Convicted Former Sheriff Has Rights Restored

A former sheriff of Cannon County who was convicted nearly a decade ago of two felonies had his rights restored Monday morning in Cannon County Circuit Court.

Judge Bart Stanley, Jr. granted the petition filed by Charles S. Brandon, Jr. for "Restoration For Civil Rights & Citizenship."

However, while Brandon had his right to vote, right to hold public office and right to serve on a jury restored, it is still not clear whether he would be eligible to run for his former office should he chose to do so in the future.

In fact, District Attorney General Bill Whitesell, representing the state, said following the hearing it was his opinion Brandon could not run for sheriff again.

"Although his rights are restored, I don't believe he can run for public office, particularly for sheriff, because by statute convicted felons can not run for sheriff," Whitesell said.

Brandon lost his citizenship rights and resigned as sheriff after he was convicted of certain felonies while holding the office of Cannon County Sheriff.

He pled guilty to official misconduct in 2001 in Cannon County and was convicted by a jury that same year in Rutherford County of conspiracy to coerce a witness and coercion of a witness.

Attorney Darrell Scarlett, representing Brandon, said that the former sheriff, who had been "declared infamous" by his 2001 conviction, had met all of the requirements to have that disability removed.

Judge Stanley said he did not approve of restoring Brandon's rights, but could cite no legal reason not to do so.

"Conviction of conspiracy to coerce a witness is a real kick in the gut to the judicial system," Stanley said.

The former sheriff's convictions came after a lengthy investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation which led to Brandon's indictment on 40 counts of official misconduct, 1 count of sexual battery, 2 counts of tampering with evidence and 1 count of coercion of a witness.

Those charges stemmed from accusations by several female inmates at the Cannon County Jail that Brandon had sex with them while they were incarcerated and that he then attempted to intimidate witnesses involved in the case.

As a result of the indictments, all female inmates were removed from the jail and housed in Rutherford County for almost a year at Cannon County's expense.
Brandon received probation and the sentence period has expired.

According Brandon, he has sustained the character of a person of "honesty, respectability and veracity, and is generally stemmed as such by his neighbors." He told the court Monday that he does carpentry work.