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Sheriff's employee faces possible indictment

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

An employee of the Clayton County Sheriff's Office is facing possible indictment for allegedly violating a state statute that forbids individuals from recording others without their consent, the county's top prosecutor has confirmed.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said her office is preparing to seek an indictment of Sgt. Alicia Parkes, next week, in a case that may involve an alleged invasion of someone's privacy. Lawson said it is her "understanding" that Parkes is the Sheriff's Office's public information officer.

"She's on the grand jury calendar for next Wednesday," Lawson said. "That charge that has been sent for members of the grand jury to consider is a violation of the state law that deals with eavesdropping, surveillance and wiretapping."

Lawson said she could not comment on the specifics of why she is seeking an indictment against Parkes, other than to say that she allegedly violated Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 16-11-62. That section is part of the chapter on "Offenses against Public Order and Safety," and the article concerning "invasions of privacy," according to an online copy of the code, provided on the Georgia General Assembly's web site.

The code section in question states that it is unlawful to "overhear, transmit, or record or attempt to overhear, transmit or record the private conversation of another which shall originate in any private place." The code also forbids someone from observing, photographing or recording the activities "of another person which occur in any private place and out of public view," without the individual's consent.

Another area of the code section states it is unlawful to record any person "incarcerated in any jail, correctional institution, or any other facility in which persons who are charged with, or who have been convicted of the commission of a crime, are incarcerated" while the individual is discussing his, or her, case with his, or her, attorney.

Lawson said that although public safety officers are allowed to confront their accusers during presentments to a grand jury, that will not apply in Parkes' case.

"They have to have been in the performance of their duties to be able to face their accuser before the grand jury, and we contend she was not," the district attorney said.

Parkes and Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough could not be reached for comment Thursday.