Woody Hart not to serve more prison time - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Woody Hart not to serve more prison time

October 9, 2003

Albany -- No more prison time for former Dougherty County assistant Police Chief Woody Hart. A Judge declared that the time spent in federal prison was all he meant Hart to serve.

Woody Hart appeared fit as he entered the courtroom in Albany. But he knew the hearing would decide if he spent three more months in prison. Hart said "I'm satisfied that justice has prevailed."

District Attorney Ken Hodges wanted the former Dougherty County assistant Police Chief to spend three more months in state prison to complete his sentence for perjury, bribery, and violation of oath of office. Hodges said "When someone, especially a high ranking law enforcement official, is involved so perversely with corrupt activity, you don't give them the minimum sentence."

The hearing, ordered by a state appeals court, was to have Judge Crosby straighten out confusion over the plea agreement. Hodges called six witnesses to remind the judge of the corruption charges Hart plead guilty to. Hart's attorney said it was political grandstanding. Joe Vaknin said "All along we believed the law was on our side, and today we found out that we were right."

In 2000 Hart pleaded guilty to taking part in an embezzlement scheme from Taylor Childre Chevrolet in Sylvester. His plea agreement called for him to spend 27 months in federal prison. Hart served 24 months, then was released in March. Judge Crosby said he wanted Hart to spend only the federal prison time behind bars, and waived the last three months.

 Hodges said he would not appeal, but is glad to have sent a message. "I want those involved in law enforcement to clearly understand that if they are involved in criminal activity, they will be prosecuted vigorously."

 Woody Hart still must serve 93 months on probation. Hart was also fined 15 thousand dollars in the plea agreement.

posted at 4:28 PM by jimw@walb.com

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