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Judge Dismisses Drunk Driving Case Involving Racial Profiling Accusations

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DURHAM, N.C. — A Durham Superior Court judge dismissed a drunk driving case Thursday that involved accusations of racial profiling. The defense argued that a state Highway Patrol trooper pulled the driver over because he was Hispanic.

After two days of testimony, Judge Orlando Hudson ruled that the defense proved their case that Trooper Clinton Carroll had engaged in racial profiling when he pulled over Rodriguez "Juan" Villeda and charged him with DWI.

Wednesday, Durham Public Defender Bob Brown and Assistant Public Defender Scott Holmes asked Hudson to dismiss a DWI charge and a seat-belt-violation charge brought by Carroll against Villeda in August 2000.

Attorneys for Villeda argued the case should be dropped because Carroll was pulling over Hispanic drivers because he suspected they were drunk.

"I'm not surprised that racial profiling is still going on in our society. I do congratulate the judge for having the courage to actually make that ruling," Brown said.

"We should be able to put faith in an officer. The citizens should remain confident that their protection's there, that we can identify when an officer's not doing the things he is supposed to be doing," said Sgt. Everett Clendenin of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

Carroll, who was not on trial, was cleared of racial profiling in an internal investigation by the state Highway Patrol earlier in the year.Wednesday, a highway patrol spokesman said the investigation would not be reopened; Thursday he said he was not sure what will happen.

Carroll, who is back on the job, has been transferred from Durham to Alamance County.

The decision could mean other DWI cases involving Carroll could be dropped.

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