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Further Allegations of Misconduct surrounding former judge Randy Pool while State and Federal Investigations Loom

Since the sudden resignation of former Chief Judge Randy Pool, allegations of further misconduct have continued to surface. Many of the known victims are currently reluctant to reveal their stories or seek assistance in making any attempts to seek legal recourse for Judge Pool’s often retaliatory conduct. Judge Pool seemingly punished these other victims in ongoing court cases in which these women were involved. According to victims who have spoken confidentially about this matter, the basis for their reluctance is that they fear being prosecuted after learning that District Attorney Ted Bell opted to charge the first victim to come forward to publicly disclose Judge Pool’s misconduct with extortion.

As the community continues to wait for the ongoing investigations by the SBI, FBI, and Judicial Standards Commission – the existence of which Mr. Bell identified in his motion to prevent disclosure of all damaging information regarding Judge Pool’s misconduct to the public while prosecuting the first victim mentioned above – Judge Pool’s position on the bench remains vacant.

Since the end of Judge Pool’s tenure as the Chief Judge of District 29A, Governor Cooper has appointed numerous other judges to fill judicial vacancies in other districts across the state. While the delay in filling former Judge Pool’s position is unclear, information as the front-runner replacement candidate, Michelle McEntire, has begun to surface that raises concerns as to her possible appointment to the bench.

Although it will likely be necessary to await the outcomes of the ongoing state and federal investigations before fully understanding the damage created by Judge Pool’s actions, it is already known from the women who have been willing to speak confidentially that there are, at a minimum, dozens of other victims, many of whom were punished by Judge Pool in their cases pending before him in the event they failed to acquiesce in his solicitations.

Those who were complicit, often received favorable legal rulings at the expense of the opposing parties. It now appears that Ms. McEntire represented one of the women affected by Judge Pool’s misconduct, yet took no actions to help her client or to take any other actions to report or stop Judge Pool from continuing to harm those appearing before him based on their decision of whether to comply with his sexual demands.

Given the severity of the harm done to the people in this community by an elected judge, as well as the elected district attorney Ted Bell’s refusal to take any actions against former Judge Pool, it has become increasingly clear that lifting the silence and secrecy surrounding these issues is the only meaningful way to address these and other problems present in our local government. Despite multiple other victims coming forward to publicly relay their stories – with one such victim also being threatened by former Judge Pool that he would have her charged with extortion in the exact same fashion as the victim Mr. Bell is currently charging, it is critical that the people of District 29A know if any of the current candidates to replace former Judge Pool had any involvement in, or knowledge of, the judge’s actions. Further, any information suggesting other issues that could further damage the people of Rutherford and McDowell Counties should be known by the Governor in making his appointment to the judge’s seat.

On June 2, 2020, Ms. McEntire filed a Verified Rule 60 Motion in a case involving her client (the name and case information will not be provided in this article given the concerns that many of the victims of expressed), which is a legal mechanism to seek relief from a previous court order that was wrongfully entered by the court. In Ms. McEntire’s motion, she acknowledges that she was informed that Judge Pool was soliciting sexual favors from her client’s grandmother in early 2020. In response, Ms. McEntire represents that she spoke with her client about this information and that her client did, in fact, confirm that Judge Pool was engaging in sexual communications with the client’s grandmother who was hostile to the client’s position in the ongoing case.

Ms. McEntire then concludes that “rather than recusing himself, Judge Pool made rulings in the case without disclosing his personal involvement with people involved in the most essential allegations of the petition.” This case ended with an adverse ruling against Ms. McEntire’s client – a predictable outcome given that the grandmother who was adverse to the client’s position complied with Judge Pool’s advances.

