Constable arraigned on felony charges

Published 6:28 pm Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Carter County constable facing felony charges appeared in court Thursday morning for arraignment.

Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation arrested Barney Brown, 74, of Stanley Hollow Road, Roan Mountain, on March 14 on an indictment charging him with one count each of aggravated assault and official oppression. Brown serves as one of two elected constables representing the county’s 2nd District, which includes the Roan Mountain and Tiger Valley precincts.

Brown appeared in Carter County Criminal Court on Thursday morning to answer the charges. Attorney Nikki Himebaugh stood by Brown’s side and informed the court Brown had retained attorney Jim Bowman to represent him, but Bowman was in court in another jurisdiction and not able to be in Carter County on Thursday. Himebaugh explained she was standing in for Bowman for the arraignment.

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Himebaugh waived a formal reading of the indictment against Bowman and entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

Assistant District Attorney Janet Hardin asked the court to order a Specific Data Report (SDR) on Brown detailing his background and any criminal history.

“I doubt there is much of Mr. Brown’s background that is not known given his history,” Judge Stacy Street said, referencing questions raised by former Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes following Brown’s election as constable in 2010. “There was some question as to whether or not he was convicted of a felony some 20 or 30 years ago.”

Hardin said she had been part of that investigation but would still request that Brown complete an SDR. Street gave the SDR packet to Brown and instructed him to fill it out and return it to either his attorney or the District Attorney’s Office.

Street scheduled Brown to appear in court on July 3.

The charges against Brown stem from a TBI investigation into an incident in December where Brown allegedly conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle.

“The investigation revealed that on December 2nd, Brown initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle traveling along Highway 19E in Hampton,” a statement released by the TBI said. “During the traffic stop, Brown pulled a gun on the driver and unlawfully detained him.”

Following his arrest on March 14, Brown was booked into the Carter County Detention Center and later released after posting a $25,000 bond.