sheriffs

TN sheriff gets prison time for having sex with women jail inmates, beating male inmate

Former Fentress County Sheriff Charles S. “Chucky” Cravens was sentenced to two years, nine months in prison Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger of Nashville, reports The Tennessean.

I do take responsibility for my actions,” he told the judge, hands folded behind his Wranglers. “What I done, I done it myself.”

Continue reading

Sheriff, already under indictment, faces new flap over helping bail-bondsman wife in multi-state manhunt

Start of a Times Free Press report on Sunday:

In one epic April weekend, Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson threatened a group of inmates for talking trash about his bail-bondsman wife; embroiled more than a dozen law officers in a multistate manhunt for one of her bail skips; and pulled a gun on a motorist in Georgia, where he has no authority — all with his wife and another bondsman riding along in his official sheriff’s vehicle.

The episode lends weight to complaints from the Bradley County bail bonding community of a thumb on the scales in favor of the sheriff’s wife, Tenille Watson. It also echoes allegations of wrongdoing by Sheriff Watson forwarded last year to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

That TBI investigation resulted in Watson being indicted on six felony counts of using forged or altered vehicle titles in connection with his sideline business as a used-car dealer. Watson was booked July 21. No court date had been set in that case as of Friday. TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said Thursday the investigation is ongoing.

Meanwhile, local attorneys asked to review documents and videos related to Watson’s Easter weekend activities say he could have opened himself up to liability ranging from civil rights violations to kidnapping and aggravated assault.

The Times Free Press sent Watson a detailed list of questions Thursday morning about his activities that weekend and asked for his comment. He did not respond.

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson facing criminal charges

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, a former state legislator, has been charged with forgery and booked at the county jail he oversees. He was freed on $30,000 bail after being booked at the Bradley County Jail, according to media reports.

From the Times Free Press:

The charges — six counts of knowingly holding or using forged or falsified car titles — arise from a Times Free Press investigation published in December into Watson’s unlicensed used car sales.

The charges are Class E felonies, each punishable by one to six years in prison and fines of up to $3,000.

None of the charges brought Wednesday by the Bradley County grand jury relate to any other allegations of misconduct by Watson that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been looking into for 13 months. The special prosecutor in the case, 4th Judicial District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn, did not reply Friday when asked whether the investigation is over or if more charges are possible.

Watson, a four-term state legislator and former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, did not appear publicly after being booked.

In a statement released through his attorney, James F. Logan Jr., the sheriff said he has cooperated fully with the TBI and other agencies in the probe of what he called “accusations from some who desire to have more control over county government and the operations of the Sheriff’s Office.”

Watson said Bradley County residents and his employees can be assured the sheriff’s office will “continue to provide the best services possible to insure [sic] the safety and property of all citizens and visitors.”

…”It’s an incredibly sad event” for the sheriff to be booked into his own jail, Logan said, adding that Watson “wants justice.”

 

Note: Watson is the fourth Tennessee sheriff to face criminal charges in the past year or so. The others, now former sheriffs who were accused of misconduct while in office, were Gibson County Sheriff Chuck Arnold, Fentress County Sheriff Chucky Cravens and Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold. They have all pleaded guilty to some charges.

Also, this post updates, expands and replaces original post.

Knox County approved for enforcing fed immigration laws through 287(g) program

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has approved Knox County’s participation in the controversial 287(g) program, reports the News Sentinel.

The two bodies signed a memorandum of agreement earlier this month that dictates the Knox County Sheriff’s Office’s responsibilities in training and allowing a certain number of local deputies to be acting ICE agents. It makes Knox County the only jurisdiction in the state participating in this federal program.

The program deputizes local law enforcement officials to act on behalf of and in place of federal immigration authorities in exchange for training and funding.

Continue reading

Witness tampering added to charges in Monroe County vote buying cases

Witness tampering has been added to the list of  federal charges against Brian “Wormy” Hodge, who is accused of buying votes to help Randy White get elected Monroe County sheriff in 2014, reports the News Sentinel.

 Hodge was initially indicted in February on charges he recruited now-confessed chronic vote buyer Betty Jane Best to funnel money he supplied to voters willing to cast their ballots for White and help those voters use the absentee ballot process to do so.

Continue reading

Sheriff pleads guilty to sex with women inmates, beating man

Fentress County Sheriff Chucky Cravens has pleaded guilty to bribing female inmates for sex and beating a male prisoner, reports the Cookeville Herald-Citizen.

Cravens, 47, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday after an investigation that began barely more than a week before. The official charges were three counts of honest services fraud and one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. The charges stem back from July to as recently as March 1.

