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Leroy Hobbs: A Convicted Felon, Former Harrison County Sheriff Running for Sheriff...Again

by Keith Burton - GCN   1/25/07     Updated

Convicted former Harrison County Sheriff Leroy Hobbs has filed papers to seek the office of Sheriff in the upcoming county elections. Hobbs filed as an independent candidate.

Hobbs, who completed his jail stint in the late 1990's for his federal conviction in 1984 for racketeering, could actually serve as sheriff  according to state law, even though he would not be able to carry a gun as a result of his federal conviction.

Shortly after Hobbs gained his freedom, he considered running for his old job, but decided against doing so six years ago as his release was still fresh.

In June 1983, six months into Hobbs' last year in office, a federal task force caught him as he waited for an airdrop of cocaine. The drugs were to be dropped from a plane onto a farm in north-central Harrison County where federal authorities were waiting.

This reporter interviewed Hobbs after his release eight years ago when working at the Sun Herald. Hobbs was known as an affable man, articulate and popular when he was in public office, and remains so.

Three others have filed also to run for Harrison County Sheriff including three Republicans and one Democrat. They are:

John A. Finnegan, Jr. (Republican)
Anderson D. Hall (Democrat)
Neil Resh (Republican)

As Hobbs is running as an Independent candidate, his name will be on the November ballot.

Current Harrison County Sheriff George Payne is under considerable pressure stemming from a horrific prisoner abuse case and an investigation that has seen five of his deputies plead guilty to federal charges and another facing a murder charge in the 2006 death of Jesse Williams.

The editorial board of the Sun Herald newspaper this week published an editorial calling for Payne to not seek re-election. The newspaper admitted that it had supported Payne in his first victory in 1999.

Update:

Editor's Note: Shortly after this story was posted, Hobbs emailed GCN. This is his comment:

If you will research google and Hubert Norris of Fayette County in Alabama, you will find that the federal government has ruled that an elected Sheriff CAN carry a firearm if he is elected.  Not that I want to carry a firearm and I never carried one before when I was a three term Sheriff of Harrison County.  My position on the matter is that a Sheriff is an administrator and not a gunslinger who threatens everyone that he meets.  I always wanted to present a pleasant atmosphere to the public that came into my office seeking help with their problems. 
 


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