Former Sheriff's spokesman pleads to lesser charge
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A plea deal tonight for an ex-New Hanover County Sheriff's deputy whose face you often saw on the news.

The Star News reports Charles Smith, the former spokesman for the New Hanover County Sheriff, pleaded guilty today to using a public vehicle for his own private use. That's a misdemeanor.

Smith won't serve any time or probation, but he does have to turn over all law enforcement credentials. Plus, Smith has agreed never to do police work in any state.

Smith, a corporal at the time of the crime, got in trouble for using the laptop computer in his New Hanover County Sheriff's SUV. He pulled driver license information about a friend from a state computer system. Smith wanted the information so a nightclub in Raleigh would allow his friend inside.

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Are you kidding me? Most of the posts here are outright, blatant support for this individual obviously because of his personal lifestyle. Seriously? Do you not see that what you view as a "momentary indiscretion" or simple mistake is so very much worse???

He used a County computer, with access to EVERYONE's personal information that each law enforcement officer has access to, to get a copy of a young mans license to get him into a bar! Do you really believe that this was a simple mistake? What else did he do? To what lengths would he have gone for personal gain? Or has gone already? He did it so readily that it should scare each and every one of you liberals out there. Sure, he's of the "alternate" lifestyle, but what if he wasn't? Then the support would be gone and let the loudmouthed, anti-conservative complaints start then!

You should really look at the situation again. People complained about Bush and his security tactics after 9/11. This guy is everyone's nightmare, he had access and abused it. You should be so lucky is was for his personal gain and not vindictive abuse towards you or I.

What do you think,because of his lifestyle he's going to do all those things you say he is able to do? You Teabaggers are something.

Read the post again. And then take off your rose colored glasses and read it one more time.

I never said he did anything because of his lifestyle. I said, the support here was based on his lifestyle, not based on the act he committed.

It is of my opinion, clearly apart from my political views, that his actions are extremely detrimental to your and my civil rights and personal security. That is my concern.

And by the way, I'm not the teabagger here.

Congratulations! Once again you did a great job of reporting the news that people want to hear. I hate to use that quote from Jack Nicholson but "TRUTH! YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!". Ask any deputy that you see in the county about Charles Smith and watch their reaction, most want comment. But some will tell you the truth about him. People were out to get him from the time he worked for Carollina Beah PD because of his personal life and "life style". Thats the truth! I know you want print this and that is what is sad. People who are not in the know don't have any idea of why this guy was single out. The Sheriff didn't want any dirt coming out about him dismissing him from his job, because he is a Democrat and his party supports that life style. So, he says he gave him a "HUG" and sent him along his way. Don't ask, don't tell dosen't work in the military and it want work in law enforcement.

Really thats all he did and he loses everything?!? I think this is one of these things that he should have maybe gotten a couple days of suspension but to loose his job over something like this is ridiculous I think there are more improtant things to worry about than something so stupid like this

Now that the State has finished ruining another life for something so frivolous now maybe they can move on to solving a real crime. I haven't seen where the young man with Smith has been charged with a crime. If he used the information for any purpose than he is as guilty as Smith. WWAY when is the young mans court date? I assume the SBI is overlooking the young mans involvement in this matter. Of course this is the same young man running all over the state bragging about his involvement with this case. Perhaps ALE needs to step in now and investigate this young man who is bragging about he can drink underage at clubs without any punishment.

Now that the SBI has some free time how about providing the citizens an update on the progress of finding out who killed the two women on Carolina Beach Road. Here's a real crime scene with real victims.

Apparently he used the information to prove that the friend was over 21. Why would he pull this information to show he was under 21? Think about it! He wanted to show that he could go in legally, but he used information that is given only for LEO purposes for his friends personal gain.

Smith was being charged for accessing a Wake County database (DCI). Not New Hanover. According to the law, a deputy of another county who is not employed in the county that they are in, and uses information from that county's DCI is a felony. I am concerned to where you have heard these rumors about the young man drinking in a bar underage. Is the bar letting him drink underage? Because the last time I held a case for underage drinking, the legal age is 21. Meaning someone over the age of 21, is suppling this alcohol. I am very interested if Former Deputy Smith, provided alcohol to the young man. I am quite positive that you may know more about this case than the general public. You seem to be on the defensive of Charles Smith.
In addition, I am sure the boy would have never went to the bar and gained access to Legends, if he did not have his ID. This young boy must be very attractive, since Smith, risked his job in printing this DMV information and risk his own employment to get him inside the bar. I have also questioned myself if anything else may have happen that night. According to recent news release, this investigation did not start from the SBI, finding out about the DMV issue. My understanding is that there was another compliant. However the SBI cleared it. The State may have dismissed the compliant to lack of evidence. There was a time period before the state issued the "accessing government computer" charge. After reviewing many statements SBI agents must have came across another crime. That explains why New Hanover Sheriff, did not expect charges, according to his statement.

He is NOT the only Sheriff Deputy that has used a COUNTY vehicle for PERSONAL use....he's just the only one that got caught! Alot of DEPUTIES that do it and have done it, unless you are going on duty for the County when you crank it up...then...it's WRONG! Is it that if you are a "higher up" in the sheriff department that it's OK to use the County Vehicles?? When another DEPUTY got his personal auto REPO'd then he continued to use the COUNTY unmarked vehicle for child visitation it is just WRONG!!! (and when you aren't on duty....it shouldn't be used).....so why is it that they are NOT punished? Same DEPUTY commited perjury in a case in NH County Court....although it was a civil matter, if this DEPUTY will commit perjury then how many people are in jail based on this individuals testimony? Just because you are a Deputy or LEO, when you lie it is wrong.....Feel sorry for Charles Smith as he is being centered out to take the heat off the others that use County resources for personal use.

The real affront here is the waste of resources for the frivilous prosecution of former Deputy Smith. At the worst, Smith should have been made to pay for mileage from his hotel to the club and reprimanded for the "inappropriate" use of the computer.

I sincerely hope that Charles Smith finds an advocate and has his credentials restored.

other media sources, he actually had permission to drive the County's SUV to Raleigh as he traveled to Maryland for some type of training class.

The challenge arose when he used his county issued laptop to print off an ID so he and a friend could enter a night club which caters to those of an alternate lifestyle persuasion.

Oh well, he moves on with his life and never serves in law enforcement again.

Quite a price to pay for a momentary indiscretion.

Congratulations, WWAY. Once again, you have proven that there is nothing that you will not stoop to in order to provide top-notch yellow journalism.

Since you have CLEARLY forgotten, here's a reminder: You're supposed to be in the NEWS BUSINESS. You know, journalism, reporting, etc., NOT witch-hunting.

Congratulations. We really appreciate how well you have proven that you have no limits when it comes to achieving all-time lows and hitting rock bottom - REPEATEDLY. At least now that you have identified yourselves as scum-dwellers, you've finally been honest about SOMETHING, even if it was to reveal your true identity, your abandonment of REAL journalism, and your unending quest to grind people into the ground. I sincerely hope that each and every current employee of WWAY will find themselves under such a microscope as the one you have held Charles Smith under.

I do, wonder, though...what would it take to get you to shut up? We've all heard the recent stories of kids who were "outed" publicly and felt their only recourse was to take their own lives. Will it take the death of a Charles Smith, etc., for you to finally SHUT UP?

You should ALL be ashamed of yourselves. However, since you clearly have NO conscience, I'll admit that I'm embarassed for you and utterly ashamed of you.

I fully anticipate this will not make it to a visible post on your page. After all, you're no longer interested in news and healthy discourse. You're only interested in muck-raking, and that leaves no room whatsoever for dissenting opinions.

I don't know. Generally speaking WWAY has seemed baised and tabloidish recently. I thought it was petty for WWAY to confront him about a part time job as a courtesy officer at an apartment complex. That's not a law enforcement job, and is a private arrangement between him and a privately held company. That job consists of things like asking someone to turn down their stereo when someone calls the complex's management with a noise complaint. No poers of arrest or anything like that at all. Mall cops have more authority than him.

But this conviction is relevant, since he's a government IT employee charged with a crime related to illegal use of a government computer.

Overall though, I do think WWAY has shown an unusual amount of interest in this guy, considering he was and still is a relatively low-level employee. I think he was a corporal at the SO. It's not like he's a local power player or anything like that.

I wonder if he made someone at WWAY mad when he worked as the spokesman for the NHCSO? Maybe he didn't grant some interviews thay wanted, and now they are getting payback? If that's the case, WWAY has moved from reporting the news to creating the news. Big difference in journalism standards. Kind of like the difference between the WSJ and the Enquirer.

Your angry post DID make it to visibility for all to see! It appears you have or had (as it may be), and axe to grind. Feel better now? If I were you I would be embarrased, but not such a big deal when cyber-bitching and nobody knows who you are. I only hope you don't have access to a firearm with your state of instability.

I've followed this story from day one. It seems to me that WWAY is simply reporting this case as it progresses. This ex-officer was a public figure with the NHCSO and the public deserves to know the unscrupulous activites of which he is accused, why and the results of those accusations. I will make one generalization though, this ex-officer peed in the wrong persons cornflakes and got a bullseye drawn on his back. WWAY is simply reporting the facts as they develop. Why is it that you want to blame WWAY for Smiths choices, I haven't a clue. You may want to ask the other news agencies that are reporting on this story as well.

In the meantime, angry and ranting outbursts full of name-calling and accusations like yours CAN be controlled through therapy and medication. You're going to shorten your life harboring resentment of that magnitude.

Yes, congratulations! Once again you investigate what really happens in this county that we live and not let the story just "fade away". There are still alot of question about how this person got his job with the NHCSO and why he left his job with CBPD. I am sure we will never know because it is easier to just let it go and move on to the next story. Local and federal government employers are scared to just fire when someone is caught engaging in deviant behavior. The question in this case is, did this person use his position of power to persaude a young teen to do something that he might not have done with a regular 28 to 30 year old man? We will never know.

I'm sure he got hired just like most every other person would.He wasn't engaging in deviant behavior just because you think going to a Gay bar means that.If you could read he got a copy of his friend's ID so he could get in the bar.It wasn't a fake ID, so where does this young teen come from. I'm in my 50's and can't get in some bars without one.Maybe the guy,yes I meant guy,forgot to bring his or lost it.You're right on one part,we may not know the reason he left.I hear the shereff is into God,so maybe he didn't like his lifestyle.What the guy did was not that big of a deal and the court thought so too.

It was the StarNews that reported that the admission was to the gay club... Not WWAY. Maybe you should be up in arms at the SBI and our local sheriff for the handling of this matter.

Law enforcement was on the witchhunt to get Smith, not this television station or its blog.