Editor’s Note: Everybody has heard the old saying that “Lawyers have a license to lie in Court.” The fact is, that old saying is NOT true. Lawyers do NOT have a license to lie. North Carolina law and Federal law as well as the North Carolina State Bar Rule 3.3 says lawyers can be sanctioned for telling lies to the Court or for filing pleadings that allege things that are NOT true. Especially knowingly NOT true. The only thing is, basically all lawyers do it and, therefore, they won’t complain on one another. To the detriment of their clients. Previous to August 2021, I have no personal knowledge of a lawyer in Cleveland County or representing Cleveland County Governmental agencies ever being accused, much less sanctioned for lying to a Judge during a Court hearing or in Court Documents. Even in the case of Cleveland County Schools filing a frivolous lawsuit against Sheriff Alan Norman. The schools never did a thing except to brag on what good lawyers they had.
However, things have changed.
First, the legality of lawyers, the truth and other bad acts:
Rule 11 in the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure–General Statute-NCGS 1A-1 (a) states in part that: a pleading “is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.” From my experience court watching, this is standard practice for lawyers when they represent Cleveland County Schools, Cleveland Community College the Commissioners and the City of Shelby. His case of interest in this article is NO exception. I will include the Federal Court filing documents that show so many motions to Dismiss or to “Seal Documents” and such. You can see for yourself.
Rule 11, NCGS 1A-1(c)(2)a, also states, in part, “That all the material allegations of the pleadings are true to his personal knowledge.” A prime example of lawyer lying to the Judge happened in the Case of Willie Green in his lawsuit against Stacey Heavner-associated with the City of Shelby denying Mr. Green’s application for a zoning change. IN that case Heavener’s attorney, Daniel Talbert, told Judge Jamie Hodges a bunch of whoppers. Scroll on back a few articles for my article about that. Mr. Green has personally filed a Complaint with the North Carolina State Bar about that. We will let you know what happens about that when the “investigations” are done.
Rule 11 also states that a complaint alleging a violation of Rule 11 may result in an offending lawyer being sanctioned for his or her violation.
Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure pretty much says the same thing as the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, except that Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure imposes a threshold prefiling investigation that, while appearing straightforward, might leave doubt about what satisfies the requisite inquiry. Under Rule 11, there is an affirmative duty to investigate both as to law and as to fact before a complaint is filed.
Federal Court Records (Public Records) show that Rev. Dante Murphy has filed a Complaint in Federal Court alleging Rule 11 violations against Attorney Stephanie Webster who is representing the Cleveland County Commissioners in a lawsuit that was started by alleged illegal acts of the Cleveland County Department of Social Services., Commissioner Chairman Doug Bridges and others. That complaint was filed in Federal Court on August 20, 2021 related to a Court Hearing in Federal Court in Asheville on August 2, 2021. I attended that very same hearing and have a bit to say later on in this article. Rev. Murphy’s Complaint is a public record and I have provided that Complaint and supporting documents at the end of this article.
Rev. Murphy’s filing in Federal Court also included statements that he intended to file Complaints to the North Carolina State Bar against Lawyer Stephanie Webster (representing Commissioner Chairman Doug Bridges, the Commissioners, Cleveland County, The DSS, DSS Director Katie Sawyer and County Manager Brien Epley) as well as Deputy Cleveland County Attorney Martha Thompson for violation of the State Bar’s ethics rules. Especially Ethics Rule 3.3 which prohibits lawyers from telling lies to the judge during court hearings. The hearing in Federal Court on August 2, 2021 especially.
For me, the August 2, 2021 Federal Court hearing In Asheville was, for me, a Court Watching adventure. I attended that hearing. Partly because I was named in the Federal Lawsuit as a witness and partly because it was possible, since I had written and published a so-called “Public Deposition” article that stated exactly why I was interested in fighting corruption in government (Cleveland County government especially) and to define exactly what I knew about the particulars regarding the lawbreaking that had generated Rev. Murphy’s lawsuit to begin with.