Rutherford sheriff suspended without pay

A judge suspended jailed sheriff Robert Arnold without pay Monday pending outcome of a lawsuit seeking his removal from office and while he is awaiting a February trial on criminal charges, reports the Daily News Journal.

“The court shall set a hearing shortly to adopt a scheduling order to expeditiously resolve this ouster proceeding,” Davidson County Chancellor Bill Young said in his ruling. “Accordingly, the court finds good cause to hereby immediately suspend Sheriff Arnold from performing any duties of his office.”

Arnold’s salary as the Rutherford County sheriff is $127,078.

In addition to the civil ouster suit, Arnold, his uncle John Vanderveer and Joe Russell, a Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office accounting chief, also face a 14-count federal indictment accusing them of illegally profiting from the inmates the sheriff oversees at the jail in Murfreesboro through the sale of JailCigs, an electronic cigarettes business. The three await a jury trial scheduled to begin Feb. 7 in Nashville before U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp.

Unlike Russell and Vanderveer, Arnold lost his pretrial release arrangement Sept. 28 when U.S. Magistrate Judge Alistair Newbern revoked the sheriff’s $250,000 bond. Newbern, after a six-hour hearing, ruled that Arnold violated his release conditions and found probable cause that the sheriff had committed domestic assault, witness tampering and intimidation of his wife pertaining to a Labor Day altercation at the couple’s Murfreesboro home.

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