- Associated Press - Thursday, November 3, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Former Georgia Senate Majority Leader Charles Walker is completely free of the criminal justice system that had him imprisoned and under its supervision for the past decade.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr., in an order Monday, granted Walker’s request to be released early from the federal form of probation called supervised release.

The Augusta Chronicle (https://bit.ly/2fd0C56) reports Walker was once the third most powerful politician in Georgia after nearly two decades in state politics. He lost his Senate seat in 2000 but regained it in 2004 while under indictment.

Walker was accused of misusing campaign funds; inflating the circulation of his newspaper, The Augusta Focus, to defraud advertisers; and stealing from the CSRA Classic, the annual charity college football game he co-founded.

Walker was convicted of 127 counts in 2005, and sentenced to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $150,000 fine, $698,047 in restitution and a special assessment of $127,000.

Walker served 96 months in prison and the rest of his term in a halfway house and on home confinement, Bowen noted. He’s also paid all that he owed.

“Another year of supervised release is unlikely to provide any significant additional protection to the public from further crime, but it would most certainly and unnecessarily expend resources of the judiciary,” Bowen wrote of his decision to allow Walker early release.

The judicial reasons to impose supervised release are to protect the public and provide sufficient time for the defendant to reintegrate himself into the community, Bowen wrote.

Given his full compliance with the terms of his sentence and Walker’s resources, another year of supervised release isn’t necessary for his successful return to the community, he said.

The federal prosecutor objected to the early release based on the nature of the crimes.

Bowen wrote that while the crimes were extensive and characterized by manipulation and disingenuousness, Walker served a sentence that was already above the sentencing range of the federal guideline.

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Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , https://www.augustachronicle.com

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