D. A. challenges Hart release - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D. A. challenges Hart release

^ Judge Crosby ^ Judge Crosby
^ Lou Hart ^ Lou Hart

February 6, 2003

Albany-- The former Dougherty County Assistant Police Chief will be released from federal prison in five weeks. But ever after the judge's ruling, there are questions about state charges.

Woody Hart was sentenced to 27 months in prison for bribery and perjury in February 2001, and has been in a federal prison in Arkansas since.

Hart is scheduled for release March 14th, but Georgia authorities wanted him to serve 3.5 more months on state charges.

Thursday, a judge ruled Hart should not serve any more time after the feds release him. Dougherty District Attorney Ken Hodges argued in court that Judge John Crosby did not have the power to modify the sentence against Hart.

The former Dougherty County Assistant Police Chief plead guilty to bribery charges in a multi million dollar embezzlement case two years ago.

But Judge Crosby agreed with Hart's attorney Joe Vaknin that the sentence agreement said the federal and state charges should run concurrently. "The intent was that when he finished his federal sentence that he would serve no additional time in a state facility. And I'm just glad the judge did the right thing."

D. A. Hodges said, "Then it would be up to the Department of Corrections." But he says he still questions if Georgia Corrections will abide by the Judge's order. "If it's a void order, I doubt the Department of Corrections will comply with it."

Woody Hart's wife, Lou, celebrated after the ruling. She plans to be in Arkansas for his release. "Looking forward to go picking him up, March 14th" she said.

Asked what they plan to do then, she laughed and said: “Chill out...”

Hodges said he wants to read the Judge's ruling, but he will let the state Corrections Department decide if they want to appeal.

posted at 3:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com