Northern Circuit DA Campaign Violation Allegation

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White faces a felony charge after an alleged campaign violation.

Last Friday, Senior Superior Court Judge Robert Struble ruled regarding allegations White illegally obtained the political endorsement of Hartwell Police Chief Anthony Davis in his bid for re-election.

On Friday, Judge Struble issued a written ruling in which he stated he believed there was enough probable cause, based on evidence presented, to have White arrested and charged with felony violation of Georgia Code Section 35-10-2.

That Code provides in part, “No person or organization should be allowed to use any municipal or county police department’s name or any term used to identify the department or its members without the expressed permission of the local governing authority.”

During his campaign, White received the endorsement of a number of law enforcement agencies including the Hartwell Police Department.

But in the final days of White’s re-election campaign, Elbert County defense attorney Lane Fitzpatrick had one of his clients, Liz Parsons, file an application in Hart County Magistrate Court to have a warrant sworn out for White’s arrest.

When he first heard of the allegations in May, White said the Georgia Code required Chief Davis to ask the City Council himself for permission to publicly support White’s re-election campaign.

The ruling cited an unnamed Hartwell City Council member and Hartwell City Manager David Aldrich saying that no request has been made from the Chief of Police to the City Council for Parks White to use the City Police Officers’ badge, patch, or uniforms in a political advertisement.

Judge Struble concluded in his ruling, “there is no question that there is no evidence that the written permission requirements OCGA Sec. 35-10-2 were complied with in this case.”

White said he is looking forward to answering the charges.

“I believe in the system,” White said Monday. “I have been at work since the election every day doing everything we can with six assistants to handle 115,000 people in five sheriff’s offices and many police departments trying our best just to keep up. I look forward to my day in court and to being vindicated from these baseless allegations.”

White was booked into the Hart County jail and then ordered by Judge Struble to be released on his own recognizance after posting a $1,000 bond.

In his ruling the Judge also ordered the case be sent to the State Attorney General’s office, stating that “As to the effect of OCGA Section 35-10-2 and the facts of this case, several issues will have to be decided at the trial level based on the evidence.”

White won re-election May 21 by a wide margin over his challenger, Elbert County defense attorney Richard Campbell.