North Carolina prosecutor Eric Bellas, 45, has been placed on administrative leave and removed from the high-profile murder case of Zahra Baker following his arrest this month. What is strange is the charge: drunken bicycling. I do not wish to make light of drunken bicycling, but is it really such a crime that warrants removal from a murder case?
Bellas is the chief assistant district attorney for Burke, Catawba and Caldwell counties. He was arrested after crashing his bike Monday night at a resort. He refused a blood-alcohol test.
Bellas was arrested and charged with the misdemeanor after he allegedly crashed his bike just before midnight Monday at the resort, according to the station and the Hickory Daily Record. He had some injuries to his face, but apparently was not seriously injured.
The misdemeanor charge is for “operation of a bicycle while impaired.”
I do not see how the operation of a bicycle while impaired really such a shocking act to require Bellas’ removal from the case. Many would question the need for a criminal charge, but, accepting the legitimacy of the charge, there should be some leeway for recognizing the relative minor nature of the offense, in my view.
Source: Wect as seen on ABA Journal
12 thoughts on “North Carolina Prosecutor Removed From High-Profile Murder Case After Being Arrested For Drunken Bicycling”
So you not only want it to be a clean case, but you also want it to appear to be clean in every respect.
In a case like this, would the defense even have a right ( or duty?) to raise this as an issue???
Usually in a capital case, it’s a matter of right for the convicted defendant. I think insulating the case from preventable error makes sense especially in a sure-to-be scrutinized case by both the public and appellate courts alike.
But, isn’t an appeal almost mandatory in a homicide case (if convicted)
I disagree with the consensus here. If I were the chief prosecutor I would do everything I could to insulate a potential guilty verdict from appellate attack. Removing a prosecutor charged with a crime makes sense to me, and assuming I had capable replacements ready, I wouldn’t hesitate to suspend him until the charges are resolved. With the recent DUI charge against the investigating officer in the case, I am even doubly sure of my opinion.
If’n this had been a gal attorney, thez wood have tacked on a’ additional charge of peddlin’….oh, never mind….
“I do not see how the operation of a bicycle while impaired really such a shocking act to require Bellas’ removal from the case. Many would question the need for a criminal charge, but, accepting the legitimacy of the charge, there should be some leeway for recognizing the relative minor nature of the offense, in my view.”
By itself – no: one isolated incident of making a bad, drunken decision to attempt to ride a bike, and falling off wouldn’t count for much. But then, most of us who don’t have a drinking problem never attempt to bike while drunk. People who DO have a drinking problem probably attempt it more often. Perhaps this was “the final straw” in a larger pattern of behavior?
(Regardless, using a properly fitted helmet (which comes down to your eyebrows) would have reduced the “road rash” for this guy around his eye socket…)
I agree. Heck even if he was driving a vehicle under the influence but didn’t cause an accident or injury I would question whether he should be removed from a case. Budda is Laughing is correct. The likely backstory here is he has pissed in somebody’s cornflakes. It is obscene that this would be allowed.
I agree. It makes me wonder who in power this guy has pissed off?
One would think the self-imposed punishment of facial road rash was enough.
As to Bud’s observation though, yeah, it does make me wonder how the prosecution is faring.
This smells vaguely of vendetta and political machination.
Really. North Carolina Hmm.
Maybe the prosecution of Zahra Baker isn’t going to well either???
I was thinking the same thing….but some statutes have it that if a common drive leads to a roadway of some sort…they could have driven…Open…to the public….
“Bellas was on the grounds of the Sea Trails Resort when he crashed his bicycle.”
And this happened on private property too…
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