Chip Harding: Sheriff made hash of case against Hash

The Albemarle County sheriff has uncovered a scandal that's rocking the state, a questionable capital murder conviction in Culpeper. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, with the assistance of the Progress, reports on the possibility that investigators in Culpeper abetted dishonesty by police and prosecutors who'd hoped to solve the mystery of who killed Thelma Scroggins in 1996. Thanks to revealing interviews facilitated by Sheriff Chip Harding, a federal judge has ordered that the convicted man, Michael Wayne Hash, needs to be freed or retried within six months.

The ruling from Roanoke-based judge James Turk– noting the "outrageous misconduct" of Culpeper law enforcement officials– came February 28 after Richmond-based law firm of Hunton & Williams provided over 2,000 hours of free legal assistance. The firm noted that alleged misdeeds including coaching witnesses, hiding exculpatory materials, and what Harding uncovered: that officials quietly orchestrated a transfer that put Hash in a Charlottesville cell block for one night with a "professional snitch."

–story updated Monday, March 5 with a little more info

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7 comments

By all accounts Chip Harding is a well respected law enforcement office that is deserving of that respect. His reputation for honesty is well known.

Chip is an awesome dude.

Is this case in Culpeper town or county? If town, I find it fascinating in light of what is occurring there these days. I hope that The Hook--which allocated resources galore to the GHV case--smells a rat in Culpeper these days and might do some bird-dogging. Despite Culpeper's proximity to Chville, it is still a big story.

R.I.P.: Flip Wilson

I have always said if the thing Albemarle County calls a police department had not been born, Chip and the Sheriff's Office would much better serve the citizens.

I was dubious about Sheriff Harding when he first came into office, mainly due to his background with the War On Drugs. However, he has earned my respect and appreciation with his words and actions during his time as Sheriff. I'm really pleased, particularly when you think of some of the law enforcement around here, that we have him. Reminds me not to judge a book by it's cover.

OMG Scroggins? For reels?