Continue reading

County pays $225K to settle another lawsuit involving ousted sheriff

Rutherford County this week paid about  $225,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Tommy Thompson, a former sheriff’s department major who was fired by former Sheriff Robert Arnold, subsequently convicted of corruption charges and ousted from office.

Further from the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal:

The government cut a $224,999.60 check to settle the case Tuesday, County Finance Director Lisa Nolen said.

Thompson joins other former sheriff’s deputies to accept settlements in wrongful termination lawsuits, including a $340,000 award about a year ago to fired Deputy Chief Virgil Gammon.

Thompson and Gammon both said they provided information to a federal grand jury that indicted Arnold on 14 counts accusing the ex-sheriff of illegally profiting off inmates through the sale electronic cigarettes from a JailCigs business, according to their lawsuits. Thompson also spoke to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his lawsuit states.

Continue reading

TBI accuses man of theft from TN National Guard and sheriff’s office

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Army National Guard Joint Force Headquarters has resulted in the arrest of a Linden man on charges of theft and official misconduct.                                                                   

At the initial request of 21st District Attorney General Kim Helper, in August 2015, TBI Special Agents began working with the Army National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in investigating then-Army National Guard Sergeant Dave Pendleton on allegations of theft. At that time, Pendleton was working with the Army National Guard, and was stationed at the National Guard Armory in Perry County.

During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that between July 2014 and August 2015, while serving as a supply sergeant, Pendleton was responsible for the theft of approximately $129,369 worth of government property, including aviation and vehicle fuel, and equipment. The investigation further revealed that while employed as a deputy with the Perry County Sheriff’s Office, Pendleton used his county-issued gas key in July and August 2015 to purchase gas that was used in his private vehicle.

Agents also learned that while employed as a deputy, Pendleton arrested an individual on May 18, 2015, and confiscated a weapon. That weapon was never entered into evidence and was last seen in Pendleton’s possession. Pendleton is no longer an employee of either the Perry County Sheriff’s Office or the Army National Guard.

On Monday, the Perry County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Pendleton (DOB 8/27/1977) with one count of Theft over $60,000 and five counts of Official Misconduct. Pendleton was arrested Tuesday and booked into the Perry County Jail on a $25,000 bond.

Deputy sheriff charged with stealing tobacco

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the indictment and arrest of a former Macon County deputy who is charged with stealing tobacco.

At the request of 15th District Attorney General Tommy Thompson, on January 23rd, TBI Special Agents began investigating a theft complaint against then-Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy Troy Griggs. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that on January 17th, Griggs transported four bales of tobacco to a warehouse in Hartsville, to be sold as his own. The following day, the rightful owner of the tobacco reported to the warehouse that the product was his. The investigation revealed that the tobacco, with a value of approximately $5,300, had been stolen by Griggs on January 16th.  Griggs is no longer employed by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday, the Macon County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Griggs (DOB 11/30/1973) with one count of Theft over $2,500. Griggs turned himself in to Agents Friday night. He was booked into the Macon County Jail and was released after posting a $2,500 bond.

Former Rutherford County sheriff’s official pleads guilty to lying about citizenship

Former Rutherford County Sheriff’s Maj. Terry McBurney has pleaded guilty to lying about being a U.S. citizen to become a licensed law officer, reports the Daily News Journal.

McBurney, an immigrant from Ireland who resigned from the Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 27, joined ex-sheriff Robert Arnold, Arnold’s uncle John Vanderveer and former sheriff’s administration chief Joe Russell in pleading guilty to felonies within the past couple of weeks.

McBurney, 47, has a sealed agreement  with the prosecution, said U.S. District Court  Chief Judge Kevin Sharp, who noted he holds final authority on sentencing.

“I’m not party to your plea agreement,” said Sharp, who scheduled the sentencing hearing to take place at 1:30 p.m. May 12 with another judge presiding after he resigns from the court  April 15.

McBurney pleaded guilty to nine counts with two related to lying and falsifying documents to continue being a law enforcement officer. The other seven charges pertained to wire fraud, so he could be paid for positions he was ineligible to hold because he was not a U.S. Citizen.

Judge Kevin Sharp asked McBurney several questions to ensure the defendant understood the agreement, and was pleading guilty and waiving the right to a jury trial.

“I am,” McBurney said before the judge repeated asking the defendant whether the former major was guilty or not guilty. “Guilty.”

Each of the nine counts includes up to a $250,000 fine, a $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release and the possibility of paying for incarceration costs if he’s able.

McBurney’s unlawful procurement of naturalization count has up to a 10-year sentence, and the charge of making false statements under oath relating to his application for U.S. citizenship has up to a five-year sentence, the judge said. Each of the other seven counts of wire fraud has up to 20-year sentences.

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.