Former DA Investigation Could Spark Legal Fight Over Cases

7:02 PM, Mar 10, 2010   |    comments
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Caswell County, NC -- The state probe of a former district attorney could trigger questioning of cases. According to a warrant, former Caswell County prosecutor  Joel Brewer is accused of impersonating an officer and misusing his authority.

As of Wednesday, Brewer was not charged with any crime.

Elon law professor Steve Friedland says even if Joel Brewer is not charged with a crime, the investigation could still affect cases he prosecuted.

"Did he cause a bad result through improper behavior?" Friedman said. "And that's the key. Was there improper behavior?"

Friedland points out defendants can seek appeals even without a guilty verdict against Brewer.

"Did this prosecutor take an unfair advantage or manipulate the system for some ulterior reason? If that's the case then there may be a reversal," said Friedland.

Friedland also notes if Brewer were found guilty of a crime, it's not likely most of his cases would be affected. A judge must find prejudice in a case.

"Which cases here were tainted if there was tainted cases? It doesn't automatically mean though if someone is found guilty of a crime that cases that they worked on were indeed prejudiced," said Friedland.

In a message Wednesday afternoon, Brewer told WFMY News 2: "This is not the appropriate time to discuss the matter. There will be an appropriate time but this is not it."

Friedland says if a defendant seeks an appeal, that would be a separate matter from the Brewer case.

WFMY News 2+

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