Official With $600K Permit Seeks Public Defender

Posted at 2:14 PM, May 31, 2016

A Rutherford County Sheriff's Office administrator who faces federal charges has asked for a public defender to represent him, weeks after obtaining a permit to build a nearly $600,000 home.

Joe Russell, the chief deputy over administration, is charged with Sheriff Robert Arnold and Arnold's uncle, John Vanderveer, in a 14-count indictment pertaining to profiting from the sale of electronic cigarettes to inmates.

The Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro reports that county Building Codes records show Russell paid more than $1,800 on May 6 for a permit to build a 4,405-square-foot home with an unfinished 3,128-square-foot basement northeast of Murfreesboro.

The Tennessee Bar Association website says in order to qualify for a lawyer at no cost, a defendant must show lack of finances to pay for an attorney.