Judge to hear request to unseal Catawba Sheriff's Office search warrants on Thursday

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - A judge will hear a request from a coalition of media organizations, including WBTV, to unseal two search warrants that were executed on the Catawba County Sheriff's Office last month.

The warrants were executed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation in April as part of an investigation into Jason Reid, a former captain at the sheriff's office who is the son of current Sheriff Coy Reid and is running to replace his father.

The NCSBI began investigating after Reid's ex-girlfriend reported finding a GPS tracking device on her car that she said Reid used to track her movements.

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A judge in Catawba County signed an order to seal the two warrants the same afternoon they were executed even though the warrants were issued by a judge in Union County.

The motion filed by the media coalition on Tuesday said the sealing order was issued at the request of Sheriff Coy Reid and his personal attorney, Lisa Dubs.

When WBTV questioned the way in which the judge sealed the order, the judge responded by issuing a second order making all details of the search warrants and the process by which they were sealed secret.

Attorneys for the media coalition have argued in court filings that the judge's orders violated established case law, a local order governing the sealing of search warrants, the North Carolina Constitution and the United States Constitution.

A hearing on the request to unseal the warrants was originally scheduled to take place on Monday morning. But the hearing has been moved up and will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Gaston County Courthouse.

It is not clear whether the judge presiding over the hearing will allow the public to observe the legal proceedings, as is the generally accepted practice in North Carolina courts.

WBTV plans to be in court for the hearing and will have the latest updates online and on-air.

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