Warrant issued for DeKalb County commissioner [Update: guess who got off?]

DeKalb County Police, during an automobile accident investigation on LaVista Road Wesnesday night involving DeKalb County Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, learned that she has four outstanding warrants for writing bad checks in Gwinnett County from January, 2008. Interestingly, after learning that the warrants were active, DeKalb’s finest did not arrest her.

The four warrants all appear to involve bad checks written at a Costco in Duluth.

Court records show Sutton also had previous problems with bad checks. In 1996, she pleaded no contest in Gwinnett to writing bad checks to West Building Supply in Stone Mountain.

Sutton, who represents District 4, did not immediately return phone calls left at her office nor an email. She also did not show up at a commissioner’s meeting on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the county said she could not comment for the commissioner.

As of 4 p.m. today, her name does not appear on booking records at the Gwinnett County Jail. Nor has her image appeared here.

[UPDATE @ 7:00 p.m.] Well, it appears that membership has its privileges. The warrants have been dismissed after the debt was paid.

Sutton said she paid Costco the outstanding money late Thursday and her attorney had the warrants dropped.

“We paid them all the money that is due,” Sutton said. “This is just very unfortunate and embarrassing. This is a reminder that we all need to pay very close attention to your banking transactions because this could happen to anyone.”

This isn’t a unfortunate situation. This is a situation that she knew had developed long ago (See O.C.G.A. 16-9-20 (a)). Would you like to guess often warrants like this are dismissed at the Magistrate level? ‘Rarely’ is the operative word.

20 comments

  1. polisavvy says:

    I just saw on the news that she is alleging possible identity fraud. If it had just been an “ordinary” citizen instead of an elected official, more than likely the ordinary citizen would have already been carted off to jail.

    • ByteMe says:

      Having been the victim of identity fraud in the past, I can tell you two things with certainty:

      1) It’s possible it’s really a case of identity fraud.

      2) If it was a case of fraud, she could easily have handled this before the point where the court has outstanding warrants dating back 2 years. You just have to: prove it wasn’t your bank account (which should be easy to do, because the checking account would have needed a signature on file), swear out an affidavit to that effect (you don’t even need a lawyer for this part), and promise to help prosecute.

  2. UGAalum says:

    Jail her now.

    It’s just like tax-cheat Geithner, we don’t need folks who can’t obey the laws themselves governing us, especially laws involving money.

    “But it be fraud” she stated in her own defense.

    Right.

  3. Republican Lady says:

    The fact she paid them off make me think she knew about them in advance. I have a family member who was a victim of Identity Fraud in 1992 before this crime was widely known. He started getting letters within six weeks of bounced checks and took aggressive action to clear his name. The process back then was harder than now.

    While I would love to give her the benefit of the doubt, the article said the warrants were two years old and she has a history of writing bad checks, which she pays when pressure is applied. If she is this careless with her own money, then she is a threat to the taxpayers, who would have probably been arrested. She needs to be voted out, so Dekalb, make your votes count.

  4. Unbelievable. Pete writes a post calling out a black politician, complete with the usual photo and everything… and this time I actually agree with him.

    I’m okay giving the benefit of the doubt on an identity fraud story. I was an identity fraud victim myself about ten years ago, and was lucky that the bank figured it out before any real damage was done. However, the plain fact is that if such damage HAD been done, and I were in the exact same situation as this… the police would have arrested me pursuant to the warrant and sorted it out after the fact. They let her go instead because she has political power. That is simply wrong, plain and simple.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      If not her influence, then what does it say about the DeKalb Police and judicial system. I await an explantion from the new DeKalb public safety director, a position created by CEO Ellis.

  5. Trackboy1 says:

    Not only is she on the budget committee for the county commission, she teaches business, yes business, for the DeKalb County School System. When she won her seat on the commission, she was teaching business classes at MLK High School before she got elected (they say she spent most of her class time with students sitting on her phone dealing with her campaign). She was then conveniently transferred to teaching for the DeKalb Online Academy.

    How did her opponents in the election not pick up on this stuff?

    -“The charges stemmed from 2007 when Sutton wrote four bad checks — each for $300 to $400 — to Costco in Gwinnett”
    -“Court records show Sutton also had previous problems with bad checks. In 1996, she pleaded no contest in Gwinnett to writing bad checks to West Building Supply in Stone Mountain.”
    -““DeKalb court records show she also has had her wages as a DeKalb school teacher garnished for an outstanding debt to a car financing company.”

    DeKalb police officers are also fired up about it:
    http://dekalbofficersspeak.blogspot.com/2010/01/judge-dismisses-arrest-warrants-against.html

  6. Republican Lady says:

    I read what the above officers have written regarding this incident and I have to post my two cents. The GBI or the FBI needs to do an investigation to determine if Sharon Barnes Sutton has embezzled any county funds. Seriously, if she can write bad checks and get the warrants dropped, she could steal taxpayers dollars and feel she is above prosecution.

    As for Lt. Whittington and the higher ups, if you are too scared to do your jobs by arresting politicans, then you are not fit to lead. If you don’t mind corrupt officials and find a way not to arrest them then you are telling them, “trample on our rights and Consitutional freedoms because we will look away as you do so.” How do you expect the rank and file to respect you when you don’t respect what you were hired to stand for?

    The Oath of Office does not have a line in fine print that says, “Uphold the Constitution unless the perp is a politican.” If she gets mad and tries to interfere with the police budget, then file an ethics charge against her or a civil rights violation with the FBI if the officer is victimized by the department, and point the misbehavior out to the voters. Not arresting her shows the citizens that there are two levels of law enforcement, one for regular citizens and one for politicians. Doing it the way Dekalb did lost them confidence in their ability to be fair with the general public.

    The leadership dropped the ball in this case and they need to be investigated for violation of Oath of Office. Lt. Whittington and the higher ups, shame on you!

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