Originally created 02/19/03

Three officials an embarrassment and should be investigated



The Augusta area has had its share of corrupt, unethical and sleazy politicians over the years: a former mayor convicted of extortion and sent to the slammer; a former state senator reportedly under investigation by the FBI and GBI; and a former state representative allegedly lining his pockets with state money. Now, revelations that a serving state senator was actively lobbying the elected district attorney and a Superior Court judge for a lesser sentence for a convicted sex offender (sexual battery of a 3-year-old child). The plot thickens when the district attorney apparently admitted to The Augusta Chronicle that he tried to "cover" for the state senator and the judge.

What was the district attorney trying to cover? This is certainly a case crying for a formal criminal investigation. Was there any conspiracy between the three elected officials? By his own admission, the district attorney indicated that the senator contacted him "at least a dozen" times (apparently, after the offender's arrest and before adjudication of the case).

Why won't the GBI investigate the possibility of criminal obstruction of justice involving the three elected officials? Certainly, the State Supreme Court must investigate whether the district attorney and the Superior Court judge have violated their oaths to practice law in the state of Georgia.

At a minimum, the State Ethics Commission must investigate whether the state senator acted in an unethical manner in an attempt to circumvent state law. (State laws are designed to protect the "community" from this type of criminal activity.)

Elected officials must be held to a higher standard. The sorry excuses made by these officials stink to high heaven. Frankly, all three are an embarrassment to this community, the judiciary and the state Senate. They should resign from public office.

Maurie L. Reardon, Martinez, Ga.