Judge Charges State Trooper With Contempt
Posted May 3, 2007 5:01 p.m. EDT
Updated May 4, 2007 2:33 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County judge has charged a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper with criminal contempt of court.
In court documents filed Thursday, District Court Judge Kristin Ruth alleges that Scott Harrison lied to her about being needed in another courtroom on April 16 when he had more than 12 cases waiting to be heard in her courtroom.
"His conduct was intentionally dishonest and willfully contemptuous," Ruth said in the filing.
Ruth also said that Harrison "willfully failed to comply with the schedule of the court" and caused "substantial interference with the business of court" without any lawful basis.
"This behavior was willfully contemptuous of the Court's authority and schedule and demonstrated a grossly reckless indifference to public justice," she said.
Harrison's attorney, Dan Boyce, issued a statement Thursday night, saying his client denies the allegations and feels that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
"Because of recent publicity and certain other factors, Trooper Harrison believes the judge was not given the whole story," Boyce said. "(He) appreciates the judge deciding to withhold judgment and to allow a different judge to hear the rest of the story, including Trooper Harrison's side."
Both Harrison and Ruth are scheduled to appear before a show cause hearing set for June 1 in which District Court Judge Joyce Hamilton, from Wake County, will preside.
"The Highway Patrol is aware of the Show Cause order against Trooper S.M. Harrison and is investigating the matter," Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said in a statement.
Harrison is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the case, Clendenin said.
Harrison's professional conduct was called into question earlier this year when a Holly Springs man claimed Harrison assaulted him in the processing area of the Wake County Jail while his hands were cuffed behind his back.
Numerous lawyers and judges have voiced concern to WRAL about Harrison's conduct on the job and in the courtroom. Several say the North Carolina Highway Patrol's Internal Affairs Division has contacted them regarding his conduct.