SC City Attorney Accused of Illegally Dropping, Dismissing Cases
Posted Sep 21, 2012 11:55 AM CST
By Mark Hansen
A South Carolina city attorney has been charged with misconduct in office for allegedly dropping or dismissing criminal cases in exchange for donations to the city police department's drug fund.
Charles V.B. Cushman, 59, the city attorney in Camden, S.C., turned himself in at the Kershaw County jail Thursday and was released on a personal recognizance bond, the State reports. Cushman has also been placed on unpaid leave from his $50,000-a-year city job.
Cushman is accused of trading prosecutions in some cases over a seven-year period in exchange for donations to the drug fund, according to a warrant filed against him by state law enforcement division agents. Agents wouldn't say how many cases are involved, but the warrant says agents have financial records, documents and statements to corroborate the charges.
The police department's drug fund has an average monthy balance of about $20,000, Police Chief Joe Floyd said. The money is used to combat drugs in Camden.
Floyd said state law enforcement agents showed up at police headquarters last December and asked for drug fund records. They also asked the town's clerk of court for copies of Camden police cases in which defendants requested jury trials.
Those cases, which number about 22 a year, are the only ones prosecuted by Cushman, Floyd said.
Prosecutors refused to discuss the charges. Neither Camden Town Manager Kevin Bronson nor Mayor Jeffrey Graham would take questions from the newspaper.