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FIRST ON 9: Pitt Co. ADA Phil Entzminger has law license suspended for 2 years for ethics violation

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) - A Superior Court Judge has suspended Pitt County Assistant District Attorney Phillip Entzminger's license to practice law for two years.

Superior Court Judge Marvin Blount issued the ruling on Monday. It stemmed from a Fall 2017 case in which Blount found Entzminger had violated ethical standards and lied to the court.

In September 2017, Entzminger was tasked with prosecuting the State vs. Haleigh Aguilar case involving a DWI charge. Entzminger failed to notify the court and defendant, who had flown in from Hawaii for the trial, that the state's main witness who had administered the breathalyzer test, Officer Sinclair, would be unable to attend the hearing. 

When Judge Jeffery Foster questioned why the court and defendant weren't made aware of this, Entzminger told them he had just found out, which later was found to be a lie.

Entzminger asked for a continuance in the trial, which was denied by the judge. 

According to court records, Entzminger completed, signed and filed a "Prosecutors' Dismissal and Explanation" on September 14, 2017. 

In that explanation, Entzminger wrote, "oddly enough, the Judge indicated the DWI case should have been set up further up in calendar because defendant was from Hawaii. All defendants simple need to move out of the state after being charged with a crime if that is the case."

He continued on to write that he "could have proved all of the elements but a Superior Court Judge denied the motion to continue for lack of an analyst to show the .12."

In his Monday ruling, Judge Blount found Entzminger had violated professional conduct rules when he filed the document, saying it showed "disregard for the dignity of the Court and demonstrates undignified and discourteous conduct that is degrading to the Court and that breeds disrespect for the Court and the legal profession."

Judge Blount also found that Entzminger mislead the court when saying he had only found out just minutes before the trial that Officer Sinclair would be unable to attend.

Entzminger was found not guilty on all criminal contempt charges.

Judge Blount ruled Entzminger must surrender his law license within 30 days of the ruling. Entzminger could petition for a stay only after six months of the suspension term had passed.

Entzminger has since filed an appeal of the judge's decision. Due to that, both he and the District Attorney's office said they would not comment when approached by WNCT.

 


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