Local News

Johnston attorneys in ticket-fixing case get law licenses back

Posted October 5, 2011 11:20 a.m. EDT

— The North Carolina State Bar has reinstated the law licenses of two of the four Johnston County defense attorneys who pleaded guilty last year to participating in a ticket-fixing scheme.

Vann Sauls and Jack McLamb had the remaining 2½ years of their license suspensions lifted by the State Bar, as long as they comply with various conditions that the disciplinary board set out for them.

The men pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges in the ticket-fixing case. Former Johnston County Assistant District Attorney Cyndi Jaeger and defense attorneys Chad Lee and Lee Hatch are serving prison terms in the case, while Sauls, McLamb and court clerk Portia Snead were placed on probation.

Seventy dismissal forms with Jaeger's signature on them were filed after she left her job in September 2007. All of the defendants in the cases were clients of the four attorneys – most were represented by Lee, a former Johnston County prosecutor – and Snead deleted the attorneys' names from at least two cases from the courthouse computer system.

Thirty-four cases that were dismissed involved alcohol-related offenses, mostly driving while impaired. Some of the dismissed cases involved repeat offenders, alcohol levels more than two times the legal limit or people who were later charged with DWI again.

A judge ruled in February that authorities couldn't reinstate the charges that were illegally dismissed.