Procedural error backs up 94 cases in Vance County Superior Court

Mar. 25, 2013 @ 06:39 PM

A procedural error on Monday delayed grand jury decisions on 94 requests for indictments before Vance County Superior Court, prosecutors said.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Griffin said he did not expect the problem to cause a major delay.

Also confirming the delay was Assistant District Attorney Allison Capps, who said the work of the grand jury would resume today.

“The matters will be taken up again at 9:30 a.m.,” Capps said.

Griffin said the problem did not emanate from court personnel, but he could not comment on details about Judge Elaine M. Bushfan’s order on Monday that voided the 94 matters before the grand jury.

Expected as included in those matters are murder cases, including the first-degree murder charges against Edward Demario Hawkins for the shooting deaths of two persons Feb. 16 at the Scottish Inns motel.

Prosecutors in past comments indicated that they would seek indictments from the grand jury. Monday was the first opportunity.

They’ll now go back to the grand jury today, with witnesses and others relevant to the proceedings required to appear again.

“It resulted in the matters before the grand jury being voided,” Griffin said. “We do not expect any difficulties in those matters being resubmitted in the morning.”

Details about the judges’ order were not available.

Deborah Finch, the clerk of court for Vance County, said a signed copy of the judge’s order had not been presented to the clerk’s office to be added to the court records.

“The courtroom clerks have not been given an order by the judge,” Finch said.

She added the courtroom reporter and other court officials file copies for the clerk’s office in a timely manner following proceedings, and that is when the clerk’s office has the information available.

Griffin and Capps said they could not comment further about the procedural mishap or delay, and declined comment on specific cases that are included among matters up for indictment decisions this month.

“The grand jury’s deliberations are secret,” Griffin said.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.