Constable candidate charged with lying on election application

Published 2:55 pm Friday, January 26, 2018

A Roan Mountain man faces a criminal charge following a police investigation into allegations he lied on an affidavit to run for constable in the upcoming election.

On Friday, Carter County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jeff Markland served Roy Allen Coffey, 67, of 120 Old U.S. Highway 19E, Roan Mountain, with a criminal summons charging him with perjury. Under state law, the charge against Coffey is a “Class A” misdemeanor.

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The charge against Coffey stems from an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office into allegations that Coffey lied on his election affidavit by stating that he had “not been convicted in any federal or state court of a felony,” when in fact he had prior felony convictions in North Carolina.

The complaint against Coffey was first made to the District Attorney’s Office, which forwarded the matter on to the Sheriff’s Office for investigation.

State law sets the qualifications to run for constable, which include the individual must be at least 21 years of age, a registered voter of the district, and not have been convicted of a felony. To pick up the paperwork to run for constable, a potential candidate must sign an affidavit for election and swear to a declaration that he or she meets those qualifications.

On Dec. 18, Coffey picked up a candidate petition to run for the office of constable for the county’s 2nd District, which includes the Roan Mountain and Tiger Valley precincts. That same day he signed the affidavit stating he had never been convicted in any federal or state court of a felony.

“A criminal history check showed Mr. Coffey to have several felony convictions,” CCSO Capt. Jeff Markland said. “One of those convictions was in Caldwell County, N.C., for the charge of Indecent Liberties with a Minor.”

“I was able to obtain a certified copy of the judgment in that case,” Markland added. “It shows that Mr. Coffey pled guilty on June 1, 1989, and received a six-year sentence. Based on the evidence found in this case, I am charging Mr. Roy Coffey with Perjury due to the fact he gave false information on the election application.”

As of Friday, Coffey had not turned his candidate petition back in to the Carter County Election Commission Office. Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris said based on the findings of the investigation which confirmed Coffey has a felony conviction her office would not accept a candidate petition from Coffey as he no longer qualifies for that office.