Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Administration Chief Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Illegally Profiting Off Inmates

Convicted ex-Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office administration chief Joe Russell will be sentenced to 15 months in prison for illegally profiting off inmates through the sale of JailCigs, Judge Marvin Aspen decided Thursday.

Aspen said that Russell must surrender himself to the U.S. Marshals at 10 a.m. on Jan. 22.

The judge also indicated that Russell’s time in prison could be shortened due to good behavior.

During court proceedings, Russell’s wife Nicole Lester became emotional during her testimony and broke down on the stand.

Jodi Bell, the attorney appointed to represent Russell, told Aspen that Lester had been battling depression and anxiety since the case began. Lester’s father, Murfreesboro police administrator Hiram Lester, also testified on his son-in-law’s behalf.

In addition to support from family, Russell also received written support from former Chancellor Robert Corlew III.

Bell also asked that Russell be placed on probation rather than serve time in prison. The attorney said Nicole Lester is unemployed and would be unable to provide for her family if her husband was incarcerated.

Russell’s income would also allow the family to better support the educational needs of one of their children who struggles with ADHD, Bell said.

Russell joined ex-sheriff Robert Arnold and Arnold’s uncle John Vanderveer in facing punishments after getting caught selling electronic cigarettes to inmates at the county jail in Murfreesboro without seeking contract approval for the arrangement from the Rutherford County Commission.

State and federal authorities spent more than two years investigating the JailCigs case, and this included FBI-led raids of the homes and offices for Arnold, Russell and Vanderveer.

The three faced an initial 14-count federal grand jury indictment in late May 2016.

As part of his punishment, Russell must forfeit the $52,234 he collected from JailCigs and pay his share in $52,500 restitution.

Arnold pleaded guilty Jan. 18 to wire fraud, honest services fraud and extortion. Judge Aspen sentenced Arnold to 50 months, including eight months of time served. The ex-sheriff is at a minimum-security prison camp at Maxwell Airforce Base in Montgomery, Ala.

Russell pleaded guilty Jan. 20 to the same three charges as Arnold.

Vanderveer pleaded guilty Jan. 30 to one count of obstruction of justice through attempted witness tampering for trying to persuade a sales representative to destroy documents that revealed Arnold being involved in the JailCigs business. Judge Aspen sentenced Vanderveer Sept. 11 to 12 months and a day starting Feb. 2.

Convicted ex-Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office administration chief Joe Russell will be sentenced to 15 months in prison for illegally profiting off inmates through the sale of JailCigs, Judge Marvin Aspen decided Thursday.

Aspen said that Russell must surrender himself to the U.S. Marshals at 10 a.m. on Jan. 22.

The judge also indicated that Russell’s time in prison could be shortened due to good behavior.

During court proceedings, Russell’s wife Nicole Lester became emotional during her testimony and broke down on the stand.

Jodi Bell, the attorney appointed to represent Russell, told Aspen that Lester had been battling depression and anxiety since the case began. Lester’s father, Murfreesboro police administrator Hiram Lester, also testified on his son-in-law’s behalf.

More: Former Chancellor Robert Corlew writes letter seeking leniency for Joe Russell

In addition to support from family, Russell also received written support from former Chancellor Robert Corlew III.

Source: http://www.dnj.com/story/news/2017/11/16/judge-sentences-joe-russell-15-months-jailcigs-case/869489001/

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3374 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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