WAXHAW, N.C. — Taxpayers continue to pay a Gaston County prosecutor's salary nearly two months after his arrest for heroin and meth charges.
Assistant district attorney James Graham is paid almost $75,000 per year, according to our partners at the Gaston Gazette.
Graham is in rehab after Waxhaw police pulled him over for speeding in April and found drugs in his car.
Officials said in order for his insurance to cover rehab he needs to be on the payroll.
Attorneys who worked with and faced Graham were shocked.
"It's very sad and I know that my thoughts and my prayers are with him," defense attorney Michael Neece said.
Neece said it's hard to believe the allegations.
Graham reportedly consented to a search that led to the discovery of 10 syringes, all of which were tested at the scene.
- Six filled with heroin.
- Three filled with meth.
- Two were empty.
"This is an extraordinarily unusual circumstance,” legal expert James Wyatt said. “I have never heard of a case like this."
Reporter Ken Lemon asked Wyatt whether, if Graham is found guilty, defendants who were convicted by him can have their judgments overturned.
"This district attorney was not a witness and was not essentially part of the evidence presented," Wyatt said.
A defendant would have to show that Graham's judgment was impaired and Wyatt said that is very difficult to prove.
Neece said Graham prosecuted several of his clients.
"At no point and time was his integrity or anything in the way,” Neese said.
The district attorney has not said if he will fire Graham.
The North Carolina Bar Association is forgiving of attorneys who have substance abuse issues.
If Graham declares he has a drug problem, he could be enrolled in a treatment plan and be allowed to continue practicing when bar officials believe he is ready to return to court.
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