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NC court tosses 12 felony convictions against ex-deputy

A North Carolina appeals court on Tuesday threw out a former sheriff’s deputy’s conviction for falsifying firearms training and certification requirements for his former boss. That includes the then-county sheriff, who is currently serving a sentence for a crime.

A three-judge Court of Appeals panel vacated former Granville County Deputy Chad Coffey’s 12 felony obstruction of justice convictions, finding that the indictment against him contained all the necessary elements for prosecution. He declared that he had not done so. A jury returned a guilty verdict in February 2022, after which Mr Coffey received a five-month prison sentence.

Coffey was a certified firearms instructor and taught courses for sheriffs and their deputies to meet their annual in-service firearms training requirements.

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According to trial evidence, Coffey failed to participate in mandatory training for several years in the 2010s at the request of then-Granville County Sheriff Bryndell Wilkins and Wilkins’ chief deputy. Participated in spite of the fact that both parties had not obtained firearm scores. .

A North Carolina court has thrown out the conviction of a former Granville County deputy. (Fox News)

Coffey admitted at trial to forging the documents, and his lawyer said his client was following Wilkins’ orders and had no knowledge he was breaking the law.

Justice Toby Hampson wrote the general opinion that obstruction of justice includes intent “to obstruct or obstruct a judicial or public proceeding, or an investigation or potential investigation that may lead to a judicial or public proceeding.” said that it is necessary.

“While these actions are unlawful, there are no facts in the indictment to support the allegation that (Coffey’s) actions were undertaken to preclude any subsequent investigation or potential legal proceedings,” Hampton said. added. In a separate opinion, Chief Justice Chris Dillon suggested the conduct could constitute a separate common law crime called “misconduct in public office.”

Wilkins served as sheriff for 10 years until 2019, when he was convicted in 2022 on fraud-related charges involving obstruction of justice and false gun training records. Wilkins appealed these convictions.

Last October, Wilkins pleaded guilty to several other charges related in part to allegations of improper evidence practices, as well as a charge of encouraging someone to kill another former deputy.

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Wilkins is scheduled to be released in February 2025, according to state corrections records.

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