Georgia Criminal Defense Blog

Gwinnett County Officer Indicted on Federal Charges

Posted by Richard Lawson | Oct 01, 2019 | 0 Comments

A former Gwinnett County police officer has been indicted on federal charges for an incident that occurred in 2017.

Reports show that the officer has been accused of allegedly stealing large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine during a drug raid. The officer was in charge of transporting the drugs to the evidence room, but there was a large discrepancy in the amount seized and the amount actually logged in and recorded.

According to U.S. Attorney, BJay Pak, “His actions betrayed the community he was sworn to protect.”

As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline only one of the offenses that the ex-officer is facing in today's post. There are several different serious Drug Offenses in Georgia that are now being brought by the federal government in violation of federal law. However, one of the offenses he is most likely facing in the state of Georgia is violation of oath by officer.

Violation of Oath by Officer in Georgia

Violation of Oath by Officer in Georgia happens when a public officer - either appointed or elected - violates his or her oath that is exclusive to the position.

For instance, the oath that Sheriffs are required to take is:

I do swear that I will faithfully execute all writs, warrants, precepts, and processes directed to me as sheriff of this county, or which are directed to all sheriffs of this state, or to any other sheriff specially, which I can lawfully execute, and true returns make, and in all things well and truly, without malice or partiality, perform the duties of the office of sheriff of _____ County, during my continuance therein, and take only my lawful fees. So help me God.

The offense of violation of oath by officer is laid out by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. § 16-10-1 as:

Any public officer who willfully and intentionally violates the terms of his oath as prescribed by law shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.

In order to convict an officer of violating his oath of office, the State must prove that the defendant was actually administered an oath, that the oath was prescribed by law, and that the officer violated the terms of that oath. Oaths can be violated even while the officer is off duty. The issue is not whether the officer was on duty at the time the prohibited action occurred, but whether there was some connection between the offense and the public officer's official duties.

Violation of oath If a public officer is convicted of violating the oath in Georgia, the punishment will be a prison term between one and five years.

Practice Note

As exemplified in the story above, everyone is capable of committing crimes or of being accused of committing crimes. No one is immune. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact our offices today.

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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