The issue revolved around an argument that the patrol treated Trooper Edward K. Royal more harshly than it had treated other troopers who the force said had failed to conform to the law and had engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer.
The case stemmed from Royal's talking with a decoy female Fayetteville police officer in July 2002. City police did not charge Royal, but they did make his Highway Patrol superiors aware of the incident.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Narley Cashwell had ruled that the state was wrong not to follow an administrative law judge's direction to reinstate Royal, even though he had lost his certification as a law-enforcement officer. The state Court of Appeals said in its ruling Tuesday that Cashwell had made the right decision.
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