Catawba DA finds Sheriff candidate Jason Reid not credible to testify in criminal cases

Catawba DA finds Sheriff candidate Jason Reid not credible to testify in criminal cases
Published: Oct. 13, 2017 at 8:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2017 at 3:05 PM EDT
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CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A top candidate to replace retiring Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid has been disqualified from testifying in criminal cases due to a lack of credibility, according to a letter sent from the county's prosecutor.

District Attorney David Learner sent a letter to Jason Reid - who is the son of Coy Reid and is running in the 2018 election to replace his father - in July outlining issues of credibility that, Learner said, would prevent him from being a witness in any criminal cases.

Such letters are commonly referred to as Giglio letters amongst criminal attorneys and law enforcement.

"The District Attorney's Office will no longer be able to use Captain Jason C. Reid as a witness for the State of North Carolina in any criminal case within the 25th Judicial District," Learner's letter said.

The letter outlines three reasons why Reid's credibility could be called into question by defense attorneys:

  • A case in Lincoln County in which Reid was the supervisor that resulted in a dismissal due to credibility issues with the officer involved. A total of 58 other cases were dismissed as a result.
  • An incident in 2005 in which Reid admitted to using counterfeit currency and misrepresenting which law enforcement agency he worked for.
  • The fact that the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina will not prosecute cases in which Reid has taken part.

Document: Read the letter sent by DA David Learner to Cpt. Jason Reid

In an interview with WBTV, Sheriff Coy Reid defended his son and accused Learner of lying about his son's reputation to score political points ahead of the 2018 election.

"All three of the allegations are false, they're not true!" Reid said. "It goes back to an incompetent, unreasonable district attorney that's got revenge against the Sheriff of Catawba County and wants the Sheriff of Catawba County to look bad."

Specifically, Reid said his son could still participate in cases prosecuted by the US Attorney's Office.

"He has never been Giglio'd by the US Attorney's Office," Reid said, referring to the process by which prosecutors determine - and, ultimately, disclose - that there are issues affecting an officer's credibility.

Reid reiterated his point that his son could participate in cases prosecuted by the US Attorney's Office multiple times during the course of the interview.

"He has never been told by a US Attorney he's Giglio'd and he's never been given a letter. If he is, they're required by federal law to do that," Reid said.

But a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina confirmed the statement in Learner's letter that the office does not prosecute cases in which Jason Reid has taken part.

"The United States does not accept or prosecute cases in which Captain Reid is a potential witness," the spokesperson said.

WBTV obtained the 20-page investigative file from the Hickory Police Department into the 2005 incident involving the counterfeit $20 bill.

The case file states a store clerk and manager at a convenience store in Hickory said Reid tried to buy a gallon of milk with the counterfeit bill. When the clerk caught the fake bill, the report said, Reid responded that he was conducting an operation to see which store clerks could spot fake money.

Both the store clerk and the manager were under the impression that Reid was an officer with the Hickory Police Department, according to multiple statements made to Hickory PD investigators.

Document: Read the HPD investigative report

The case file shows Reid admitted to passing the $20 bill but denied representing himself as an officer with the Hickory Police Department.

Ultimately, the Hickory PD closed the case and concluded that Reid had not violated any laws. It did not settle the non-criminal question of whether Reid misrepresented himself as a Hickory PD officer.

Sheriff Reid provided WBTV with a half-redacted letter written by the Maiden Police Department chief - who was Reid's boss at the time - reaffirming support for Reid as a Maiden PD officer. It is not clear what the chief said in the portions of the letter that are redacted.

WBTV has also obtained the dismissal notices from 59 narcotics cases in Lincoln County. The forms show one case - the case cited in Learner's letter to Reid - was dismissed due to an issue with the officer's credibility. The other 58 were dismissed because of credibility issues in a different case, presumably the Moses case cited in Learner's letter.

Captain Jason Reid referred a reporter to an interview with the Sheriff regarding the letter's allegations. He had not responded to a follow-up email outlining the difference between the Sheriff's comments and the facts as independently corroborated by WBTV's reporting.

Learner, the DA, defended the allegations in his letter in an interview with WBTV.

"Every word in that is the absolute truth," Learner said. "So, if anybody tells you it's not, then they are either misinformed or they're outright lying to you."

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