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No charges for Chatham County coroner

The work of a coroner is not always popular or glamorous. Most of the time the complaints are linked to the way a coroner executes his duties. In the case of the Chatham County coroner, Dr. James Metts Jr., his critics questioned his operating budget. The questions that have swirled around the coroner’s spending have now come to an end due to a decision by the Georgia prosecutor.

The man has served as coroner for Chatham County since 1973. He has treated patients in his practice during the day and remained available for the police department whenever they called. A recent audit revealed over $100,000 in questionable spending by the coroner. However, after an 18 month review the case has now closed and the prosecutor has decided not to seek criminal charges against the coroner. The district attorney concluded that no laws were broken.

Though no charges were officially brought against the coroner, investigations such as this one can greatly damage the reputation of a public servant. When the initial questions began into his spending, many friends and colleagues rushed to his defense. Despite winning a re-election in 2013, the 82 year -old has since resigned from his position and paid the $141,000 that was unaccounted for after the audit.

Whether one is formally charged with a theft crime or being investigated for one, a tarnished reputation can have far reaching consequences for the accused. It is important to retain experienced legal counsel in these matters to ensure that treated fairly during an investigation or trial.

Source: San Francisco Gate, “Prosecutor won’t charge former Savannah coroner,” May 9, 2014

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