Former Bedford County Sheriff Clay Parker may soon be at the state's table in the Marshall County Courthouse to help Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard prosecute cases.
"If he wants me to interview someone, I will," Parker said during an interview on his last day in office as sheriff after serving 12 years. "If he wants me to make coffee, I will. It's like being a student teacher."
Parker has been a student at the Nashville School of Law and his service to the 17th Judicial District Attorney's General Office in Lewisburg is something he sought before the Democratic primary in May. It's consistent with his status as a fourth-year law student.
There's a provision in state law through which the Tennessee Supreme Court can authorize a senior law student to enter appearances in court under the auspices of the district attorney, the public defender, or an attorney in private practice.
"You can't take on clients, but you can work under a lawyer," Parker explained on Thursday, approximately 10 hours before he was succeeded in office by Randall Boyce, the new sheriff.
Boyce beat Republican Chris Brown on Aug. 3 and defeated Parker in the Democratic primary on May 3.
During his 12 years as sheriff and during 8 1/2 years as a deputy and night shift supervisor for the sheriff's department in Shelbyville, Parker had sat at the prosecutor's table "many times," he said. Investigating officers can be exempted from the rule of sequestration to prevent them from hearing all the witnesses' testimony.
Parker's application to the Supreme Court was done with the approval of now-former District Attorney Mike McCown.
Parker said he anticipated his unpaid assistance to Barnard will be in Marshall County Sessions Court.
As for his employment prospects, Parker said, "I've had some offers in state government and some stuff I don't really care about doing at all. I don't know for certain exactly what I'll do.
"The deal with the D-A's office will be for a short period of time," he said.
Transfer of power at the Bedford County Sheriff's Department was accomplished on Friday morning immediately after midnight.
"I'll be the same man tomorrow that I am today," Parker said Thursday.
State auditors had been at the department in recent days and "signed off on everything, 100 percent," Parker said. "Everything is as good as we can make it" for the new administration.
Keys to the building and jail cells were on the sheriff's desk Thursday and many were still there by noon Friday when Boyce said the transition went "smooth."
Elected in 1994, Parker succeeded Sheriff Don Edwards who operates a pawn shop on Deery Street. Parker has maintained his broker's license to sell real estate.
"I could open an office if I wanted to," he said.
But so far, the former sheriff said he wasn't sure what employment he'd have this fall.