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Lawyers argue whether to dismiss former official’s DWI case

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

Lawyers for Tim Newman as well as state prosecutors reiterated their arguments Monday for why a drunken driving charge against Newman, former chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, should or should not be thrown out.

In November, District Judge Kimberly Best threw out Newman’s charge, ruling that Newman had been kept in jail too long after his arrest in May 2012 on DWI and hit-and-run charges.

Newman was charged after a May 22 accident at Interstate 77 and LaSalle Street after 10 p.m.

It took deputies at the jail more than three hours on May 23 to release Newman after a magistrate had given him an unsecured bond at 1:15 a.m. Newman got out at 4:34 a.m.

A couple of weeks after Best’s ruling, Mecklenburg prosecutors announced they were appealing.

In court Monday, defense attorneys Brad Smith and Christopher Connelly emphasized that the three-hour holdup prevented him from building his case. Based on court precedent, that would have caused an inherent prejudice, which is why the only remedy would have been to throw out the case, they said.

Prosecutor Steve Sellers argued that the delay, although “troublesome,” did not create any prejudice. For instance, he said, Newman testified he turned his wife down when she offered to visit him at the holding center on Spector Drive.

Newman also said he never would have thought to go to a hospital once he was released to get a blood-alcohol reading.

“(Newman) can’t say, ‘This time is so incredibly important to me being able to build my case’ and moments following that say, ‘Well it wouldn’t have mattered anyway,’ ” Sellers said. “He never called anyone to come see him. ... That’s on him.”

Superior Court Judge Richard Doughton said Monday he would review cases to see what the precedent is.

The case reconvenes at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Arriero: 704-804-2637; Twitter: @earriero
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