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ONLY ON 3: Trooper says he was never called for Chief House's appeal hearing

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A lot questions remain unanswered about why a judge dropped a DWI charge against Oak Island's Fire Chief even after he was convicted. New tonight, the state trooper who was at the checkpoint when Fire Chief John House was busted for DWI sat down with WWAY.

Brunswick County District Attorney Rex Gore said the Assistant DA had what he calls a "mix-up" and subpoenaed the wrong trooper. First Sgt. A.E. Morris was the correct trooper, but he says he was never contacted by the DA's office at any point about House's DWI charge.

House was stopped at a checkpoint on Dec. 13, 2008, and charged with DWI. In August 2009, a District Court judge found House guilty of DWI. House appealed the decision to Superior Court. One week ago, the prosecutor realized she had the wrong trooper in court. Gore told us last week the prosecutor called Morris. Gore said Morris said he could not be in court until the afternoon, but Judge Ola Lewis would not delay the case and threw out the charge.

Morris told us today his role in what happened is news to him.

"Nobody ever contacted me personally," Morris said. "They've all got my state cell phone, and they call me whenever they need me most of the time, but obviously this time there was a mix-up somewhere, and they didn't get the proper people in court that they needed. I wasn't subpoenaed, and I wasn't ever contacted, so obviously somebody along the line messed up."

Gore would not go on camera, but he talked with us by phone today. He admits there was a mix-up in regard to preparing for House's trial, but he said he could not answer why the wrong trooper was subpoenaed.

Gore said his office is exploring options to try and appeal Judge Lewis's decision to the Court of Appeals.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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It's about time the

It's about time the responsible party(DA's Office)takes the blame for having this case dismissed.
Calling in sick is the oldest trick in the book when you are not prepared to go to work! DUH!! Obiviously,a good judge can see beyond that! DUH!!!
Remember: A judge's responsibility is to be fair & impartial! & it's not the Judge's job to make sure that the DA's office or the defense have their cases ready.

All these comments about the

All these comments about the LEO not being in court is stupid. The average DWI takes about 18 months to go through the system. The reason the LEO is not there on the court date is because these shady lawyers continue cases on days other than the officers court date. That explains why they are not there. And for the people complaining about their son had to sit in court and miss days of work. Truth is...... #1 your son had to pay for the lawyer he cannot afford and the lawyer will not handle the case until he gets paid. #2 he is judge shopping for the right lawyer to get a lesser sentence or possibly get it thrown out. If you people knew half of what was going on in this corrupted court system you would not be making comments

What a shame...we have the

What a shame...we have the State Troopers, Sheriff's Dept. as well as local law enforcement out busting drunk drivers and arresting them, and, assumeing no conspiracy, a bungling DA's office and a PO'd judge turning them loose at the expense of the public who the law is supposed to protect. Geez......Seems like the judge would have had a little more compassion for the safety of those she is serving. She should have thought about them instead of trying to get punish the ADA. Does not show enough maturity to serve in her position. This will be remembered at election time.

Dwi case

Looks like DA office screwed up. Judge Lewis doing her job. She is very concerned about the people and about helping them. She is a great assest to being a judge in our area and we shoudbe thankful for all she has done with helping start our Drug Court in Brunswick county. Don't know all the legal issue but I'm sure she did what she had to do. She is very much against someone drinking and driving.

APOLOGIZE TO JUDGE LEWIS

YOU CLOWNS OWE JUDGE LEWIS AN APOLOGY. I WILL TAKE ODDS THAT IF SHE WERE A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT YOU WOULD HAVE TREATED THIS GREAT LADY DIFFERENTLY. EVERYONE IN AMERICA HAS THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND THE RIGHT TO FACE THEIR ACCUSER. HOWEVER, ADA HOLDEN AND LAME DUCK REX GORE MAKE THAT HARD WHEN THEY CAN'T EVEN GET THE CORRECT TROOPER TO COURT. I MAY BE WRONG BUT I DONT THINK THE JUDGES MAKE THE COURT CALENDAR. SOUNDS LIKE DA HOLDEN AND THE DA'S OFFICE DROPPED THE BALL ON THIS ONE!!!!
REX'S MINDSET MUST ALREADY BE IN RETIREMENT. I GUESS HE SPENDS HIS DAYS DAYDREAMING ABOUT A NICE LIFE OF RETIREMENT IF HIS BUDDY R.C. IS SUCCESSFUL SLIPPING THE "SWEETHEART REX BILL" THROUGH.

