Thursday, January 3, 2013

Top 10 stories of 2013 - No. 1

    At the end of the year, publications often do a recap of what they deem to be the biggest stories of that calendar year. But I dance to a different drummer so below I've posted the first of what potential Top 10 stories I would like to read in 2013. To keep the blog from being too long, I will post them separately over the next several days. They will not appear in any particular order - it isn't possible to predict the impact of stories until all the facts are known so there is no way of predicting which will prompt the most impact and/or interest.
   So here we go...

2013 Story No. 1

    The North Carolina Court of Appeals turned down Resident Superior Court Judge Jerry Tillett's request for a second hearing about Kill Devil Hills' appeal of an order issued by Judge Toby Fitch which, if upheld, would have allowed police officers to take their employment complaints directly to Tillett.
    In his petition to the COA, the judge, via his attorneys, argued that because the Court of Appeals mentioned that Tillett didn't have authority to issue an earlier order demanding that the town provide copies of several personnel files, that he has been aggrieved and deserves an opportunity to tell his side of the story.
   In his filing with the COA, it was stated that Tillett was seeking review, in part, because the Judicial Standards Commission - the body that oversees and, when applicable, disciplines judges for bad behavior - might be investigating Tillett's actions taken against the Kill Devil Hills Police Department and other town officials.
    The COA in its ruling noted that there was no hearing, charges or existing court case on which to base the orders - Fitch's or Tillett's. Now, denied a hearing by the Court of Appeals, Tillett's attorneys have petitioned the NC Supreme Court to review the COA's refusal to allow another hearing so that Tillett can speak.
   Tillett's filing with the Supreme Court can be found at this link.
   The Town's response to the Supreme Court filing can be accessed at this link.
   Clearly, not all of this story has filtered to the surface. Let's hope that in the coming year, readers will have an opportunity to read a story or stories that elaborates on these issues:
   1. What prompted the police officers to file complaints against the police chief with Judge Tillett? How did they know that they could take such action?
   2. How did the complaining police officers choose the attorney who represented them in their failed lawsuit against the town and police chief? Who and how was the attorney paid?
   3. How did the complaining police officers choose the attorney who represented them in their failed attempt to have District Attorney Frank Parrish removed from office? Who and or how was the attorney paid?
   4. In addition to the attempt to remove him from office, were there other actions or threats made against the district attorney? If so, what were they and by whom were they made?
   5. How did the complaining police officers choose the attorney who represented them in their failed attempt to have Superior Court Judge Alma Hinton disciplined by the Judicial Standards Commission after she determined that there was no valid reason to remove the district attorney from office? Who and/or how was the attorney paid?
   6. After issuing his order that would have allowed all police department personnel complaints to go directly to Judge Tillett, why did Judge Fitch say he did not have jurisdiction over the matter? Why did Fitch sign the order when there was no existing case and it was outside his judicial district? Why didn't he file a response to the Town's appeal to the Court of Appeals?
   It's obvious that the entire story about this matter has not been made public. Let's hope all the facts surface this year so that those who are guiltless have their reputations cleared and those with ulterior motives have a bright light shone on them. The public deserves no less and the press has a responsibility to keep digging until they hit the bottom of the trash heap.


  1. These are good questions. Would like to know why the former town attorney didn't try to stop any of this from happening. Could it be the reason is because he and the judge are business partners? That would be a good question to add. Another is how can an attorney talk about his former client?

  2. Another interesting part is why these questions have not been asked by the other so called news outlets. The fact that the former KDH Town attorney has a bar hearing scheduled and none of that seems to be reported but the Voice has reported on an attorney from Kitty Hawk that also has to go before the bar. Seems like alot of friendships have gotten in the way of the right thing being done in many situations. Shame on these people for being such hypocrites.