intolerance, scoundrels in public office, irresponsible strikers and the lascivious night club air of those who have fattened on war and death…they find cant, greed, luxury, hypocrisy, lust and avarice.”

Sound familiar, Augusta?

rmwhitley
5526
Points
rmwhitley 08/10/12 - 12:22 pm
0
1
Politician and
Unpublished

corruption.You can't spell either word without using c's, p's, t's, i's, o's, and n's.

Sweet son
9682
Points
Sweet son 08/10/12 - 01:17 pm
3
2
It's Just the Old South!

Probably if any of you had called Booth and asked to borrow the inmate for your project he would have made arrangements. I know the Old South has almost faded entirely away but I am sure that the inmate was happy to be able to get out of jail for short periods of time. That's just the way it was a while ago and I guess that Booth didn't get the word. He probably is not old enough to realize that the Atlanta newspapers "Covered Dixie Like the Dew." LOL! I am just messin' with y'all!

Sweet son
9682
Points
Sweet son 08/10/12 - 01:21 pm
2
2
It's Just the Old South!

All of you folks should have called Booth and made arrangements for the inmate to do some work for you. He probably would have been happy to make the arrangements. He was just working on Old South rules and just wasn't quite up to speed on how it is done in 2012. LOL! Just kidding you guys but I am sure that this was the norm not too many years back.

Jake
31665
Points
Jake 08/10/12 - 05:35 pm
2
4
No outrage here

Actually, this does not bother me. Using inmate labor seems to benefit the sheriff and the inmates. At least the inmates were allowed to do some responsible work and keep their craftsmanship sharp while in jail so when released they could possibly contribute to society again. Kind of like "Shawshank Redemption" in the south.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 08/10/12 - 06:24 pm
4
1
Except that the Sheriff

Except that the Sheriff should have paid a fair market value for the services to the county to offset the expense of inmates' incarceration . And of course, inmate should have returned nightly to his cell.

Jake
31665
Points
Jake 08/10/12 - 08:06 pm
2
3
I don't know

I think being sheriff should have some perks. Obviously what he did was illegal but showing kindness to the offending individuals with the rewards that they were given sounds OK to me. Of course I have never been in jail, much less arrested, so I am not sure how these things work. Still, not much of an issue to me.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 08/10/12 - 09:35 pm
1
1
Jake, my man. The sheriff
Unpublished

Jake, my man. The sheriff was abusing his power and stealing from the taxpayers...like you. Not to mention taking advantage of this inmate...whether it was consensual or not...and creating a disparate situation among inmates. People who refuse or can't see the corruption boggles my mind....totally. It's akin to support for slavery because it's good for the slaves...how the culture is so slow to change.

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