Apologize to Judge Lewis

Obviously J and J has been informed by Judge Lewis why she dismissed this case without predious and not allowed to be tried again. Otherwise, J and J would not hold Judge Lewis to such high regard. Being a liberal democrat or conservate republican has nothing to do with it. Judge Lewis is a servant of the public. She was elected by the citizens of the 13th Judicial District and receives her pay from our tax dollars. For her to be so arrogant as to not answer why she did this speaks of elitism. Reminds me of something you would see on the O'Reily Factor. Yes, the DA did screw up on this, but it does not excuse the Judge for dismissing. What did Judge Lewis tell you as to why she dismissed this case in the manner that she dismissed it? No answer. I did not think she told you either. You obviously are a Ola "kool aide" drinker. How can you not question the Judge's action? Probably because you work for her campaign and are nothing more than "sheep being led to the slaughter." Baa, Baa.

DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE AT FAULT NOT JUDGE LEWIS

LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT, ADA ERIN HOLDEN CALLS IN SICK THE DAY THIS CASE IS TO BE TRIED, I SUPPOSE THERE IS NO ONE ELSE IN THE DA'S OFFICE THAT CAN TRY THESE CASES? AFTER SHE IS CALLED INTO COURT FROM HOME, SHE STATES TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE LEWIS THAT SHE HAS IN FACT SUBPOENAED THE WRONG STATE TROOPER BUT THAT SHE HERSELF HAS SPOKEN TO THE (CORRECT) ARRESTING TROOPER AND THAT HE CAN ARRIVE AT COURT BY 3:30, THEREFORE REQUESTING A DELAY UNTIL HIS ARRIVAL. THIS IS THE POINT AT WHICH THE HONARABLE JUDGE LEWIS DENIES HER REQUEST AND DISMISSES THE CASE, AFTER SEVERAL CONTINUANCES AND CLEAR BOUTS WITH AN UNPREPARED DA AND DA'S OFFICE(WHICH BY THE WAY SETS THE COURT CALENDAR). LET US NOT FORGET THAT THE JUDGE ALSO HAS RULES AND GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW WITH RESPECT TO ANY CASE. AS IT TURNS OUT, ACCORDING TO WWAY'S MOST RECENT REPORT, THE ARRESTING TROOPER STATED THAT HE NEVER EVEN SPOKE WITH ADA HOLDEN OR ANYONE FROM THE DA'S OFFICE ABOUT THIS CASE BEING TRIED THAT DAY. (I WONDER WHAT THE REPERCUSSION IS FOR BLATANTLY LYING TO A SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE IN OPEN COURT IS? I AM OF THE OPINION THAT IT NEEDS TO BE DA HOLDEN'S JOB!)IT SHAMES ME TO KNOW THAT MY LOCAL NEWS DOES SUCH A HORRIBLE JOB OF INITIAL REPORTING THAT IT TAKES SEVERAL DAYS OF FOLLOW UP REPORTS TO CLEAN UP YOUR MISTAKES. HOW ABOUT DO US ALL A FAVOR AND GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT BEFORE REPORTING. IN THE MEAN TIME PERHAPS YOU AT WWAY AND DA HOLDEN SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO OUR SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE THAT DOES SUCH A "SUPERIOR" JOB FOR THE PEOPLE OF BRUNSWICK COUNTY. MAYBE WWAY'S NEXT REPORT CAN BE ON THE TERMINATION OF ADA HOLDEN BECAUSE OF HER LACKADAISICAL ATTITUDE WHEN IT COMES TO HER JOB AND CASES. BETTER YET WHY DONT YOU DO A STORY ON THE HONORABLE JUDGE LEWIS'S COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION TO A JOB THAT SHE TAKES VERY SERIOUSLY.
!!!!!THEIR MAKING IT REAL EASY FOR YOU MR. DAVID!!!!!

Rex Gore

If Rex Gore had won the primary I bet the trooper would have been there and there would not have been a "MIX-UP" The whole court system is a joke and we need someone like Jon David to fix it.

Wrong trooper?

If the correct trooper wasn't issued a subpoena, which trooper did they contact? Subpoenas are usually issued weeks in advance of the court date and if, in fact, another trooper was subpoenaed, they should have known immediately that they had the wrong name because he is going to contact the D.A.'s office ASAP to have his name removed from the witness list so he doesn't have to appear.
Is the fire chief another one of Rex Gore's friends?

Heavens No. He and his wife

Heavens No. He and his wife are friends of Judge Lewis.

Friends of the Judge???

Heaven, are you sure about that? He doesn't have a wife. And he has never met Judge Lewis. Get your facts straight before you comment.

Brunswick County DWI

Please check to see who was the attorney that represented the fire chief. You scratch my back and I will scratch your back. I know that this exists in the court system. Favors do abound there!!

House's attorney

House was represented by the best defense attorney in Brunswick County. Back-scratching was unnecessary.