While this client should have this case reviewed, the timing of Ms. McEntire’s motion is a concerning for a number of reasons:

  • First, although she expressly acknowledges confirming with her client that Judge Pool was engaging in misconduct with the grandmother, Ms. McEntire’s motion contains no representations that Ms. McEntire took any actions to help her client after verifying this information. Rather, she directs the blame at Judge Pool for not voluntarily disclosing his own misconduct, despite not even raising the issue in open court or in any court filing prior to the Rule 60 Motion.
  • Second, although she learned of Judge Pool’s actions that adversely affected her client’s case in such a way that the client’s rights regarding her children were harmed, Ms. McEntire waited until June 2, 2020 to take any actions admitting to verifying Judge Pool’s misconduct with a witness adverse to her own client’s position.
  • Third, Ms. McEntire provided no indication that she reported Judge Pool’s conduct to disciplinary agencies or law enforcement.

In fact, despite Ms. McEntire’s employment as an assistant district attorney and relationship with Mr. Bell, Mr. Bell continues refusing to charge Judge Pool for any of the actions involved with the victims that have come forward in hopes of ensuring the corruption of public officials in this district will not continue to harm others.

The concerns regarding Ms. McEntire’s potential appointment to Judge Pool’s seat do not end with her passive facilitation of Judge Pool’s predatory behavior toward the women of this community. While serving as the assistant district attorney to Mr. Bell, Ms. McEntire took actions that systematically harmed the African-American community in District 29A.

In May 2013, Darian Mosley, an African American man, was charged with the death of his girlfriend, a white female. On May 24, 2016, Mr. Mosely was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to at least twenty (20) years in prison. Ms. McEntire’s prosecution of the case generated significant media backlash and active protests in McDowell County for what many viewed as an unfair trial.

As but a few examples, a civil rights group, True Healing Under God, and Mr. Mosely’s family expressed outrage at the selection of an all-white jury, some of whom were seen sleeping during the trial.

Several spectators recalled that the judge personally knew at least one of the jurors and had ties with the juror’s family. This juror was seen winking at the family of the victim during the trial.

Others attending the protests recounted that Ms. McEntire distorted and misrepresented evidence. In late 2017, Mr. Mosely’s sentence was reduced to 13 years after successfully seeking recourse with the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

In 2017, Ms. McEntire on behalf Mr. Bell’s office, charged an African American man named Curtis O’Neil Logan with assault on a white female, assault inflicting serious injury constituting habitual misdemeanor assault, and attaining habitual felon status. Based on Ms. McEntire’s designation of Mr. Logan as a habitual felon, Ms. McEntire offered a plea deal whereby all of the charges would be consolidated into one Class D felony for which Mr. Logan would be sentenced to a term of 60 to 84 months, which Mr. Logan accepted.

Contrary to Ms. McEntire’s designation of Mr. Logan as a habitual felon, which drastically increases the length of active prison time for the charges at issues, there was no legal basis to support charging him as a habitual felon.

After Mr. Logan realized that Ms. McEntire had wrongly charged him as a habitual felon, Mr. Logan notified the district attorney’s office, which refused to correct the injustice that would have resulted in him remaining incarcerated far longer than legally permissible.

In fact, Mr. Logan filed an appeal identifying these unlawful actions and Mr. Bell, again, failed to afford Mr. Logan the right to be treated fairly and in accordance with the law. Nearly three years after being incarcerated for what the district attorney’s office knew was an unlawful categorization of Mr. Logan as a habitual felon, an agency operating outside of this district finally intervened, resulting in the termination of Mr. Logan’s incarceration.

In December 2016, Mr. Bell’s office obtained a grand jury indictment against another African American male, Derrick Maurice Berry, for first-degree forcible sex offense, attempted first-degree forcible rape, assault inflicting serious bodily injury and attempted first-degree murder against a white victim. Ms. McEntire was the prosecutor responsible for trying the case, which was set to begin on Monday, August 13, 2018.

On the preceding Friday, shortly before the close of business, however, Ms. McEntire filed a motion seeking to introduce otherwise inadmissible evidence due to a meeting she had just conducted with the victim where, according to Ms. McEntire, the victim no longer remembered the allegations against Mr. Berry with the level of detail as the days following the alleged incident.

