Hamilton Co. Corrections corporal fired after official misconduct
UPDATE: The Hamilton County Sheriff's Civil Service Board upheld the termination of a corrections corporal Friday.
Steven Marcel Ward, 47, was investigated by TBI and the sheriff's office last year after he reportedly told an inmate he would interfere with the judicial process related to the inmate's jail records.
He was criminally charged with official misconduct and accepted a judicial diversion.
After the court case wrapped up, sheriff's office investigators found that Ward broke a number of department policies.
Those violations were the following:
- Unbecoming conduct
- Failing to conform to laws (breaking the law)
- Violation of restrictions on associating with those charged with a crime or known to be facing charges
- Failing to maintain an impartial attitude in dealing with an individual who had been in custody
Ward told officials that he plans to seek legal counsel. It's unclear if he will appeal the sheriff's decision.
PREVIOUS STORY: A Hamilton County jailer, accused of official misconduct, will avoid trial.
Steven Marcel Ward, 46, will serve a year probation and be required to complete 40 hours of community service. As a part of the judicial diversion, Ward will be able to pay a fee and have his record expunged at the end of the year.
An investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Hamilton County Sheriff's Department resulted in charged against Ward last fall. Investigators found that Ward exceeded his authority by telling an inmate he would interfere with the judicial process related to the inmate's jail records.
Ward could have faced up to six years in prison if the case went to trial.
Following the charges, Ward was suspended without pay.
According to Don Gorman, director of administration, Ward will have a due process hearing with the department in the next few weeks. Then Sheriff Jim Hammond will decide if Ward can return to the job.
PREVIOUS STORY: There's a changing of the guard at the Hamilton County Jail, after the Thursday morning arrest of one of the facility's corrections officers. According to Deputy Chief Allen Branham, a joint investigation by the TBI and Hamilton County Sheriff's Internal Affairs Division began in early October, focusing on Steven Marcel Ward, an 8 and a half year veteran of the department.
During the course of the investigation, authorities say they developed information that Ward exceeded his authority by telling an inmate he would interfere with the judicial process related to the inmate's jail records.
A grand jury's true bill for Ward's arrest was unsealed early Thursday and executed soon afterward.
Branham says while Ward's arrest is regrettable, Branham describes it as an isolated incident that in no way compromises any pending case, except for the accused.
The 45 year old Ward was arrested on one count of official misconduct, which is a class e felony.
He quickly bailed out of the Hamilton County Jail on a 3 thousand dollar bond.
Sheriff's officials say Ward's employment record shows no prior incidents of discipline.
We spoke to Ward shortly after his release from jail.
Ward says he has little to say until his case works its way through the legal process.
If convicted, Ward could face up to six years in jail and a fine as much as $3,000.
PREVIOUS STORY: In a joint investigation, agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office have obtained an indictment for a jail employee accused of misconduct.
District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, TBI Special Agents joined the case into Steven Ward on October 2nd.
During the course of the investigation, authorities developed information that Ward, a Corrections Corporal for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, exceeded his authority by telling an inmate he would interfere with the judicial process related to the inmate's jail records, according to a news release from the TBI.
On Wednesday, the Hamilton County Grand Jury returned an indictment for Ward, charging the 45-year-old Hixson man with one count of Official Misconduct.
Thursday, Ward was booked into the Hamilton County Jail, where, at the time of this release, he was being held on $3,000 bond.
Ward has been suspended without pay from his position with the department.