Everyone seems to be looking for a conspiracy behind every rock. How many of you were actually there and saw everything that happened? I know I wasn't, but I have read a news report from someone who was actually in the courtroom that day. Did any of you know that the ADA in the case had plenty of time to prepare and that she had initially called in sick that day? Have any of you ever filled out a subpoena form? I have and I can tell you that it is not rocket science. It was a HUGE mistake and if you want to blame anyone in this case you should look no further than the ADA who screwed it up.

House was in the wrong and if the DA's office is successful in filing the appeal, they will at least have the chief's own words on tape admitting his crime. The chief shouldn't have gotten off. He shouldn't be able to keep his job and neither should the ADA who mishandled this case.

As far as the decision Judge Lewis made, she followed the law. And as unfair as it may seem, the law doesn't always coincide with what the public wants, and that should be taken up with the lawmakers.

Speaking of lawmakers, we should be on their case to pass tougher laws on DWI in North Carolina. DWI is not a felony unless someone dies or the drunk driver is classified as a habitual offender. So, take all this energy you are using, reacting to a one-sided, biased report and put it to good use by calling your representatives and voting at the polls.

Huh?

What was all that nonsense they handed you the other day, about reaching him but he was in a meeting in Fayetteville and couldn't get back until late afternoon?

That entire DA's office needs to be given their walking papers. It's like there's a premium on incompetence....or else it's blatant corruption.

Common court practice

So my son had a DUI, goes to court with his attorney, court gets postponed because the arresting officer didn't show up (sick), next court date many weeks later - officer wasn't there again - this time the court indicates they (whoever they are) failed to notify the officer of the court date, so rescheduled again.... eventually son is found guilty (appropriately)but the penalty starts after the 3rd court date about 9 months after initial date. I've heard others experience similar issue... officers don't show up, court postpones, officers not notified, court postponed. Son showed up all three times & lost wages while missing work. There must be a better process... but I'd rather not be tried in any other country!

I've seen and heard of many

I've seen and heard of many many people's cases being postponed because an officer did not show up. I curious, how much does it cost to make a DWI go away?

Grief has only begun

Judge Ola Lewis will have more grief for her poor decision. This appears to be a conspired effort by all parties involved.The first course of action would be for citizens to pressure the Oak Island town council to relieve Mr. House of his duties.He is a poor role model for people in his department who promote safety.Next do not re-elect this lady to the bench. With a chronic drunk driving problem in the area , she obviously is not onboard in a concerted effort to crackdown on DWI's. Finally , anything that the office of Rex Gore is involved in deserves a serious review.

Has anyone

contacted the State Bar and requested an investigation?

They are responsible for monitoring the professional performance of those licensed to practice law.

WWAY, might be a good follow up to request a formal review by some folks from Raleigh.

In fact, I believe you can download forms from their website to begin the process.

Reporting

Thank you WWAY and your reporters. Otherwise, we would never know or get to talk about what is going on. This is the only media around here with the guts to report anything besides health news and soft stories. Keep going!

the iniquity's coming to light in this case every day

are truly shocking. such autocratic arrogance too!

This stinks to high heaven

Everything about this case is smelling even funkier by the day. The DA and the Judge seem to be hiding something big. Do we all remember this is the same judge that filed that ridiculous law-suit against the Bettie Fennell campaign worker because he posted something referencing her open campaigning for candidates(without using her name even) on a blog and signed his own name? She said it was defamation. Excuse me, but isn't she an elected, public official? Aren't they by their very office open to criticism and scrutiny? This would be like Obama sueing anyone who says anything negative about him. I warn any of you bloggers who have the courage to sign your own names, beware of the lawsuit from this judge.

Hi "46", I'm "99x" and I

Hi "46", I'm "99x" and I read early on in this debate that her honor did file a lawsuit against Betty Fennel's campaign manager, thus my real name shall be hidden too.

Judge Lewis may be a fine and upstanding person and a talented jurist BUT it is sad to see that she consented to risking her prestige and even career for what? Stonewalling a case against a DRUNK. I'm no stranger to enjoying a couple drinks and maybe even a couple more than prudent, BUT a .14 isn't a mistake... it isn't an extra beer for the road after leaving a barbecue, the last glass of wine in the bottle at a restaurant meal... A .14 is SERIOUSLY DRUNK. A BAC of .09 may be seen as a mistake or an indiscretion. A .14 is really "in the bag"... fortunately in this sordid case no-one wound up in a body bag.

It's too bad that Judge Lewis is on the doorstep of sh*tcanning her career because she cut too much slack for the benefit of a bufoon who lacked the class or breeding to keep his pie hole shut.

Had House had just a little class and half a brain he would have not boasted about getting off on a technicality.

What a dope...

I can Smell something too

I can Smell something too !!! I have lost my License for 4 years before and I had no accident and was stopped. But no-one dismissed my case and the Officer was not there, but there was a continuance For the Officer to be there. I had to go back to Court. Something Smells Like "Dead Shrimp" in this Heat .