Bodiford steps in: Douglas D.A. accused of misusing seized drug money
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
February 18, 2014 04:00 AM | 7104 views | 4 4 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
COBB COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT Judge Jim Bodiford has filed paperwork with the Douglas County Superior Court Clerk asking that a special grand jury be empaneled there in connection with a lengthy investigation into allegations that Douglas County District Attorney David McDade made improper use of seized drug money.

Bodiford, acting in his capacity as administrative judge of the Seventh Judicial Administrative District of Georgia, appointed himself to conduct the proceedings in the case. His action came after documents he ordered unsealed at the courthouse in neighboring Douglas County on Friday revealed that all three of Douglas County’s Superior Court judges had recused themselves from the case back in September.

It’s the latest development in a series of events that began last spring after Fox 5 reporter Dale Russell raised questions about the use of the drug funds as well as accusations of nepotism. McDade is accused of assigning a county SUV to his office manager for her personal use; of taking her and her sister to out-of-town legal conferences; of paying her more than $90,000 (on top of her regular salary) over three years for transcribing witness interviews (and at rates said to be well in excess of the going rate for such work); and of giving the manager’s daughter a paid internship.

That report prompted McDade to request Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan investigate his department, saying he wanted to clear the air.

The GBI’s probe lasted seven months and entailed interviewing more than 40 witnesses as well as removing computers from the D.A.’s offices, according to a report in The Douglas County Sentinel. The GBI’s findings were turned over to the office of state Attorney General Sam Olens in November.

Russell reported on Friday that the state D.A.’s office is prepared to show that McDade used seized drug funds on his office manager and members of her family.

The grand jury requested by Bodiford would have the authority to issue criminal indictments in the case.

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BODIFORD announced late last month that he would retire at year end rather than seek what would be his sixth term on the Cobb bench. He’s one of Georgia’s most recognizable and most respected judges, having presided over such high-profile cases as the death penalty trials of Fred Tokars, anti-freeze murderer Lynn Turner and Fulton County Courthouse shooter Brian Nichols.

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POLITICS: Joseph Pond, who recently announced plans to run against District 3 Northeast Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell in the May 20 GOP Primary, is now styling himself as “Joe Plumber,” a takeoff on the “Joe the Plumber” who put then-candidate Barack Obama on the spot about his plans to redistribute the country’s wealth.

Pond is a plumber by profession and notes that unlike “Joe the Plumber,” he has a Master Plumber’s license.

Pond is against the Braves Stadium deal, which Birrell supported. But he’s best known for his fight to persuade the commission to allow county residents to raise chickens in their backyards, a subject on which he and Birrell have been pecking back and forth for the past several years.

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NORTHWEST COBB COMMISSION candidate Bill Byrne hosts his kickoff fundraiser from 5:30-7:30 tonight upstairs at Shillings on the Square. The Host Committee includes retired Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Alan Blackburn and wife Linda, Paul Chastain, Tammy Cohen of InfoMart, Carey Cox, John Delves, Denny and Nancy Desmond, former Georgia GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart, Jeff and Felicity Diamond, Martina Goscha, Blake Halberg, Joe and Margie Hatfield, Dave and Sharon Herndon, Elizabeth Manning, Metro Ambulance President/CEO Pete Quinones, Larry Savage, retired county assistant manager Roswell Story, Realtor Bob Terrell, Martha Watson, John and Diane Webb, and Mike and Diana Young.

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COMMISSION Chairman Tim Lee seems to have thrown his support behind Republican lawyer Bert Reeves in the race for the Georgia House District 34 seat occupied by Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw). Lee sent out an email blast urging attendance at Reeves’ campaign kickoff fundraiser Thursday at the Strand. ... Retired Col. Larry Mrozinski, who’s running for the 11th District Congressional seat now held by Phil Gingrey, was feted last week by friends and supporters at Williamson Bros. Barbeque in Canton. The event honored both Mrozinski’s birthday and the Feb. 6 birth of his first grandchild. Among attendees was Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame member Paul Puckett.

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THE YWCA of Northwest Georgia has unveiled its list of pending inductees into its Academy of Women Leaders, which will take place at the Y’s 29th annual Tribute to Women of Achievement banquet March 28 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.

