Lawsuit Filed Requesting Court Interpretation of Laws Concerning Qualifications for Sheriff Candidate

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Madisonville, TN – A civil lawsuit has been filed by the Monroe County Democratic Party and its Chair, Jerry Ogle, asking the Court to interpret Tennessee statutory law which, in part states that “in order to qualify for election…to the office of sheriff a person shall…have at least three (3) years of full-time experience as a POST commission certified law enforcement officer in the previous ten (10) years or at least three (3) years of full-time experience as a state or federal certified law enforcement officer with training equivalent to that required by the POST commission in the previous ten (10) years…”

According to the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission, Monroe County sheriff candidate Randy White does not possess the required amount of full-time law enforcement experience in order to qualify for election to the office of sheriff.

State law requires that an individual meet certain requirements in order to appear on the ballot as a candidate for the office of sheriff. One such requirement is certification by the POST Commission. Because the Commission recently rescinded Randy White’s certification, it is now necessary for a court of competent jurisdiction to decide whether Tennessee law prohibits his continued candidacy. Regardless of party affiliation, all candidates must comply with the law and be duly qualified to hold the public offices they seek.

According to published news reports, on June 18, 2014, the POST Commission launched an investigation into White’s employment as a full-time police officer and his qualifications as a candidate for sheriff of Monroe County.

The results of that investigation were revealed to the POST Commission at its monthly business meeting on July 18, 2014. Based on POST Investigator Mike Hall’s findings, the POST Commission rescinded their initial certification of White to appear on the ballot as a candidate for the office of sheriff of Monroe County.

The lawsuit was filed on July 30, 2014 in the Monroe County Circuit Court to determine the applicability of the law requiring three years of full-time law enforcement experience in order for a candidate to stand for election to the office of sheriff. The Court is also being asked to enforce the law and to enjoin Randy White from continuing his candidacy and to determine whether or not the Monroe County Election Commission should count votes already cast for White during early voting, as well as any votes to be cast during the August 7, 2014 general election.

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