published Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Appeals court upholds sentence for former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long

Former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long is led out of the Joel W. Solomon Federal Building and Courthouse in this file photo.
Former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long is led out of the Joel W. Solomon Federal Building and Courthouse in this file photo.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long will not see his 11 year federal prison sentence reduced.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today released its opinion on an appeal to lower the federal prison sentence of Long.

Local attorney Jerry Summers filed the appeal claiming that federal prosecutors denied to file documents that would have reduced Long's sentence after he gave them information on other corruption cases.

But prosecutor Perry Piper told U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice that Long's help was minimal and his crimes far outweighed what he shared with investigators -- a misdemeanor state charge that included another individual's possession of marijuana and three prescription pills.

Summers argued that the prosecutors were "retaliating" and being "vindictive" because he, Summers, had revealed the cooperating witness that the FBI used to bust Long. That witness, Eugene Overstreet, had worked with federal agents for at least a year to track money laundering, drug and extortion by the then-sheriff.

Long pleaded guilty in 2008 to 27 counts on the 28-count indictment.

He has been serving his time since then and would have a release date sometime in 2019 if the current sentence holds.

For more see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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