Authorities: Court Clerk Tried To Fix Friend's Case
Posted October 27, 2006 9:15 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County deputy court clerk has been charged with trying to get a friend's case dismissed and has been suspended, authorities said Friday.
Jermaine Brown, 32, of 2504 Tryon Grove Drive in Raleigh, was arrested Thursday by State Bureau of Investigation agents on a charge of obstruction of justice after the Wake County District Attorney's Office called for an investigation.
Brown's position handles paperwork for a variety of court cases, and authorities said he tried to mislead prosecutors about a friend's criminal case so the charges would be dismissed.
Wake County Clerk Jan Pueschel suspended Brown without pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation. He has worked as a deputy court clerk for more than seven years and has an annual salary of $32,000.
The felony charge carries a penalty of up to 15 months in prison.
Pueschel said she's restricted in what she can say about the case because it's a personnel matter.
"He took an oath, and he is an officer of the court," Pueschel said. "Ethically, yes, the buck stops with me. I fully accept that responsibility, but I really don't know what happened yet.
"If he's broken his oath, then certainly we'll take appropriate action."
Brown is free on a $5,000 unsecured bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 16.
"He's an outstanding young man of impeccable character," defense attorney Bill Young said. "I think (he's) trusted throughout the courthouse -- incredibly personable. It's certainly my hope right now that this is some major misunderstanding."