Local News

Former U.S. prosecutor practiced on suspended law license

Posted August 2, 2010

— The validity of some federal cases tried in North Carolina could be in question because a former assistant U.S. attorney assigned to them didn't have a law license.

David Folmar didn't turn in his dues and paperwork to keep his law license in November 2003, yet he continued to prosecute hundreds of drug cases across the federal court's Middle District, which includes Durham and Hoke counties in the central part of the state, as well as Guilford, Forsyth and Cabarrus counties.

According to the North Carolina State Bar, Folmar lied about his suspended license and hid it from the U.S. attorney and the courts for more than five years.

Raleigh defense attorney Karl Knudsen believes the license lapse could lead to a technical challenge for Folmar's cases.

"I would be arguing on behalf of anyone who was convicted as a result of that indictment, that the indictment was fatally defective because there was no authority to submit it in the first place," Knudsen said.

Folmar's attorney, Wade Smith, of Raleigh, calls the situation a "very tragic story."

He said Folmar was a "marvelous attorney" who "became sick" with severe depression.

When the State Bar issued a five-year suspension in June, the discipline noted the prosecutor was considered a solid attorney.

Former federal prosecutor Kieran Shanahan said he believes having other licensed prosecutors involved in the cases that Folmar worked on will protect the integrity of cases.

"Can a defendant really say he was somehow deprived of his rights?" Shanahan said.

So far, appeals judges have found no prejudice to toss out Folmar's prosecutions.

As appeals over Folmar's license lapse continue, the State Bar ordered him to get help for his depression and alcohol abuse.

If he shows improvement, he can apply to get his law license back in 2012.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • foronemoreday Aug 10, 2010


  • foronemoreday Aug 3, 2010

    This is just unexcusable !! All cases he handled , hundreds !! What now on those cases ? Those in Fed. Prisons ? Those already released ? If Folmar had no license ( And he TAUGHT those classes and seminars ! ) Google his name ... lots pop up - Read the THREE things from NCSB ... his answers ... depressed ... Have read a lot on him thru googling name ... which all on him depresses me !! I have loved ones in Fed P NOW who were prosecuted by him !! ANYONE who had loved ones prosecuted by him , SEEK HELP !! FILE MOTION !! BUT Will any lawyer want their cases now ? Buck the system and fellow court officals , etc .... And they thought Nifong was bad !! LOL LOL LOL - Enough is enough ! Wrong is wrong and he was guilty of OBJ by his lies ! Why did Wagoner or no one catch this sooner ? From 03 - 09 ??!! Wagoner got an email that alerted her ... in 09 ..... NCSB sent him notices ... Dont these Government Folks & Offices keep in touch ?!! SHAME

  • beachboater Aug 3, 2010

    Just how long are you gonna blame Bush for everything wrong inthe Federal Government????????? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    How many Obama appointees had to withdraw or resign for racist views, tax cheats, and whatever else? I didn't count but there have been several. It seemed everyone he tried to appoint in the early months was disqualified.

    But,alas, those were probably Bush's fault also.

    The cost of the Obama health care plan was greatly under estimated until it was passed. I guess that was because of some Bush appointees in the CBO.

    This is so ....................whatever.

  • Tarheelfan13 Aug 3, 2010

    If the federal government is a separate sovereign from the state government then why does a state bar association even affect the business of the federal government anyway? United States Judges and United States Attorneys are selected by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Now I understand assistant United States Attorneys are hired but their respective qualifications should be predicated on United States law and not North Carolina law IMHO. The irony here to use an example is that under the Constitution that nothing forbids the President from selecting everyday non lawyer or non judge Joe Public off the street for the Supreme Court(the highest court in the land) or even federal judgeships. (Although as a general rule there are informal criteria/qualifications the President and the Senate uses for such selections). Maybe there is a US attorney policy or US guidelines that Assistant US attorneys be licensed because I am sure 100 percent are.

  • BigUNCFan Aug 3, 2010


    I did not like Bush either but this whole blame everything on Bush or Obama is just childish. Things happen. Don't expect your prez to babysit the whole world. It is just not feasible.

    Both guys did/are doing the best they can and doing what they think it right for the country. Do you really believe that either guy hates his country and is out to do us in. That is just stupid.

    As for the hire, Wagoner probably read a great resume and made the hire. If is is a good liar and covers things up well, it is hard to catch a liar. The lady probably has a lot on her plate and it probably would not occur to her that one of her attnys was lying about his license. That is on this guy, not his boss.

    I am sure the same thing could and probably would have happend had Obama appointed the US Attny. He LIED but we are blaming his boss because she was a Bush appointee. That is just illogical (and I don't even like GW)

  • Tax Man Aug 2, 2010

    I'm with you whatusay! Just a racket all these lawyers and politicians.

  • hp277 Aug 2, 2010

    Just another left-over mess from the Bush Justice Department. Folmar was hired and supervised by US Attorney Anna Mills Wagoner, a Bush appointee.

    Way to go, Anna!

  • harmstrong4 Aug 2, 2010

    Why give them back? He has already lied for 5 years and now all his cases will be reviewed..$$$$$$$

  • whatusay Aug 2, 2010

    Personally I don't see the need to have a license in the first place. Anyone should be able to argue the merits of a case and allow a jury to decide innocense or guilt. A piece of paper should not decide right from wrong, or innocent or guilty. This country would not be held hostage to lawyers, who usually become corrupt politcians.