07/08/11 — Motions slowing Dail case

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Motions slowing Dail case

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 8, 2011 1:46 PM

A lawsuit involving three former chiefs of the Goldsboro Police Department and an individual who served 18 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit is at a standstill as attorneys on both sides await a court decision on how the case will proceed.

Dwayne Dail, who was convicted of rape in 1988 and exonerated after DNA testing determined he was innocent in 2007, alleges in the lawsuit that his constitutional rights were violated by the city and several police officers , including former chiefs Jackie Warrick and Tim Bell, during his trial and incarceration.

Scott Hart, an attorney from the law offices of Sumrell, Sugg, Carmichael, Hicks and Hart in New Bern, said Thursday that the case, which is in federal court, was still hung up on preliminary motions and that he couldn't comment further on the proceedings. Hart is representing the city and all other defendants in the case.

"There are some motions pending, and they're before the court for ruling," he said. "The status at this point is just to wait and see."

Hart said in October that he did not expect even a tentative trial date until the latter part of this year at the earliest.

Dail's suit claims that in 1995, when his attorney requested any physical evidence be preserved for DNA testing, he was told that the Wayne County Clerk's Office had destroyed the rape kit in 1994. The lawsuit goes on to say that in subsequent years when the Innocence Project teams and the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence inquired about the evidence, they were told that the rape kit had been destroyed and that no physical evidence remained.

In June 2007, however, an officer with the Goldsboro Police Department's evidence team told the center that some evidence -- which had been stored in a Goldsboro police locker instead of being destroyed -- did exist, and in August 2007, after DNA testing, Dail was exonerated. William Neal was convicted and sentenced for the rape in April.

Neal entered a motion to strike certain claimed facts from the testimony, among them one stating he was known as a peeping Tom among the Jefferson Park complex and another stating that he drove a light blue truck. The filing took place Jan. 18, and was denied by District Judge Terrence Boyle on June 8.

The denial refers to Neal as a non-party in the case and states that he "lacks standing to file any materials in this case."