Rutherford commission to consider ousting indicted sheriff

Sheriff Robert Arnold could face an ouster suit in addition to his criminal charges if the Rutherford County Commission agrees next week, according to the Daily News Journal.

Commissioner Robert Stevens persuaded the six present Steering, Legislative & Governmental Committee members Monday night to unanimously vote for the full 21-member County Commission to go into private executive session during the next regular meeting with representation from the county attorney’s firm to ask if an ouster suit should be pursued.

Any ouster vote would take place in public after the executive session during a meeting that’s scheduled to start at 6 p.m. June 16 in the second-floor courtroom of the County Courthouse on the Square in Murfreesboro.

“I would be very comfortable that the full commission would consider that at the next meeting,” said Stevens, who is an attorney from Smyrna. “That’s what our constituents want.”

Arnold, along with his uncle, John Vanderveer, and Joe Russell, the sheriff’s chief over administration, faces a 14-count federal indictment accusing them of profiting from the sale of JailCigs to inmates. The three were in handcuffs May 27 when they entered the federal courtroom in Nashville of U.S. Magistrate Judge John Bryant.

…In addition to scheduling the full County Commission to go into executive session about a possible ouster suit, the committee voted 4-2 on a recommended resolution urging the sheriff to resign. Committee Chairman Trey Gooch said the full commission will vote on the resignation resolution before going into executive session about the ouster issue.

Commissioners Robert Peay and Allen McAdoo opposed voting on the recommended resolution asking Arnold to resign because they said they wanted to hear from attorneys first.

Peay noted how District Attorney Jennings Jones wants to refrain from an ouster suit at this time to prevent depositions in a civil case from interfering in the federal criminal case.