In doing so, Ms. McEntire refused to produce any information from the interview she acknowledged holding with the victim, as well as other exculpatory evidence that had been withheld from Mr. Berry when Ms. McEntire produced discovery to defense counsel. If her efforts had been successful, Mr. Berry would have been deprived of critical evidence to his defense and would have been unable to mount a meaningful defense to the claims against him. Mr. Berry’s counsel forcefully responded with a motion for, among other things, sanctions. Mr. Berry’s counsel was successful in preventing Ms. McEntire from withholding this information and, immediately thereafter Ms. McEntire left her position at the district attorney’s office.

In light of the damage done to those involved in the judiciary, the destructive impact Judge Pool’s actions have had on the community’s faith in the legal system, and the ongoing racial issues that all hope will result in meaningful change, the community must remain informed about the problems that plague our government and about those seeking to ascend to official positions where those individuals will be the leaders entrusted to address those issues.

7 Replies to “Further Allegations of Misconduct surrounding former judge Randy Pool while State and Federal Investigations Loom

  1. Anyone else feel like we are all just sitting and watching Ted Bell kneeling on this victims neck trying to choke her out so she can’t talk? In case anyone wasn’t sure why people felt there were no other options than to riot to end corruption and abuse of authority – this is about as good of an example as you can get for what happens when the government stops working for, or responding to, the people. What’s it going to take for to stop this mess?

  2. He needs to be put away from the county and charged as a regular citizen that has done wrong. Wrong Is wrong no matter who the person is

  3. Each justice or judge of the United States shall take the following oath or affirmation before performing the duties of his office: “I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.” (June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 907; Pub. L. 101–650, title IV, § 404, Dec. 1, 1990, 104 Stat. 5124.)
    Each and every judge when being sworn in , raises his right hand and swears this oath .
    That does not mean that it ends there .

    It means that any citizen can be assured that they will receive a fair and just trial under the laws and statutes that are placed there in order to protect all rights that are endowed by those statues . This does not mean that one can pick and choose which statutes to follow according to backroom deals ,and other atrocities , it means that the law is followed to the letter regardless of race , creed , color ,gender, or religion .

    While it saddens me to see such a travesty , it does not surprise me that this has taken place , as it seems that more and more injustice is being unveiled at an alarming rate . It also brings mistrust to a county of people who may begin to feel that they are no longer safe and secure to testify , much less receive a fair trial , when allegations find them sitting behind bars , or being witness to civil and criminal activity .

    This also makes its more challenging for other Judges , Attorneys , and those who are charged with this kind of responsibility , that do take their oath , statutes , and laws of our state seriously , to not come unfairly under scrutiny . And all of this is simply due to one man who pushed aside his oath , and made up his own selfish rules , regardless of the outcome of those who came before him , expecting a fair and unbiased trial .

    We live in a time that is hard enough , one in which we seek the truth and justice more and more . No one should ever have to worry about coming forward , testifying , or even standing trial , for fear that the person residing over such a thing will toss out truth , and replace it with personal gain . We all lose when that happens .

    For all of those involved in uncovering the truth , and shedding light on what was so insidiously trying to remain hidden , I salute you . For all that continue to serve in the judicial system regardless of its title , follow the statutes , and take your oaths seriously , Thank You .
    They say Man is capable of as much atrocity as he has imagination , and right now I imagine that many have much work to do now .

    I am just glad to know that in 2020 , there are still those that will stand and say , You broke the law , and not even you are above that .

  4. If this judge rigged the trial with Michelle’s client, why has he not been charged for that????? Am I missing something?

  5. One attorney screamed foul from 2007 onwards. He was ignored by the bar, judicial standards other attorneys and judges. He now gets to say ” I told y’all I was right”. Finally somebody listened. This guy went through hell from pool (intensionally lower case) for years and NEVER backed down. He’s laughing the laugh of Klingon justice– retribution is a desert best served ice cold. May pools retirement be like fog on an August morning, here for a minute then gone forever.

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