Smyrna won’t revisit old court cases after breach in security
by Noreen Cochran
January 05, 2013 12:15 AM | 5946 views | 10 10 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — Cobb County officials do not foresee a need to revisit past court cases after details emerged of a breach in security at the Smyrna Police Department.

Smyrna police officer Cpl. Cleveland McDuffie resigned Dec. 21 after an internal affairs investigation of a Nov. 16 incident in which missing police files were recovered.

“It was discovered that these files weren’t handled properly,” Smyrna Police Department spokesman Officer Mike Smith said. “In fact, they were discovered in Polk County.”

According to Smith, 133 separate Georgia Crime Information Center printouts and 126 separate items of evidence and other property from cases spanning a 10-year period were taken off premises by McDuffie without authorization.

Smith said the security breach is isolated.

“The department has policies and procedures in place that officers are supposed to adhere to,” he said. “Clearly, Cpl. McDuffie’s actions did not follow that. It goes against everything we as the police department do. It’s not how we’re supposed to handle evidence.”

The mishandling will not cost taxpayers money for retrials, according to Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds’ office.

“They notified the district attorney’s office, and the D.A.’s office determined it did not affect its old cases,” said Reynolds’ spokeswoman, Kim Isaza.

According to a memo from Lt. Norman R. Johnson of the Smyrna Police Department’s Internal Affairs department to Police Chief Stanley E. Hook, dated Dec. 17, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans addressed the issue in an email Dec. 6.

“Evans noted that they were satisfied with their investigation into the prosecution of the cases made by McDuffie that were associated with the evidence (Detective Ron) Eaton had identified,” Johnson wrote. “Evans wrote that those cases were completed appropriately and did not warrant any criminal charges being brought against McDuffie.”

Johnson reported the materials ended up in Rockmart in Polk County because an employee and former associate of McDuffie was supposed to burn them, but moved out of her home without doing so.

“The files were found in an outbuilding on property that was formerly owned by Jessica Goggins, a former records clerk for Smyrna PD CID,” Johnson wrote. “(McDuffie) told me that Goggins had a home cleaning business, and he hired her to clean his garage around the summer of 2011.”

In the garage were boxes containing duplicates of files McDuffie had worked on and brought home in 2009 because of renovations at the criminal investigation division where McDuffie worked, Johnson wrote.

“He said that he took the items home because there was nowhere for him to store them at work while the carpet was being replaced,” Johnson wrote. “To his knowledge, all the cases had been adjudicated or otherwise completed.”

Goggins said, according to Johnson, she had a “burn bin” at her house at 841 College St., and she and McDuffie set a price for the disposal.

“McDuffie noted that he looked through the boxes to see if any evidence, etc. was inside,” Johnson wrote. “He didn’t find any.”

However, a knife from a domestic violence case and a piece of carpet from a sex crimes case were found in the boxes, which McDuffie said were there because of an “oversight,” and he “just forgot” to return them to the police property room, according to Johnson.

Efforts to locate McDuffie and Goggins for comment by press time were unsuccessful.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
boy oh boy
January 07, 2013
There sure seems to be a lack of honesty in Smyrna, on all levels.

The result is what we see- no businesses, declining home values, more rentals and a bleak future.
makes you wonder
January 07, 2013
This breach of security made the news. How many others didn't? And where are McDuffie & Goggins? Who can have confidence in the SPD?
Ga.-#1 corrupt state
January 06, 2013
Police files & evidence taken off city premises, found in a garage, in a different county, slated for a 'burn bin'??

And this is not opening up an FBI investigation of CITY WIDE corruption & coverup?

We all need to contact the new Cobb D.A., Vic Reynolds & inquire why his office isn't launching a wider scale investigation of the city of Smyrna & the Smyrna police department.

Just how many other 'BURN' piles have there been over the past 26 years?

I think the whole city needs a thorough lookin' over & cleaning!!
Saturdays Child
January 06, 2013
Dirty City: If I was as miserable with a city as you are, my house value and all else would be danged and I would move. Why anyone would want to keep living in what one perceives to be a H-hole is beyond me. For myself, my own mental health and happiness far outreaches living a miserable life anywhere--whether it be in Smyrna, Roswell, or anywhere on this earth. My happiness is important to me. Being miserable is an indication that I need to seek to live somewhere else. Please go. Something tells me whatever city you choose to live in would be a "dirty city" because the problem does not lie in the city--it lies within yourself. Please quit slamming Smyrna as if it is the plant red h-hole. There are many, many, many happy satisfied citizens living in Smyrna. It is becoming quite "tired" and repetitive (over and over and over smears on Smyrna--over and over and over) and the only solution is for you to move to one of your la-la lands of perfection.
Cobb Countian
January 05, 2013
Interesting. Kim Isaza went from MDJ reporter to Reynolds spokeswoman.

"...did not warrant any criminal charges being brought against McDuffie." What? Only in Smyrna. 259 printouts and items of evidence can be found in Polk Co. and all the officer has to do is resign.

And it looks like Smyrna's new Police Chief will come from Marietta PD. Oh great. Keep the corruption in the county.
dirty city
January 05, 2013
Not only is Smyrna a dishonest city, it's a dirty city. Chief Hook getting out just in time, huh?

This should certainly alarm the citizens & stir the FBI.

Exactly how bad are Smyrna's citizens gonna allow this city to get, before they march on city hall?

Roswell Mayor Jere Wood looked very gracious & humble as the announcement of the GM Tech Center(national headquarters), bringing high paying jobs to Roswell.It's THAT type of vision & leadership, that makes ALL of Roswell a great place to live. A blend of respect for the environment & an understanding what drives the economy.

Mayor Bacon has a grasp on neither!!

Go take a look at conditions surrounding the city owned Hickory Lakes & Belmont Hills.

Smyrna,... do you REALLY only want to be known for smoke shops , fried food and run down conditions?

Saturdays Child
January 05, 2013
Take off your rose-colored glasses. Roswell has its pockets of bad conditions, run-down stores, apartments, and houses, smoke shops, and plenty of fried food. So does any other city in the country. No city is the Garden of Eden. The conditions look just fine to me around Hickory Lake and Belmont Hills. It just looks like an older part of a great town.
Fed Up
January 06, 2013
Hint: Drive though the town square of Roswell. Take a right. Look at the conditions and the apartments and strip malls surrounding the city owned by I don't know who. Go on the highway--fast food, smoke shops, we buy gold, in Roswell. Conditions there pale to conditions in Smyrna. Just move. Just move. Just move. And to the beat of Slim Shady -- J U S T S H U T U P -- making EVERYTHING about your hatred of Smyrna. There is a way out for you -- MOVE.
I Hate Hypocrites
January 06, 2013
ALL of Roswell is a great place to live???? Go down Alpharetta Highway in Roswell, look at the apartments behind Value Village just off the square, and tell me this is a great place to live. Please move there then and finally shut up about Smyrna once and for all.
January 26, 2013
You really need to just move already. You have sued the city and won approximately 80k or more, but yet you continue to live here. You sound like an idiot and hypocrite. With all the money you received how about you return some of it to the city. I don't see you building parks or donating to a decent cause. Please please just leave Cobb county already.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides