Ga. sheriff behind school drug search interfered in son’s drug arrest, DA says

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 GBI investigation into his son’s recent drug arrest.

In April, Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby drew ire from scores 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.”

Follow reporter Brad Schrade on Twitter @bradschrade or email him at brad.schrade@ajc.com.

Reader Comments 0

3 comments
Kathy
Kathy

Lots of sadness for the parents torn between a child and their employment. Obviously, a supervisor needs to step in and handle this situation before it escalates any further.

gemmy19
gemmy19

No one is sad when it's someone else's kid. He is not beyond the law just because his daddy is the sheriff.

c130a
c130a

@gemmy19  -  Unfortunately, nobody who wears a badge seems to think that the Law applies to them.  This "sheriff" and his team of goons called "deputies" violated the constitutional rights of those students as well as committing acts, under the guise of law enforcement, that appear to rise to the level of child molestation.  Fire them all, try them all, and put them all in prison to remove the stain of dishonor on Worth County, Georgia.