Macon attorney arrested on drug distribution charges
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: Aug. 17, 2015 | REPUBLISHED by LIT: Dec. 22, 2020
No Jail Time for this Outstanding Lawyer Either
A Macon attorney indicted on federal drug distribution charges was released on a $15,000 unsecured bond Monday afternoon.
The Aug. 11 indictment was unsealed Monday, charging 35-year-old Holly Hogue Edwards with three counts of distribution of oxycodone, a prescription pain medication, and on one count of distribution of oxycodone and methamphetamine.
Edwards, a criminal defense attorney, is accused of selling drugs to undercover agents, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Authorities pulled Edwards over in a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Houston County about 8:30 a.m. Monday to serve an arrest warrant charging her in the case, according to the sheriff’s office.
An investigation began in early May after deputies learned Edwards might be “conducting illegal activities in Monroe County,” said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Allison Selman-Willis.
The probe revealed her involvement in the “use and distribution of illegal drugs,” according to the release.
The alleged incidents occurred in May and June, according to the indictment.
The sheriff’s office, federal Drug Enforcement Administration and GBI have worked the case.
Edwards, a lawyer admitted to practice in Georgia since 2005, was led into a courtroom at the federal courthouse Monday afternoon in downtown Macon for a first appearance hearing.
Dressed in a light blue patterned skirt suit with teal high heels, she wore handcuffs chained to her waist.
She appeared to have been crying.
Standing with a federal public defender at her side, Edwards nodded as a judge described her rights.
Magistrate Charles Weigle said his decision to appoint a public defender to represent Edwards was “a bit of a close call.”
He told Edwards the government can seek reimbursement for attorneys fees if it’s found that she has money to pay them.
Edwards pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Her lawyer, Jared Westbroek, argued in favor of his client being granted pretrial release, saying she isn’t a flight risk and has close ties to the community.
Weigle ordered set Edwards’ unsecured bond at $15,000 and restricted her travel to within Georgia unless she’s granted approval by the federal probation office. Probation officers supervise defendants in federal cases while they’re out on bond awaiting trial.
Edwards was released soon after the brief hearing. Westbroek declined comment.
Pamela W. Lightsey, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Joe Wooten, special agent in charge of the GBI Milledgeville office, declined to release additional information about the case. A DEA representative could not be reached for comment.
According to Edwards’ law practice website, she opened her Macon law office in 2009. She recently was the attorney representing Melissa D. Zediker, a former employee of OrthoGeorgia who has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing nearly $100,000 from the clinic.
Georgia Bar Association online records don’t reflect any prior discipline issued against Edwards.
Bill Smith, ethics counsel for the Bar Association, said he couldn’t comment on Edwards’ case.
Speaking in general, he said an arrest doesn’t have an impact on a lawyer’s ability to practice law unless there’s an allegation other bar rules have been violated.
If a lawyer is convicted of a felony, the bar association asks the state Supreme Court to suspend the lawyer from practice until his or her appellate rights have expired. Smith said.
After that period, the bar typically asks the Supreme Court to disbar the attorney, he said.
Prior to opening her own law practice, Edwards worked as an assistant public defender for Houston County and as an associate attorney for Hogue & Hogue in Macon. She is a graduate of the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University.
Macon attorney Franklin J. Hogue said Edwards, his former daughter-in-law, was fired in August 2009 from the law firm he and his wife, Laura Hogue, operate. He said the termination was based on “an inability to work together.”
Reforming the system will be difficult and face resistance from many fronts. Moreover, activists will likely run into an even greater, institutional hurdle: The judges.
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) December 22, 2020
Macon Attorney Sentenced For Narcotics Distribution
G.F. Peterman, III, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announces that Holly Hogue Edwards, age 36, a former attorney from Macon, Georgia, was sentenced today to serve three years on probation and pay a $1000 fine for distribution of oxycodone and methamphetamine. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Marc T. Treadwell, United States District Judge, in Macon.
Ms. Edwards pled guilty to the charges on April 20, 2016.
In her plea agreement, she admitted that on June 4, 2015, after being introduced to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation undercover agent through a confidential informant, she made arrangements to sell the undercover agent ten (10) tablets of oxycodone and an “eight ball” (three and a half grams) of methamphetamine.
Ms. Edwards met the undercover agent in the parking lot of fast food restaurant and provided the undercover agent with a sample of methamphetamine to try, explaining it was from a different source of supply from the source she typically uses.
The agent then provided Ms. Edwards with $500 of official funds for the “eight ball” of methamphetamine and the ten (10) oxycodone tablets.
Ms. Edwards left to meet with her source of supply.
Agents observed Ms. Edwards travel to a nearby gas station and meet with her source of supply.
Ms. Edwards then returned and handed the undercover agent the ten (10) oxycodone tablets, stating that she did not get the “eight ball” of methamphetamine but would get it to him later in the day.
In addition to the sentence imposed by the court, Ms. Edwards surrendered her license to practice law last month based on the charges for which she appeared this morning.
In accepting the surrender of Ms. Edwards’ license, the Supreme Court of Georgia stated that such action was “tantamount to disbarment.”
Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented,
“Drug trafficking often leads to morally debased actions of those involved, which was the case in this investigation. This attorney was licensed to practice law, but this does not mean that she was above the law. This investigation would have not been possible without the collaborative efforts between our local, state and federal law enforcement counterparts.”
This case was investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Beth Howard handled the prosecution for the Government.
Questions concerning this case should be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603.