ROGERSVILLE — The appeals are beginning to pile up for former Hawkins County Chancery Court deputy clerk and convicted embezzler Kevin Graham, currently free on bond pending an appeal of an appeal that had reversed another appeal.
Those appeals — two filed by Graham and one filed by the state — pertained to Graham’s original three-year sentence and Criminal Court Judge John Dugger’s denial of requests for leniency.
On June 13, 2011, Graham, 42, 111 Brook Circle, Rogersville, pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $10,000 and was sentenced by Dugger to three years with a 30 percent release eligibility. The charge pertained to the theft of Chancery Court funds, which was revealed in a 2009 audit authorized by Graham’s mother, former Chancery Court Clerk and Master Shirley Graham.
Restitution in the amount of $14,868 had already been paid by Kevin Graham’s family at the time of his guilty plea.
Dugger denied Graham’s motion for a judicial diversion — which would result in probation followed by expungement — as well as a motion for alternative sentencing such as probation or house arrest.
Following his 2011 guilty plea, Graham was released on bond pending an appeal filed by attorney Rick Spivey of Dugger’s decision on the diversion and alternative sentencing.
On Aug. 22, 2012, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Camille R. McMullen returned a decision on Graham’s appeal upholding the judicial diversion denial, but reversing Dugger’s decision on alternative sentencing.
McMullen ordered Graham to serve 90 days in jail, with the remainder of the three-year sentence to be served on supervised probation.
Graham began serving that sentence in the Hawkins County Jail on Oct. 1, 2012, and was released on Dec. 26, 2012, after serving a total of 87 days.
On Jan. 8 of this year, however, the attorney general’s office appealed McMullen’s decision, and on Nov. 27, the Court of Criminal appeals at Knoxville affirmed Dugger’s original sentence.
On Tuesday, Graham posted a $5,000 bond, and he will remain free while his new appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court is considered. If that appeal fails, he faces a minimum of 240 more days in jail.For an expanded version of this article, please see Thursday's print edition or our electronic edition.