Disgraced former Rutherford County sheriff is out of federal prison, assigned to halfway house in downtown Nashville

Posted at 3:15 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 21:03:44-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — He abused the public trust and was sent to prison. But now Robert Arnold is back.

The disgraced former Rutherford County sheriff is out of federal prison in Alabama and has returned to the Volunteer state.

Arnold is back in middle Tennessee and assigned to a halfway house in downtown Nashville where he will spend the next six months. It's the next step for Arnold as he pays his debt to society.

He's serving a four year sentence after pleading guilty in 2017 to wire fraud and extortion linked to the illegal sale of electronic cigarettes in the county jail.

Arnold still claimed he did nothing wrong and in a phone interview last year told me he blamed his problems on political enemies who targeted him after he was re-elected sheriff.

"This is all politics. I'm a political prisoner," said Arnold in 2018. He even wrote a letter to President Trump asking him for an executive grant of clemency for a full pardon. That didn't happen.

But legal analyst Nick Leonardo says with good behavior and time served, Arnold did earn an early release. "He's not being treated any differently from anyone else charged with like or similar crimes," Leonardo said.

You do wonder how his new digs in Nashville will compare with where he just came from?

Arnold spent the past two-plus years at a federal prison in Montgomery, Alabama. With landscaping and groomed lawns the so-called "Club Fed" once ranked as the third cushiest prison in the country.

No fences.

No razor wire.

Now back in Tennessee he'll have supervised freedom ... and will have to find work to make a living ...

Arnold is a convicted felon and his career in law enforcement is over. Once he does settle into this halfway house he will be out looking for a job in a different field. After six months of living in the halfway house -- if things go well -- Arnold will be free to find his own place, but he will remain under federal supervision.