This year’s nominees are:

- Mansour Center Director Pam Brems

- Retired Cobb County librarian Cathy Brown

- Broker/owner Wendy Bunch of RE/MAX PURE

- Bank of North Georgia Senior V.P. Beth Eckford

- Cobb Legislative Liaison Karen Hallacy

- Administrative Law Judge Meg Hartin of the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation

- Cumberland Diamond Exchange co-owner Rhonda Jacobson

- Wedding Planner and community volunteer Jennifer Johnson-Lynch

- Director of Business Development Tracy Rathbone of Coxe Curry & Associates

- WellStar Health System VP of Marketing, PR and Internal Communications Michelle Robinson

- Smyrna Assistant City Manager Tammi Saddler Jones

- Managing member/Education Chair Mattie Small, Cobb NAACP

- Program manager/planning operator Darlene Ward-Reno, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

- Services Delivery Manager Rebecca Wood, Genuine Parts Company

- April Wright, Principal, 524 Creative

One of the inductees will be named as the 2014 Woman of the Year at the banquet, which is being chaired by Chief Deputy Cobb State Court Clerk Robin Bishop and Allan Bishop, executive director at WellStar. Co-chairing are Dr. and Mrs. William Cooper.

For ticket info call Holly Tuchman at (770) 423-3581.

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PEOPLE: Cobb’s Pam Younker was invited to Washington Jan. 24 for the swearing-in of Secretary of the Air Force Debbie James in a ceremony presided over by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Younker, who is community outreach liaison for government and community affairs at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, was one of 25 community leaders from around the country chosen to take part in the Air Force’s Civic Leader Program.

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TALKING ABOUT HISTORY: Local Facebook phenomenon Davis McCollum of the “Old Marietta (O.M.)” page fame will present a talk on the history of Acworth at Thursday’s “Evening with History” at the Marietta Museum of History. Admission is $5 for the 7 p.m. event. …

And at 2 p.m. Saturday, Michael Shaffer, assistant director of Kennesaw State University’s Civil War Center, will deliver a lecture on “The Atlanta Campaign” at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Admission is free.

EVENTS: The Harold Lloyd silent comedy classic “Safety Last” will be screened for the first time here at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre with west Cobb’s Ron Carter providing live accompaniment using all the special effects and sounds of the Strand’s Mighty Allen Theatre Organ. There’ll also be a pre-show sing-along led by fellow Strand organist Phillip Allen. Cost is $8 for adults, $7 for students and seniors. Carter met with Lloyd’s granddaughter, Sue Lloyd, to obtain permission for the Strand screening.
Comments
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Total arrogance
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February 19, 2014
It is a shame that Bodiford does not think there is a jurist in the entire state of Georgia,other than himself, capable of handling this case. It is clear he wants to add another trophy to try and hang his hat on before he retires, and try to assure the governor makes him a senior judge because he is trying this case. What he is showing is there is no need for another senior judge; just get one to replace him that will work!!! I guess he doesn't have enough to do with his regular judicial duties in Cobb County. PLEASE GO AHEAD AND RETIRE!!!
Forfeiture law
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February 18, 2014
The grand jury investigation into the Douglas County District Attorney, David McDade, is the perfect example to highlight why voters need to look into House Bill 1 and support it. House Bill 1 will provide some public availability of the status of use of forfeited property so that activities such as those of which Mr. McDade is accused could be caught or, better yet, prevented.

However, House Bill 1 will only shine a little light on the seizure activities of police across the state. Voters should push for further amendments to Georgia's forfeiture laws which provide little to no protection for those cleared of charges. Across Georgia people are subjected to losing assets such as cash, cars, and other personal valuables on a statement by the police and district attorneys that they believe these items were used in the commission of a crime. There is little to no tracking of the assets available. These valuables should be held in trust until charges are taken through the entire court system. Only after conviction and subsequent appeals should the assets seized be allowed to be converted for use by the seizing authorities. There are many cases available to read of innocent people conducting ordinary business who have been the subject of a stop by police and who have had their cash or car seized and not returned despite charges being dismissed or rulings of not guilty being issued. Again, the assets should have been held in trust by a state authority and returned to the innocent.
andy14
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February 18, 2014
TAKE A LOOK AT THE POWDER SPRINGS POLICE WHILE YOU'RE AT IT
momcomment
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February 26, 2014
The forfeiture moneys should go to the ER rooms at the Hospitals to pay for all the medical medicals that the rest of us are stuck with due to illegal activity. Gun shot wounds, traffic accidents, caused by chases, illegal drivers, people raped and assaulted, etc. These forfeitures funds should not be the little slush funds of Sherriff's and DA's.
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