Judge: Rutherford sheriff Arnold suspended without pay - WSMV News 4

Judge: Rutherford sheriff Arnold suspended without pay

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Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold (Source: WSMV) Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold (Source: WSMV)
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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A Nashville judge ruled on Monday that Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold would be suspended without pay.

Chancellor Bill Young made the ruling on Monday after a hearing he held last week in the lawsuit filed in Rutherford County Chancery Court by 12 Rutherford County citizens. Young is hearing the case because all of the Rutherford County judges recused themselves in the lawsuit filed there.

Young wrote in the ruling that he’s suspending Arnold without pay because the judge said he can’t envision any circumstance under which the sheriff can effectively maintain a high level of trust with the public.

“Today, our citizens are able to breathe a sigh of relief and can again believe their government works for them,” said attorney Michelle Blaylock-Howser, who is representing the 12 citizens in the case, in a prepared statement. “Chancellor Young found good cause to temporarily suspend Sheriff Robert Arnold without pay.”


READ: Chancellor Bill Young's order to suspend Sheriff Arnold


Arnold’s bond was revoked by a federal magistrate in late September after an alleged domestic incident against his wife on Labor Day.

A federal judge ruled earlier this month that Arnold would remain jailed until his February 2017 trial date after a hearing was held.

With Arnold’s suspension, Rutherford County Commissioners could appoint an interim sheriff. Chief deputy Randy Garrett, Arnold’s second-in-command, is currently running the sheriff’s office.

If the commission appoints an interim sheriff, the candidate would have to meet qualifications set forth by the Rutherford County Election Commission and would need to be POST certified.

Channel 4 News spoke with Rutherford County Commissioner Brad Turner, who is also a member of the Public Safety Committee, Turner said it's important to restore morale and trust in the sheriff's department.

"These men and women put their lives on the line every day for us, and to have this type of gap in leadership, is a dangerous breach of trust, it's not productive and there is concern about morale affecting the sheriff's department," said Turner.

Another aspect of concern to commissioner Turner and other county commissioners is something that is entirely out of their hands.    

"Because if the sheriff is found innocent after his day in court, he will be restored to be sheriff of Rutherford County. We need to prepare for that as a possibility too," said Turner.

The Rutherford County Commission Steering Committee started putting the mechanism in place at a meeting last week that would allow the commission to appoint an interim sheriff. The commission meets on Thursday but is not expected to take action on an appointment at that time.

The sheriff, Joe Russell, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office’s chief financial officer, and John Vanderveer, Arnold’s uncle, were indicted on 14 counts in May.

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    Complete coverage of the indictment of Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold, former administrative chief deputy Joe Russell and Arnold's uncle John Vanderveer on corruption charges in relation to JailCigs.

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