The longtime prosecutor of municipal cases in Camden was charged Thursday with misconduct in office for allegations that he illegally dismissed or dropped criminal cases.
SLED filed the charge against Charles V.B. Cushman, who turned 59 this week, and has been city attorney for the Kershaw County town since 1987. Camden City Council put Cushman on unpaid leave Thursday night after he requested that action by council, town spokeswoman Ashley Hunter said.
Cushman traded prosecuting some cases for seven years from Jan. 1, 2005, through Dec. 31, 2011 in exchange for donations to the city police departments drug fund, the warrant states. Camden Police Chief Joe Floyd said that fund has an average monthly balance of about $20,000. The money is used to combat drugs in the town of about 7,100 residents.
State Law Enforcement Division agents would not say how many cases are in question, but the warrant states that agents have financial records, other documents and statements to corroborate the change.
No one with knowledge of the case would say Thursday what Cushmans motive might have been. He will remain on unpaid leave from his $50,000 a year position until the case is completed, Hunter said.
Cushman turned himself in at the Kershaw County jail Thursday and was released on his word that he would show up for court. If he does not, he faces as much as a $10,000 penalty.
Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson, whose office requested the investigation Nov. 23, would not discuss any aspect of the case, citing the code of professional conduct for lawyers. His office might provide details when a hearing is held, possibly as soon as this week, Johnson said.
Neither Camden town manager Kevin Bronson nor Mayor Jeffrey Graham would take questions from The State newspaper.
Floyd said SLED agents showed up at police headquarters Dec. 16 and asked for drug fund records. They also met with the towns clerk of court for copies of Camden police cases in which defendants requested jury trials.
Those are the only cases he managed in our court those that are jury trials, the police chief said of Cushman. Floyd estimates that about 22 of the average 2,200 cases his officers make per year are jury trials and are handled by the city prosecutor. Police officers prosecute the rest.
SLED and Solicitor Johnson said the investigation is not complete. But Camden officials said in their statement, No additional city employees have been implicated in this matter nor are any expected to be.
Staff writer R. Darren Price contributed to this article. Reach LeBlanc at (803) 771-8664.