10/29/10 — Dail sues Goldsboro and Police Department

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Dail sues Goldsboro and Police Department

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 29, 2010 2:12 PM

Dwayne Dail is suing the city of Goldsboro and several of its police officers alleging negiligence in the rape case that kept him in prison for more than 18 years.

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in Wayne County Superior Court in August and amended in September, names the city, current Chief Tim Bell, former chief Jackie Warrick, the estate of former chief Chester Hill, former police officer John Wiggins, the estate of former police officer Ronald Melvin, and other John and Jane Does (unidentified officers) as defendents.

However, explained local attorney Darrell Brown with Everett, Womble, Lawrence and Brown -- James Womble is the city's attorney -- the suit is now in federal court, and so a firm out of New Bern is handling it.

"Federal lawsuits are not something we handle every day," Brown said. "We can confirm that a lawsuit has been filed in federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The city has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation."

Scott Hart, an attorney with Summrell, Sugg in New Bern, who is representing all the defendents, also said he could not comment on the specifics of the case because of its status as pending litigation, but explained that it was the defense who requested it be moved into federal court earlier this month.

"(Dail) claims his constitutional rights were violated, which makes it a federal issue," he said. "What I can say is that we are still sifting through all the facts and circumstances and that we will aggressively defend it."

The defense's response to the complaint is due on or before Nov. 22. Then, Hart explained, the federal court will set a calendar for the case. However, he continued, he does not expect even a tentative trial date until the latter part of next year at the earliest.

Dail was convicted in 1987 of raping a 12-year-old girl. He was exonerated in 2007 after new DNA evidence -- evidence that had been stored in a Goldsboro police locker instead of being destroyed -- came to light. In April, William Neal was convicted and sentenced for the rape.