Suspended Worth Co. sheriff arrested on at least 66 counts of eavesdropping

Suspended Worth Co. sheriff arrested on at least 66 counts of eavesdropping
Jeff Hobby (Source: Worth Co. Jail)

WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - Suspended Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby has been arrested after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation over a possible illegal recording device.

According to a GBI spokesperson, Hobby turned himself in at the Worth County Jail around 5:40 p.m. Friday.

According to the Tifton Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, on February 26, the DA's office was notified of a possible recording device in the attorney-client interview room at the Worth County Jail.

Officials with the DA's office said Hobby is facing one count of violation of oath of office, and the GBI confirmed Hobby faces 66 counts of eavesdropping and surveillance which invades the privacy of another individual.

The GBI said that the arrest warrants cover acts that happened between July 13, 2017 and February 26, 2018.

A report from the DA's office says the device was installed at the direction of Hobby.

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District Attorney Paul Bowden and Interim Sheriff Bobby Sapp took steps to ensure that no more interviews between clients and their attorneys were recorded until the system could be analyzed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit.

Currently, the GBI has an ongoing investigation into the possible illegal recording of privileged attorney-client interviews.

The DA's office is taking steps to notify all attorneys whose clients' cases may possibly be affected by the ongoing investigation.

The GBI said that Hobby will be housed at the Lowndes County Jail pending his first appearance hearing before the Worth County Magistrate Judge on Monday, March 12.

A lawsuit was filed against the Worth County Sheriff's Office after a controversial search of students at Worth County High that claimed Hobby had a "target list" with 13 students suspected of having drugs.

Attorney Mark Brimberry explained Georgia Law explicitly prohibits a person recording a conversation in which he or she is not a party to.

But it's obviously illegal to record a privileged conversation between an attorney and their client.

"That's wrong, it should not have happened. We're talking about a recording device which they know when they put it in there and they certainly turned it on they knew they were violating the law," said Brimberry.

Attorney Brimberry said any case that was discussed in that attorney-client interview room at the Worth County Jail will now be very difficult to prosecute.

Below are the official charges filed against Hobby:

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