Lawrence County sheriff, captain charged with official misconduct

Lawrence County Sheriff Jimmy Brown and a captain in his office have been charged with official misconduct after allegations ranging from mishandling moonshine to improper release of jail inmates — some of whom had relatives making campaign donations to the sheriff.

Press release from state Comptroller’s Office

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office, working in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, has released an investigation detailing numerous problems within the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

Investigators determined that Sheriff Jimmy Brown and his jail administrator allowed inmates to leave the jail improperly. Some of the inmates were dropped off at public locations and only checked on when the supervising individual had time.

Other inmates were granted furloughs without proper authorization by a judge. Another inmate was “loaned out” to sheriff’s department management and staff to help with chores at their personal properties.

Sheriff Brown also exceeded his authority by releasing defendants on their own recognizance or on a signature bond without the proper order. In some situations, bond amounts were set by a court or magistrate, but the sheriff did not require the bond to be paid when the defendant left the jail. Comptroller investigators found several instances in which the Sheriff accepted campaign contributions from families of individuals he released on their own recognizance.

The investigation also revealed that Sheriff Brown violated multiple laws in his handling of a confiscated still and moonshine. The seized items were not properly documented in the evidence log, and the sheriff told investigators that he poured the moonshine out prior to a court ordering its destruction. Sheriff Brown had a duty to arrest the suspects involved in this case; however, he did not make any arrests since he felt the family had “enough trouble elsewhere.”

Investigators determined Lawrence County Captain Adam Brewer falsified his time sheet when he indicated he worked on September 16, 2016. Captain Brewer was actually in Florida on a personal trip in his Lawrence County assigned vehicle.

Captain Brewer also exceeded his authority when he allowed two Lawrence County deputies to take extended sick leave from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department while they worked a second job at the Saint Joseph Police Department. Captain Brewer is also the Saint Joseph Chief of Police.

On May 10, 2018, Sheriff Jimmy Brown was indicted by the Lawrence County Grand Jury on two counts of official misconduct, one count of tampering with evidence, and one count of use of inmates for personal benefit. Captain Adam Brewer was also indicted on one count of official misconduct.

“In addition to the problems already described, we also found several problems with how time sheets and leave balances were handled by the Sheriff’s department,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “The department should follow its own personnel policies and ensure accurate time sheets are submitted and approved.”

Note: The full comptroller’s report is HERE.

Press release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLEA joint investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and investigators with the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury has resulted in the indictment and arrest of Lawrence County Sheriff Jimmy Brown and Captain Adam Brewer.

At the request of 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper, on May 8, 2017, TBI Agents and investigators with the Comptroller’s office began investigating activities occurring at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that from 2015 through 2017, Brown allowed inmates to be used for labor by various county employees at their personal residence, or for personal business. The investigation further revealed that Brown used his position as Sheriff to circumvent the bond process for some arrested individuals, releasing them from jail without requiring them to pay for the secured bond as ordered by a judge. The investigation also determined that Brewer falsified time sheets and misled investigators as to the accuracy of the reported hours worked at the Department.

Today, the Lawrence County Grand Jury returned indictments charging Jimmy Rex Brown (DOB 09/03/1946) with two counts of Official Misconduct, one count of Use of Inmate Labor for Personal Gain, and one count of Tampering with Evidence. Adam Brewer (DOB 01/05/1978) is charged with one count of Official Misconduct. Both Brown (below, left)  and Brewer (below, right) were arrested Thursday and booked into the Lawrence County Jail. Brown’s bond was set at $25,000 and Brewer’s bond was $5,000.

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