No Jail Time for Ex-Sheriff

Chesterfield Co. Sheriff Sam Parker arraigned on charges of misconduct in office


By Monique Williams

Columbia, S. C (WOLO) -- Tables are turned in a Richland County courtroom, as an ex-top cop appears in bond court to answer to criminal charges.

Former Chesterfield Co. Sheriff Sam Parker was arraigned Friday on charges of misconduct in office. Judge Casey Manning orderd a $150,000 personal recognizance bond. When the court sets a personal recognizance bond, the defendant is released after making a promise to return to court when required.

The former top cop of chesterfield county appeared in bond court today on charges he abused his power as sheriff. As family members consoled each other in court, Judge Casey Manning heard charges laid out by the South Carolina Attorney General's Office.

A 19-page indictment alleges Parker allowed Department of Corrections inmates to live outside jail, go shopping, dine in public restaurants, wear civilian clothing in exchange for performing work on the sheriff's house and personal property as well as assisting with special events and performing work with the sheriff's department.

"It's not that we're targeting anybody," said Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Heather Savitz Weiss. "People are making their own choices and we take the evidence as it's brought to us."

"We are adamant Sam Parker never knowingly, or willfully committed a crime," said defense attorney, Jonathan Gasser. "That's our position now and it will continue to be our position."

The former sheriff is prohibited from contacting anyone in Chesterfield County government, including employees with the the sheriff's department. He's also prohibited from leaving the state of South Carolina. However, since Chesterfield is a border county, he is allowed to travel to three neighboring counties in North Carolina.

Another condition of Sam Parker's bond is his wife is allowed to have one shot gun at their residence, authorities say, for protection, as this is a highly publicized case. Suspects are traditionally prohibited from possessing firearms, but the judge made an exception in this case.

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