In 2003, Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett accepted three $10,000 campaign contributions – far exceeding the legal limit — from donors in Florida. Each had received loans from a $2 million investment of public funds by Barrett. A broker who steered the investment, and the chief deputy who took $10,000 from him, both went to federal prison. But Barrett still awaits the outcome of a 6-year-old ethics investigation. In 2008, dozens of disputed ethics cases like Barrett’s were backed up. Today, officials say, the backlog is almost cleared up.
In 2007, Rudy Eller hid a gun fired by his chief deputy in a domestic dispute and lied to GBI investigators about it. A year later, Eller pleaded guilty to making false statements, tampering with evidence, hindering apprehension of a criminal, and violating his oath of office. Eller’s lawyer and the district attorney asked the judge to show mercy on Eller, who suffers from diabetes and emphysema. But Superior Court Judge Lynn Alderman was unmoved: “The court is in the business of justice. Mercy is for the Lord and other parties who are not here today.”