Lawyers Seek Dismissals In DWI Cases Due To Alleged Racial Profiling
Posted October 3, 2002
DURHAM, N.C. — Driving while drunk is a serious charge, but a number of DWI cases may never go to trial because the arresting officer is accused of racial profiling.
Attorney David Wicker wants two of his cases involving Hispanic drivers and Trooper Clinton Carroll thrown out for lack of probable cause.
Last month, Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson dismissed DWI charges against one driver. Hudson found that Carroll had targeted Juan Villeda, pulling him over without probable cause because he was Hispanic. Wicker is one of six lawyers who will seek dismissals, possibly affecting more than a dozen cases. Most of them were put on hold pending the outcome of Villeda's case.
"In talking with the state, we felt it was appropriate to continue them beyond Judge Hudson's hearing to determine whether or not any issues raised there were also raised at the district court level," Wicker said.
Wicker said if the dismissal motions are denied, wicker said last month's courtroom hearing could be replayed again and again.
"There's quite likely you'll hear exactly the same exact testimony from exactly the same witnesses again," he said.
Many people have questioned Hudson's ruling, asking if the drivers were drunk, does it really matter why they were pulled over. Wicker said it does.
"You can't violate the rights of many to just get one or two," he said.
The district attorney said he does not plan to dismiss any of these cases, which are scheduled to be heard later this month. The state is planning to appeal Judge Hudson's ruling in the Villeda case.