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Tarnished Badges

It does our state reputation no good when we fall into old stereotypes. In this instance, a sordid tale has emerged about police and judicial corruption, hearkening back to the Dukes of Hazard, where misfits with badges, under the direction of corrupt authorities, preyed upon citizens.

Two Murray County sheriff’s deputies have admitted guilt for framing a woman at the behest of a local Judge. The woman, Angela Garmley, had complained about the Judge previously, claiming he attempted to get sex from her in exchange for a favorable court outcome. Ms. Garmley was the victim in an assault case.

When Garmley not only refused the judge’s advances, but filed a complaint as well, local sheriff’s deputies came up with the scheme to plant methamphetamine in her car. By framing Garmley, all concerned felt they could pressure her to drop her complaint.

Luckily for Ms. Garmley, the methamphetamine charges against her were dropped once the frame-up was exposed. Her attorney for a civil lawsuit about the matter said, “The judge, two deputies, and a handyman named C.J. who is employed at Judge Cochran's property conspired to plant the drugs on my client. And if the frame-up hadn't been discovered my client would've been facing 25 to 30 years in prison.”

In fact, although the charges didn’t stick, they will remain part of Ms. Garmley’s arrest record for a year. This constitutes damage and forms the basis for the civil suit.

The question that always arises when such things come to light is, “How much deeper does it go?” Georgians want to be assured that corruption like this is exposed and rooted out as a matter of course, but we always suspect it is still going on somewhere in our state and for every incident that gets the disinfecting power of sunlight, more remain in the shadows, continuing to fester.

Perhaps the best we can do is make those responsible pay, either monetarily by way of lawsuit or by jailing them when appropriate. More on this story can be found here.

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