Commissioner Voted Despite Felony Conviction 4-14-2011 - WSMV Channel 4

Commissioner Voted Despite Felony Conviction 4-14-2011

Reported By Cara Kumari
CENTERVILLE, Tenn.
A Hickman County commissioner has been upfront about his criminal history stemming from making moonshine. But now he's in trouble again, not for moonshine but for continuing to vote even though he was a convicted felon.

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James Hassell isn't shy about the fact that he used to make moonshine. In fact, his story is on YouTube.
"When I was about 17 years old, I got started in the moonshine business," he says in the YouTube video.
Between that and his role as a county commissioner, he's a bit of a local celebrity.
"As far as I can tell, he's well-thought of among the people he's represented," said Centerville resident Pat Haley.
But according to court documents, his felony conviction for making moonshine stripped him of his voting rights. Yet, he voted multiple times and even ran for office.
In Hickman County, Hassell has been upfront about his past crimes -- upfront enough that people got suspicious and called the district attorney, and that's how the investigation got under way.
The district attorney said Hassell was indicted on five counts of illegal voting. His voting rights were restored last year in time for him to run and vote legally in last year's elections.
He's garnering some sympathy from Hickman County residents, who said they believe he already paid for his past crime.
Although, in this town, some say you just never know what to expect.
"Anything political doesn't surprise me," said Haley.
Hassell was arrested Wednesday and is now out of jail.
Channel 4 News was unable to reach Hassell for this story.

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