• 66°

Officials say Calcote may remain in office

Lincoln County Sheriff Wiley Calcote can continue to serve inhis official capacity after being indicted Wednesday on 15 chargesrelating to his discharge of duties, officials said.

“This is a wonderful country because the law applies equally toall. You’re innocent until proven guilty. He’s still the sheriff,”said District Attorney Dee Bates during a Wednesday evening pressconference announcing the indictment.

Calcote would not discuss the indictment this morning, butbecame adamant when asked if he would continue to discharge hisduties as sheriff.

“Very much so,” he said. “More so than ever now.”

Calcote was indicted on 13 felony charges, including nine countsof embezzlement by a public official, two counts of tampering witha witness, a single count of wire fraud and one count of insurancefraud. Two of the charges, two counts of failure to confineinmates, are misdemeanors.

A conviction on any of the felony charges , however, could striphim from office, said Jan Schaeffer, a public information officerfor the Attorney General’s Office. No court dates have been set inthe case, pending action from a specially appointed judge.

According to Mississippi Code 25-5-1, “If any public officer,state, district, county or municipal, shall be convicted in anycourt of this state or any other state or in any federal court ofany felony … or any violation of the United States InternalRevenue Code, of corruption in office … or of gambling or dealingin futures with money coming to his hands by virtue of his office,any court of this state, in addition to such other punishment asmay be prescribed, shall adjudge the defendant removed from office;and the office of the defendant shall thereby become vacant.”

Once a state, county or municipal official is convicted, theprocess described in the code allows for the state Attorney Generalto enter a motion for removal from office in the circuit court ofthe county of residence.

On Wednesday, Bates acknowledged rumors of an investigation ofCalcote, but said the matter was confidential until the sheriff wasindicted and served with court papers. The district attorney’spress conference in the circuit courtroom attracted a number ofcourthouse employees and public officials, but all declined commentafter the event.