published Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Whatever happened to ... Former sheriff serving time in Wisconsin

  • photo
    Wearing handcuffs and leg irons, Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long is escorted by Deputy U. S. Marshal Bob Church before appearing in federal court in this 2008 file photo.
    Photo by John Rawlston.
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Q. Whatever happened to former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long?

A. Since Long went into custody in February 2008 he's been a quiet, well-behaved inmate in a Wisconsin minimum-security prison, said his Chattanooga attorney, Jerry Summers.

His wife has visited him, and he leaves the legal troubles to his attorney, Summers added.

"He has been a model prisoner," he said.

Five years ago, Long pleaded guilty to 19 counts of extortion, six counts of money laundering, one count of providing a firearm to a felon and one count of cocaine possession. At the time, he was the county's top law enforcement official. News of his arrest sent shock waves through the community.

Long originally was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but last summer his sentence was reduced to 135 months, or a little over 11 years. He was moved from a facility in Arizona to Wisconsin.

Summers argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that Long's sentence should be shortened because Long didn't fight the charges and cooperated with authorities. He plans to argue in another appeal this summer that Long's sentence should be shortened even more.

The appeal will be heard on June 18 by the 6th Circuit.

"He has been kind of doing his time and trying to do as good as a job as he can," Summers said.

This update was written by staff writer Joan McClane. Contact her at jmcclane@times freepress.com or 423-757-6601. Follow her on Twitter at @Joan GarrettCTFP. To suggest a topic for Whatever Happened To, email timesfreepress.com.

about Joan Garrett McClane...

Joan Garrett McClane has been a staff writer for the Times Free Press since August 2007. Before becoming a general assignment writer for the paper, she wrote about business, higher education and the court systems. She grew up the oldest of five sisters near Birmingham, Ala., and graduated with a master's and bachelor's degrees in journalism from the University of Alabama. Before landing her first full-time job as a reporter at the Times Free Press, ...

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