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State Bar Investigating Former Cumberland County Prosecutors

Posted November 6, 2007

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— The North Carolina State Bar is investigating 1,000 traffic tickets dismissed by former prosecutors in Cumberland County.

The probe comes after District Attorney Ed Grannis accused two of his former prosecutors of dismissing cases before they quit to take jobs in private practice. Doing so would be in violation of a policy that says prosecutors should drop speeding charges only in rare circumstances.

One of the former prosecutors, John Briggs, now works for the Lewis, Deese and Nance Law Firm. Messages that WRAL left Tuesday with firm employees were not returned.

The other former prosecutor, Deno Frangakis, now works for the Williford, Hollers, Crenshaw and Boliek Law Firm. WRAL also left messages there, but received no response.

Grannis confirmed that the bar was reviewing two former assistant DAs, but would not comment further.

Grannis told the Fayetteville Observer on Monday that the two prosecutors dismissed "way more" than 1,000 traffic tickets during their final days on the job.

Briggs left office in September. Frangakis left last month.

It was not clear if any of the dismissed tickets involved drunken driving charges. Several years ago, Cumberland County had one of the lowest DWI conviction rates in the state.

The last time Grannis spoke on camera with WRAL was in November 2003. He said then that he was embarrassed that seven out of 10 suspected drunk drivers charged in the county were not convicted.

New district judges took office in January, and DWI conviction rates in the first six months of this year soared to 92 percent.

The State Bar would not comment on any investigation into the dismissed tickets. When the State Bar gets a complaint, it conducts a confidential investigation. If investigators find evidence of improper conduct, a trial is then conducted.

The North Carolina State Bar is the agency that licenses and regulates attorneys.


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