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Granted, we are all innocent until proven guilty, but...


SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Federal prosecutors said that Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Marcus Kitchens and another man have been arrested and charged with federal drug crimes.

Investigators said that Kitchens stole drugs from the Spartanburg County Courthouse's evidence room. They said that Kitchens then asked Terry Lanford, of Spartanburg County, to find a buyer for the stolen drugs. They said that Lanford found a buyer in Florida and sold him the stolen drugs in August.

More below.

"Stealing and selling the very drugs that dedicated law enforcement officers had earlier removed from the streets is a very disturbing allegation and a very serious charge," said acting U.S. Attorney Kevin McDonald.

"No one is more shocked about this than I am," said Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright. He said that his agency has a hard stance on drug dealers, no matter who they are.

Now, you might wonder why I linked a FOX news article.

Oh, it's to make a point.

Notice how there is no partisan affiliation given for the Clerk of Court.

But don't you worry. Mr. Kitchens was up for election in 2008.

Spartanburg County Races

Spartanburg County Clerk of Court: Mark Kitchens (Republican, uncontested)
Sheriff: Chuck Wright (Republican, uncontested)
Spartanburg County Coroner: Rusty Clevenger (Republican), Paula "Punky" Brewster (Democratic)
Spartanburg County Council District 1: Donna Hicks (Republican), Michael Brown (Democratic)
Spartanburg County Council District 3: David Britt (Republican, uncontested)
Spartanburg County Council District 4: Jane Hall (Republican, uncontested)
Soil & Water District Commissioner: Non Partisan — Bryan E. Johnson
Mayor – Woodruff: Non Partisan — Paul V. Bell, W. Brad Burnett, Marty Smith
Woodruff City Council, Ward 1: Non Partisan — T C Teresa Brooks, Mattie Norman
Woodruff City Council, Ward 3: Non Partisan — William E. "Buddy" Arnold, Patty Kiser Hill
Woodruff City Council, Ward 5: Non Partisan — Jennifer Calderon, Tony L. Kennedy, Suni D. McMath
Thicketty Creek Watershed Commissioner: Non Partisan — Earby Cash, Jack E. McAbee, Robert J. Perrine
Sanitary Sewer Commissioners: No candidates
Woodruff/Roebuck Water Commissioners: Non Partisan — Gary P. Kirkland, Niles R. Brown, Jr.
Cherokee Springs Fire District Commissioners: Non Partisan (5 postions) — Jack Davis, Robbie Easler, Jon Garner, Thomas "Tommy" Jackson, Heidi Faber Kerns, Herman Ledbetter, George D. O’Bryant, Dwight M. Easler, Sr.
Hilltop Springs Fire District: Non Partisan (2 positions) — M. Todd Brady, Paige Jordan, Joe Pack

You may notice the rather high frequency of uncontested GOP candidates in this county. Something to contemplate in another diary.

Well, as it turns out Mr. Kitchens was in the news just a few days ago for something else entirely

...[D]eputies say [accused identity thief Loretta] Rodgers didn’t need much, just Jackson and other victim’s names and social security numbers.  They say she would take that information to the local DMV, and use it to get identification cards.  Each time, her appearance changed.  Investigators believe the suspect then used the ID cards to open checking accounts, and pass bad checks at businesses all over town.  "That was the first thing i asked my detective," says Rodgers.  "How did she get my information?"
   Believe it or not, the answer lies at the Spartanburg Clerk of Courts office, where even clerk Mark Kitchens is shaking his head.  "Your hands are tied," says Kitchens.  He says even he doesn’t have the authority to stop the suspect from walking in and getting that private information.  According to the clerk, it’s public record, and by law, open to anyone at any time."  "It’s frustrating because the majority of people I hope come in here to use this for legitimate purposes in why they’re obtaining these records," says Kitchens.  "But how do I know if it’s legitimate or not?  Only they know."

One suspects Mr. Kitchens is shaking his head for another reason entirely now.

Oh, just when you think it can't get any more interesting. A bomb went off in a pickup truck in Spartanburg just about an hour ago

You just gotta love them Southern towns. :)

Originally posted to cskendrick on Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 01:08 PM PST.

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