ATLANTA — A Georgia sheriff accused of violating the civil rights of hundreds of high school students when he ordered a massive school drug search is now accused of interfering with a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into his son’s recent drug arrest.
In April, Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby drew ire from scores of parents who accused him and his deputies of violating the civil rights of their children. Hobby ordered a search that resulted in his deputies locking down the Worth County High School for four hours as they searched students’ pockets, waistbands and underwear. Some students said they felt sexually violated.
A grand jury indicted the sheriff and two deputies Oct. 3 in a case involving allegations of false imprisonment, violation of oath of office and sexual battery.
The sheriff now stands accused by the local prosecutor of interfering with the criminal investigation into his teenage son, Zachary Lewis Hobby. The younger Hobby was arrested Oct. 9 and charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and criminal trespass.
The sheriff and his wife burst into an interview room at the jail where a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent was questioning their son after the arrest, according to a letter sent to Gov. Nathan Deal by Tifton Judicial Circuit District Attorney Paul Bowden.
“Sheriff Hobby and his wife, who is also an employee of the Worth County Sheriff’s Office, barged into the room ostensibly to invoke the seventeen (17) year old’s Fifth Amendment Rights for him,” according to Bowden.
Zachary Hobby had already been advised of his rights and had chosen to speak to the GBI agent, Bowden wrote. The sheriff’s intrusion into the GBI interview helped protect his son from additional questioning.
“The agent chose to cease the interview at that point since he was inside the Sheriff’s jail,” according to Bowden.
The DA also noted that following the arrest of Hobby’s son he “was housed in the Worth County jail instead of being transferred to a jail not under the supervision of his father.”
Information from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution