BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) - New developments about Oak Island's fire chief who walked away from his DWI conviction. WWAY has been demanding accountability. Tonight, we're getting results.
Brunswick County DA Rex Gore is correcting wrong information he's been giving to us and the public. Gore now admits his office made mistakes and will take this case to the state court of appeals.
Since we started covering this story a week ago the Brunswick County DA's office told us the wrong trooper was subpoenaed for a hearing June 8 in John House's DWI case. Judge Ola Lewis dismissed the charge after prosecutor Erin Holden came to court ill-prepared to proceed with the case. Wednesday Gore announced he is appealing Lewis's ruling to suppress evidence in the case and her subsequent dismissal of House's charge.
A court clerk and Gore both told WWAY that the wrong trooper was subpoenaed. In fact no trooper was ever subpoenaed for the hearing.
Gore says there's been many versions of this story because of miscommunication in his office. In a statement sent to news outlets with a copy of the appeal Gore says his staff is committed to pursuing every avenue available to get House back into court so that a full hearing can be held.
Gore says the dismissal of the DWI charge against the fire chief is a result of a mistake made by his "young assistant" Holden. Gore denied our request to talk on camera. He also refused to let us speak with Holden.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today, my office filed notice of appeal over the granting of a motion
to suppress evidence in the State vs. Raymond House (08 CRS 6990). (See
copy of notice)
The Motion to Suppress in this case was scheduled for the morning
session of Superior Court on June 8, 2010. When the Assistant District
Attorney in charge of the hearing called in sick, my staff asked for the case
to be continued. When that request was denied, the Assistant District
Attorney was contacted and came in for the hearing. While preparing for the
hearing with officers there for that purpose, the Assistant realized that she
did not have a vital witness from the Highway Patrol. The witness had not
been subpoenaed and did not know to be in court. The witness was promptly
located, but he was in a meeting ninety miles away and it was apparent that
the State could not proceed with the hearing during the morning session of
court. At 12:33, when the Court called the motion for hearing, another
motion for continuance was sought and that motion was denied. The State
then sought a delay until the afternoon session of court, but no later than
3:30. That motion was denied and the Judge granted the Motion to Suppress
when the State was unable to proceed.
The failure to have the witnesses in place for the morning session was
the fault of the State. Following the denial of the motion to continue there
were no further efforts to contact the witness to come into court that day.
The witness would have been available once he had been given notice of a
time to appear for the afternoon session.
The laws of North Carolina provide for an appeal of the granting of a
Motion to Suppress in these matters. We are taking the steps necessary to
have such a review conducted.
At no time on June 8, 2010, was this matter scheduled for trial. The
laws of North Carolina provide procedures for an appeal of a dismissal of a
case by a judge. We are taking the steps necessary to review the dismissal
entered by the judge in this matter.
My Staff is committed to pursuing every avenue available to the State
to get the Defendant back into court so that a full hearing on the merits can
be held. We will await the outcome of the appeals process.