Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard said she will dismiss four cases after a review in which former Oakwood Police Assistant Chief Tal Parden would have likely been called as a witness.
Parden resigned April 26 following an investigation into him showing a nude picture to another city employee. He maintained throughout the investigation that he did not lie nor harass the other employee, saying he also received photos from the employee in lingerie via Snapchat.
Woodard said Thursday, May 19, her office reviewed nine pending cases in which Parden would have likely been called. After the review, four cases will be dismissed.
The cases include two disorderly conduct cases, one DUI and one loitering/prowling.
The review looked at the offense charged, if there were other law enforcement officers who could testify and the totality of the circumstances.
The other cases moving forward include DUIs in which there are other officers or evidence and family violence cases in which Parden was backup, Woodard said.
Woodard said she would likely draft the formal dismissal paperwork this week
When an officer leaves law enforcement of their own accord or because of alleged misconduct, Woodard said she evaluates “what’s in the most interest of justice” as well as “what protection there needs to be for the community.”
“Oftentimes, we still call the officer unless there is something that is so damaging to credibility I don’t feel like we can put the officer up at all,” Woodard said.
The officer in question might have to then answer for their alleged misconduct and explain that on the stand.
“It is not an automatic preclusion from testifying,” Woodard said. “I’m not 100% sure that we won’t call (Capt.) Parden at all, but it is my intention to predominantly operate as if he would not be a witness in the case.”
Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said Parden was listed as a witness in nine open Superior Court cases. In one case he was the lead officer, Darragh said.
The district attorney said most of these cases are drug cases, where lab results have taken time to come back due to backlogs at the crime lab. One case involved a burglary.
Darragh said he will evaluate on a case-by-case basis but said he didn’t see any where the prosecution wouldn’t be able to work around it.
“Frankly, his loss to law enforcement will not have a dramatic effect on anything,” Darragh wrote in an email, adding that Parden mostly signed off on reports as a supervisor in these cases.
The Times reached out to Parden via email, but that request was not returned.